Gastronomy

The Portuguese are proud of their gastronomy. They appreciate eating and drinking well. Almost all parties include a meal, especially family gatherings.

Staple foods in the Portuguese diet include fish, chicken, vegetables and fruits. Pork, goat, partridge, quail and rabbit are typical meats in Portugal. Famous specialties are sardinhas assadas (charcoal-grilled sardines), pastéis de bacalhau (cod fishcakes) and caldo verde (a soup of cabbage and potatoes). Codfish is prepared in many ways, and it is usually served as the most typical Portuguese dish. Sweets are very popular, and wine is often consumed with meals. Since red meat and fish are a part of the everyday diet, vegetarianism is extremely rare, making vegetarians difficult to place.

At restaurants, waiters will bring out bread, butter, maybe some cheeses and other little things. What you eat you pay, if you don't touch it, you shouldn't pay for it. The daily specials are usually the best bet, especially with the fish, which should be fresh from that same day. Tips are not outrageously high here, just a couple of € is enough.

Some examples of Portuguese gastronomy that you can expect a bit through Lisbon are below.

Starters

The traditional starter in Portugal is soup. You can find it in many different recipes.

Caldo Verde
Meaning "Green Soup", it's made of potatoes, fried onions and thinly sliced galician cabbage, served with slices of chouriço (cured spiced sausage).
Canja
Chicken and rice soup.
Sopa da Pedra
The name, based in a legend, means "Stone Soup", in pratice you shouldn't worry as it doesn't contain any stone. This soup is a very rich soup made of almost any vegetable or meat the chef can find.
Sopa Portuguesa
Meaning "Portuguese soup", contains kale, beans, broccoli, carrots and turnips.

Main Dishes

Bacalhau: salted and dried under the sun, it is said that there are 365 ways to prepare cod in Portugal.

Pastéis de Bacalhau
Cod and potato croquettes.
Bacalhau Cozido
Cod stew.
Bacalhau Assado
Roast cod.
Bacalhau Assado na Brasa
Chargrilled cod.
Bacalhau à Brás
Typical of Lisbon: cod, onions and thin slices of potato, scrambled eggs, black olives and parsley.

Other very common dishes in Portugal are:

Caracóis
Meaning snails, this is speciality of the Lisbon region.
Cozido à Portuguesa
A traditional stew from Lisbon’s old districts, which is now found all over the country.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana
A typical dish from Alentejo, which is now very common at Lisbon restaurants. This consists of pork fillets cooked with garlic, spices, lard and clams. This dish is also sometimes made with ham.
Sardinhas Assadas
Chargrilled sardines.
Febras Assadas
Chargrilled pork.
Bitoque
Pan-fried marinated thin beef steak served with french fries and egg.
Bife
Pan-fried marinated lean beef steak served with golden fried french fries, lean ham and egg.
Arroz de Marisco
Seafood with rice.
Feijoada
Stew with different kinds of meat, potatoes and legumes.
Açorda
Bread and shellfish stew.
Caldeirada
Fish stew.
Frango no Churrasco
Charcoal roasted chicken.

Desserts

Arroz Doce
Meaning sweet rice, is basically a rice pudding, generally covered with cinnamon.
Leite Creme
A sweet made from milk, eggs and covered in roasted sugar. Its name means cream milk.
Baba de Camelo
Literaly translating, it means camel's drool, but nevel mind what it sounds like, it tastes good. It's made of condensed milk.
Pastéis de Nata
A kind of round custard tart in a flaky pastry case sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. Best served warm, if possible buy in Belém at the factory of "Pastéis de Belém". One will never be enough.
Bolo de Bolacha
A cake made with butter biscuits and condensed milk.
Mousse de Chocolate
Chocolate Mousse.
Pudim Flan
Flan.
Pudim Molotof
Egg pudding that melts in your mouth, the only thing explosive about it are the calories.

Drinks

Coffee: Coffee is a veritable institution in Portugal. People tend to drink coffee in cafés rather than at home. It is served in small shots and very strong.

Wines

Portugal is a big wine producer and offers a very broad range of both whites and reds, which should have something to please everyone.

A Portuguese speciality: Vinho Verde. The name “Green Wine” indicates that the wine is young and its fermentation short, giving a low-alcohol, light, sparkling, fruity and slightly acidic wine.

Dão: Grown on the granite slopes of the Dão valley, two wines are produced, a fresh white wine and a very soft, velvet-smooth red wine with a rich aroma, similar to Burgundy.

Bairrada: This traditional wine-growing region produces a robust and highly aromatic red wine.
Colares: a dry white wine from the Serra de Sintra, near Lisbon. A world-famous wine produced since the 13th century.

Moscatel: a sweet golden white wine from the Serra d'Arrábida, south of Lisbon. Usually drunk as an aperitif.

Portugal’s most famous wine is Port, sweet and syrupy, which can be either red or white, and is drunk as an aperitif or after a meal. The Port we know today has been made since the 1830s. It was developed as a result of trading alliances between Great Britain and Portugal.