If you ask any Portuguese local what their country is famous for, you can guarantee that food will pop up in their answer. The succulent and delicious flavors of this country are famed worldwide, and Lisbon has no shortage of high-class dining options that serve their mouth-watering national dishes. The following foods are essential to try on your visit to the city.
Photo: Alexa Clark
Fans of Nandos will already be aware of the juicy flavors of this region’s poultry, but, trust me, the chain’s attempt at Portuguese-style chicken is nothing compared to the authentic original. Spiced to perfection, and perfectly cooked, the soft meat falls away from the bones and provides a taste that is to die for. Paired with basic chips, or roast potatoes, this simple meal is a classic that is not to be missed.
With a whole stretch of coastline, and temperatures to ensure a great catch year-after-year, Portugal is famous for its seafood. The crisp, grilled sardines found in Lisbon are show-stoppers for travelers from all over the globe. Flakey, moist and delicious, they make for the perfect shared-starter, or can be paired with a salad for a light summer-evening meal. However, be warned, once you’ve tried their fresh and succulent flavors, you’re bound to be aching for more.
Pastel de nata
Photo: Brad Hammonds
Pastry has long been a staple part of Portuguese culture, as some of the earliest monks found that they could make and sell little cakes and desserts to help raise money for the church. More than any others, the Pastel de nata has found global fame for its sweet indulgent taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture. Its crispy filo pastry and custard centre are a sensation for the taste buds, and the crystalized, bubbling sugars on top make this dish a jewel in Lisbon’s gastronomical crown.
The Iberian Peninsula, home of Spain and Portugal, has produced numerous delights over its time, but one of the most prominent, by far, is their unbeatable penchant for the salting and smoking of meats. In Lisbon, reams of this wonderful cured meat can be found in almost every traditional restaurant you visit. Its sharp and savory flavor is a constant hit with tourists and locals alike, and you can’t visit the city without trying its unique taste at least once.
In this traditional dish, first produced by the Moors in the 8th century, the country’s maritime delights are once again showcased. Cataplana is a warm and hearty seafood stew, with the name originating from the unique pot used to cook it. It’s a smorgasbord of cockles, mussels, prawns and scallops, and its rich tomato sauces ties together the flavors perfectly. Alongside this, the white wine and lemon gives the dish just enough of a tang to make it light enough for the warm evenings of Lisbon’s summer.
Photo: Miguel Cruz
No matter what you eat in this wonderful city, you’re sure to find mouth-watering delights that are bound to be one of the key highlights of your trip. However, for a real taste of Portuguese cuisine, I highly recommend you opt for these wonderful and delicious dishes whenever you see them pop up on the menu – happy eating!
Guest post sponsored by the Corinthia hotels.