Europe,  Food and Wine

What to eat and drink in Lisbon

I always like to try local delicacies when visiting new places. Here are a few of the dishes and drinks you shouldn’t miss while in Lisbon.

What to eat

Pasteis de Nata – If you only try one thing on this list, make it Portugal’s infamous custard tarts in flaky pastry, often served warm and traditionally dusted with cinnamon.

Pasteis de nata

Sardinha – sardines are a staple food in Lisbon and you will see them as a motif throughout the city.

Bacalhau – dried salt-cod is a traditional Portuguese dish.

Bacalhau à Brás – dish of shredded cod combined with matchstick potatoes, onions and egg.

Chouriço – a cured, smoked pork sausage. Often a whole sausage ring will arrive at your table flaming over a hot dish.

Pica Pau – strips of beef in a light sauce served with bread as a sharing dish.

Arroz malandrinho – a soupy rice stew, usually with a tomato and onion base and possibly cooked with octopus (arroz de polvo). Hearty and warming.

Arroz malandrinho

What to drink

Vinho verde – a young, crisp and sometimes lightly sparkling wine from the region of Vinho Verde in the north of Portugal. Usually a blend of native Portuguese grapes, it is frequently made from either or both of the white varieties Alvarinho (Albariño in Spain) and Loureiro. Light, dry and refreshing.

Ginjinha – a sour cherry liqueur, served in a shot glass or mini edible chocolate cup with (com) or without (sem) a couple of whole cherries. Try it at one of the traditional ginjinha bars around Rossio square Ginjinha Sem Rival or A Ginjinha.

Touriga Nacional – a red grape variety seen as Portugal’s most prestigious, you may find this as a single varietal red wine, or in a blend. It is also one of the main grape varieties in Port production. Expect full-bodied, fairly tannic wines with rich black fruit, blueberries, plums and sometimes floral and herbal notes.

Port – made in the Douro Valley and famous the world over, Port is a fortified wine which comes in many forms, typically sweet red wine. Start with an approachable fruity Ruby Port or splash out on a vintage Port. If you’re a fan, Port’s home city of Porto is 3 hours up the coast where you can visit the riverside port houses to taste and learn more.

Porto Tónico – an aperitif cocktail made with dry white port and tonic water, usually garnished with orange and a sprig of mint. Order one at a rooftop bar to watch the sun set.

Sagres or Super Bock – if you’re going to have a beer, make it Portuguese. These are the two most common local lagers. Order uma imperial for a draught beer of 20cl (small, so it doesn’t warm up too quickly!).

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What to see and do on a city break in Lisbon

Basic phrases in Portuguese and how to pronounce them

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