Portugal has a vibrant history that helped shape its present-day culinary landscape. Some of the country’s most popular dishes date back to the early 16th century.
The Mediterranean and French palates heavily influenced early Portuguese cuisine, but local ingredients, herbs, and
spices helped set it apart.
Now, Portugal is one of the world’s food capitals, where each region has unique dishes to offer.
Whether you’re trying to get in the know before a trip or hoping to learn more about this country’s culture, this guide should help you navigate Portuguese cuisine.
Read on to learn about twelve popular Portuguese foods to try in Portugal, including recipes.
Franceshina is a sandwich that comes from the region of Porto.
As the name suggests, the sandwich
comes from French cuisine and is an adaptation of the famous French sandwich Croque monsieur, a ham and cheese sandwich.
The Franceshina consists of bread filled with ham, Calabrian pork sausage, chipolata sausage, and steak, then covered with melted cheese and a tomato-beer sauce.
Bacalhau à Brás is a salted cod dish from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city.
Surprisingly, the base of this dish is somewhat similar to an American breakfast casserole, though the addition of cod and olives helps give it that Mediterranean-influenced twist.
This dish consists of matchstick-style fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, onions, garlic, and shredded salted cod, then topped with parsley and olives.
Açorda is a bread soup dish and one of the simplest dishes on my list.
Bread soup is a great way to use stale or old bread without wasting it.
Açorda is a dish from the Alentejo region.
Along with old bread, the dish contains
poached eggs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
Alheira originally comes from the northeastern regions of Portugal, created by the early Jewish population as an alternative to pork sausage to keep their faith.
The popular dish comes from the fifteenth century, but the recipe has remained simple and beloved.
The Alheira sausage consists of bread, poultry, garlic, olive oil, and chili pepper.
Cataplana is a Portuguese seafood stew from the Algarve region.
The name “Cataplana” refers to the dish and the sizeable round-bottomed copper pan it’s cooked in.
Along with seafood stock, the dish consists of clams, Calabrian sausage, olive oil, onions, prosciutto, garlic, bell peppers, saffron, shrimp, tomato sauce,
white wine, cream, and parsley.
Cozido à Portuguesa is a boiled meat stew, known as “cozido” in Portugal.
Traditionally, this dish was a popular way to use less-desirable cuts of meat without skimping on flavor.
Cozido à Portuguesa uses various meat cuts, usually a mix of beef, pork, and chicken, along with vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, beans, carrots, and smoked sausages.
Pasteis de Nata is a type of egg custard tart that originated in the Jeronimos Monastery, a recipe created by the monks but is a staple breakfast recipe in our home.
The outer pastry is relatively standard, combining flour and eggs into a fluffy pastry dough.
The inner custard flavor comes from lightly steeping lemon zest and cinnamon.
Seafood lovers rejoice; Polvo Lagareiro is a well-known seafood dish across the country, with octopus as the main star.
The octopus boils first, followed by baking in the oven so it can crisp up a bit.
Along with the octopus, the dish features smashed and baked potatoes covered in garlic, olive oil, and herbs.
Prego is similar to a steak sandwich but with the flavor turned way up.
In Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, Prego is often offered as a savory dessert.
Prego uses a delicious, soft Portuguese bread roll that perfectly complements the marinated steak.
Many restaurants layer thinly-sliced ham on top of the steak.
Salted seafood is a favorite in Portugal, and Sardinhas Assadas is no exception.
This dish features salted and grilled sardines, a fish that’s often overlooked because of its association with “fish in a can.”
No can here though, just fresh and delicious crispy sardines topped with parsley and salt.
If you’re a duck fan, you will enjoy this classic meat and rice dish from the Alentejo region of Portugal.
The meat featured in this dish is the duck, a delicacy in many countries.
The dish is a fairly simple Portuguese food, which is part of why its unique and robust flavor is so beloved.
This dish combines rice, spices, duck, and fatty smoked pork sausage.
Bifanas may be the most well-known Portuguese food, primarily because Portuguese emigrant communities have popularized variations worldwide.
Bifanas are a sandwich dish made with soft Portuguese buns filled with thinly-sliced marinated pork, onions, and peppers.
The pork marinates in a mixture of garlic, onions, white wine, pepper paste, lemon juice, and various spices.
Which Portuguese Dish Will You Try First?
These Portuguese dishes are famous for good reason! If you liked these, try
our favorite Portuguese desserts as well.
Check out our blog for other dishes from around the world, from
Italian breakfast food to Haitian dishes!
1. Choose your favorite recipe.
2. Gather the necessary ingredients. 3. Prep and cook your recipe. 4. Enjoy!