The Ultimate Lisbon Food Guideby DahianaGutierrez, 07 July 2023
Hello, hello to our favourite event planners! Are you ready for a gastronomic adventure? We hope you are because we’re ready to present you with our ultimate Lisbon food guide.
The charming Portuguese capital is a melting pot of flavours, and whether you’re looking for fine dining options for your event or you want to go casual and sample the street food in Lisbon - trust us when we say, almost nothing you taste here will disappoint you!
So, grab a snack and join us as we dig into the best food in Lisbon. Let the feast begin!
An Introduction to Traditional Portuguese Food
Let’s begin our foodie journey at the heart of food in Lisbon- traditional Portuguese cuisine. The local food in Lisbon is a delightful fusion of flavours and influences that reflect Portugal’s rich history and coastal location.
When you eat like a local here, you can expect hearty and rustic dishes that are a harmonious blend of Mediterranean, Moonrise, and Atlantic culinary traditions. If you like seafood and meat, you’re in luck- these two food groups along with olive oil, garlic, onions, and aromatic herbs and spices form the foundation of many traditional Portuguese recipes.
One iconic dish you must add to your event catering menu isbacalhau à brás. This much-loved Portuguese staple features salted codfish, sauteed onions, matchstick potatoes, and scrambled eggs delicately seasoned to form a flavourful meal.
But that’s not the only Portuguese dish that has fish as the hero of the recipe. Another dish you must eat in Lisbon iscaldeirada de peixe. This hearty fish stew is cooked with an assortment of fresh fish, such as sea bass, hake, and monkfish, along with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and a fragrant mix of herbs and spices. The result is comfort food in a bowl.
Of course, meat is also a big part of Portuguese food. And, when it comes to succulent meat-based dishes,cozido à Portuguesatakes the spotlight. This traditional boiled meat and vegetable dish includes a variety of meats like beef, pork, chicken, and sausages mixes with seasonal vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. This is a festive dish but it can really be enjoyed anytime!
And finally, we can’t possibly talk about local food in Lisbon and leave out the colonial influences on Portuguese food. For a taste of this, the famedpiri-piri chickenis a must-have. This dish features tender grilled chicken marinated in a spicy blend of piri-piri chilli peppers, garlic, and citrus juices to create a smoky, tangy, and fiery chicken dish you can’t get enough of!
Feeling hungry already? We hope you’ve got a snack because we’re just getting started in our exploration of what to eat in Lisbon!
The Best of Street Food in Lisbon
One of the best ways to explore what to eat in Lisbon is through street food, and that’s what we’re here to help you do.
Let's start with the deliciousbifana. This traditional Portuguese sandwich features thin slices of marinated pork loin, cooked perfectly and served on a soft bread roll. The tender and flavourful meat is often accompanied by a drizzle of spicy mustard or a squeeze of fresh lemon, creating a satisfying combination that packs a punch of flavour.
Another popular street food item that both locals and visitors love is thefrancesinha. And although originally from Porto, this indulgent sandwich is popular on the streets of Lisbon too. It features layers of cured meats like ham, linguica, and roast beef, topped with melted cheese and smothered in a rich, savoury sauce. Yummy!
If you’re seeking a lighter option, try thetraditional grilled sardines. This street food favourite is especially popular in the summer and is served simply with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil to bring out the natural flavour of the sardines. This is usually served with a side of crusty bread and a refreshing glass ofVinho Verde, the young and crisp Portuguese wine.
And as you’ve probably guessed by now, sandwiches feature heavily on Lisbon street food menus, and this next option is proof of that!Pregos are steak sandwiches that are made with thin slices of marinated beef on a crusty roll. These are usually served with sauteed onions and a touch of mustard or garlic sauce for that extra punch
And, if you’d like a break from all that bread, just follow the fragrant aroma of sizzlingchouriço, a delicious smoked Portuguese sausage. Vendors often grill these flavourful sausages on portable grills, infusing the air with an enticing smokiness. These are often served on a fresh roll and topped with caramelised onions. But if you ask us, we’ll say they taste great all on their own too!
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth: Desserts in Lisbon
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to know that the desserts in Lisbon are absolutely delightful!
Let’s start with the most famous one - the irresistiblepastel de nata,a creamy custard tart with a flaky pastry crust. These golden delights are best enjoyed warm, sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon, and paired with a cup of aromatic Portuguese coffee.
Another must-eat dessert in Lisbon is toucinho do céu. This rich almond and egg yolk cake is moist and bursting with a nutty flavour that makes it impossible to stop at just one bite! For a refreshing and tangy treat, don’t miss out on trying the delectableleite-creme, a creamy custard pudding with a caramelised sugar topping. Its velvety texture and rich caramel flavour make it one of Lisbon’s favourite desserts.
Another delightful indulgence isqueijadas de sintra. These creamy cheese tarts feature a rich and smooth filling made with cheese, eggs, and sugar, all nestled within a crisp pastry shell.
Last but not least, for a comforting and delicious dessert, be sure to includeArroz Doce in your event catering in Lisbon.This aromatic rice pudding is made with creamy rice cooked in milk and sugar with fragrant hints of cinnamon and lemon zest. It’s a traditional Portuguese dessert that’s enjoyed in most homes across the country.
What to Drink in Lisbon
No meal is complete without a beverage to accompany it, and lucky for us, the drinks in Lisbon are just as good as the food!
One iconic drink that’s a must-try in Lisbon isginjinha, a traditional Portuguese liquor made with sour cherries soaked in alcohol and sweetened with sugar. It’s served in tiny chocolate cups, and sipping on a shot of ginjinha is an unmissable experience in Lisbon.
Another local favourite isVinho verede, a light and refreshing young wine produced in the nearby Minho region. With its crisp acidity and slight effervescence, this wine pairs perfectly with fresh seafood dishes. So, if that’s on the menu at your event in Lisbon, you know what drink to serve!
Speaking of wine, another drink in Lisbon that’s absolutely wonderful isport tonic. This popular Portuguese cocktail combines the richness of port wine with bubbly tonic water to create a balanced and aromatic drink.
And if alcohol is not your thing, make sure you enjoy a cup of Portuguese coffee instead. Whether you opt for a classic espresso or indulge in a creamy Galão (similar to a latte), savouring the bold and aromatic flavours of Portuguese coffee is an integral part of the Lisbon café culture.
Event Caterers in Lisbon for Fine Dining
We’ve touched upon street food in Lisbon but if you prefer to give your guests a more sophisticated experience, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several excellent event caterers in Lisbon for fine dining.
You can read more about some of the best event caterers in Lisbon, but we’ve summarised just a few for this food guide.
One renowned caterer isCase do Marquêswho are known for their creativity and attention to detail. They have a variety of menu options that cater to various tastes and dietary preferences while focusing on high-quality ingredients and innovative presentations.
Casa dos Sabores is also worth checking out if you’re looking for an event caterer in Lisbon that specialises in crafting bespoke menus that showcase the best of Portuguese and international cuisine. Additionally,Chef Kiko Martins Catering is an event catering service in Lisbon that provides fine dining options while maintaining a commitment to sustainability and seasonality.
And on that note, we’re going to wrap up our ultimate Lisbon food guide. We’re sure you’re ready to eat now but before we let you go, we wanted to share our list of food trucks you can’t miss in Lisbon that serve up a lot of the foods you read about here and more!
Don’t forget to stay connected to Eventflare for the best event venues in Lisbon and other parts of the globe as well as insider information that will make event planning a breeze.
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