How to Eat and Drink in Lisbon Like a Local
Lisbon, a beautiful city in Portugal is a sensory experience. Looking around you notice the colorful architecture and building laid with azulejo painted tiles. Listen to local music with a vibrant nightlife. View gorgeous coastal scenery and enjoy a comfortable climate. Complete your experience of the bustling old city with the tantalizing fare for a foodie experience.
Portugal historically was at the center of world exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Products, like wheat, from these explorations, were brought to Lisbon and incorporated into their national dishes. Additionally, influences from neighbors France and Spain have made the city a melting pot for international cuisine.
When visiting Lisbon, national and regional dishes based on the cities location to the ocean and prior influences from explorations can be enjoyed. Lisbon is one of the world’s top Michelin dining cities offering nine restaurants.
So how can you enjoy the sites of Lisbon while eating and drinking your way through this foodie paradise?
Breakfast: The usual Portuguese breakfast consists of bread with meat and a traditional galão coffee (coffee with milk). However, pastries (locally called pastelarías) are very popular in Lisbon and can be enjoyed throughout the city in place of breakfast or as a late morning snack. One of the must-try pasteis originated with Lisboetas monks and nuns who dabbled with egg-based pastries to feed travelers and gift to the nobles. The result is Portugal’s well-known custard tart, Pastel de Nata. Visit Pasteis de Belém for the original recipe which is still homemade every day, as documented by the daily line to sample them.
Lunch: The traditional meal is a three-course affair that begins with soup, typically Portuguese Green Soup. Caldo Verde, made with leafy vegetables and potatoes, is one of the most consumed dishes in Portugal. Following the soup will be the main entree with a meat option like the very well-known street food, the Bifana sandwich, a garlic, and spice marinated pork dish served on bread with hot sauce. This dish is such a staple that McBifana is listed on the menu of the local McDonalds and can be found everywhere. We recommend visiting Casa das Bifana or its nemesis, Café Beira Gare, to try one or the Prego sandwich, it’s beef counterpart. The traditional lunch typically finishes with a chocolate dessert, if you have room, of course.
Snack: A Portuguese diet means late dinners, So a snack is a must-have part of the Portuguese daily ritual. Serving coffee and a codfish pie (pastéis de bacalhau) or pataniscas de bacalhau (codfish fritters) Ponto Final serves these go-to snacks overviews of the Tejo River.
Dinner: Enjoyed between the hours of 9:30- 11 PM, dinner is on the lighter side. Entrees are primarily fish, like the dish, Bacalhau à Bràs, baked cod, flaked and mixed with eggs, potatoes, olives, and spices, served with vegetable side dishes. The summer staple, grilled Sardines are always an option on Lisbon menus during the season. However, fish or beef stews are the most common dishes year-round and are worth sampling with a glass of local Port wine. Laurentina, a centrally located restaurant known specifically for its cod dishes, is what we recommend for the best Bacalhau.
See the best of Lisbon on a three-night visit before a seven-night Douro river cruise from Porto. Sandee at BucketList Travel Advisors is a river cruise specialist, for more information on Lisbon read Secret Lisbon.