Portuguese Food: 7 Local Dishes You Need to Try

05 July 2019

Portugal is a great place to explore new cuisines, enhance your palette and have a hearty meal because there are plenty of delicious traditional dishes that might be different from the food you usually eat. Seafood, fresh vegetables, pork and scrumptious dessert – you’ll find it all in this foodie heaven.

Here are some signature Portuguese dishes that you shouldn’t miss out on:

Pastel de Nata

This egg tart is an iconic Portuguese dessert and it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with it. The decadent pastry is made with loads of butter, cinnamon and eggs among other ingredients. The contrast between the sweet, creamy custard and the crispy pie shell is truly delightful.


Few people can go to Porto and return without trying this impressive sandwich. It’s a meaty, flavorful dish that contains steak, ham and sausages along with a secret sauce made from beer and tomato. The immensely popular Francesinha is finally topped with loads of melted cheese, adding to its wow factor (and calories!).

Caldo Verde

If you want a taste of authentic Portuguese food, you must try one of the most famous dishes in Portugal. It is primarily made from a dark colored cabbage that is mostly native to this country, but can be substituted with kale. Most traditional dishes are incomplete without meat, so chourico sausages are typically added along with potato puree. The textures and flavor of this comforting bowl of soup will definitely leave you satisfied and satiated.

Arroz de Pato

If you want a proper feast, try this duck rice that is elaborately made to pack as much flavor into it as possible. It is allowed to simmer in red wine, which makes the meat extremely tender, and the dish is then placed in the oven to achieve a toasty, crispy top. All the duck juices are absorbed into the rice for maximum flavor. The dish is then completed with a topping of smoked and slices sausages.


The Portuguese are obsessed with this codfish dish, and with good reason. There are a huge number of variations of this recipe because they love to cook salted cod in all sorts of ways, but the most common is bacalhau à brás. Sautéed, shredded cod is combined with straw potatoes, onions and beaten eggs, then finished with a topping of olives and parsley.

Grilled Sardines

As you stroll through the streets, Lisbon is literally engulfed in the smell of grilled sardines during summers, because that’s just how popular they are. There’s a whole festival dedicated to them. Fresh sardines are marinated and grilled on charcoal to make this simple yet delicious food that is typically paired with potatoes, rice or salad. Canned sardines are also widely available in lots of different variations.


On the surface this may be just a bean stew, but obviously a dish in Portugal would have to be a lot more complex than it looks. The Portuguese are particularly fond of adding sausage to almost everything, and this food is no exception. It also includes fried vegetables and is wonderfully aromatic thanks to the assorted spices added to the Feijoada.

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