17 Popular Food in Portugal: Savoring Authentic Portuguese Cuisine

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Portuguese cuisine is popular for its delicious seafood dishes, hearty stews, and sweet pastries. With a rich history of exploration and trade, Portugal’s cuisine has been influenced by Mediterranean and Atlantic flavors.

Some popular dishes to try when visiting Portugal include bacalhau (salt cod), cozido (a meat and vegetable stew), and pastel de nata (a custard tart). There are also many regional specialties to discover throughout the country to these traditional dishes.

From Porto’s famous francesinha sandwich to Algarve’s fresh seafood, there’s something for every food lover in Portugal. So come hungry and get ready to explore the delicious flavors of this vibrant country.

If you’re a foodie, you must try mouth-watering popular food in Portugal. The country is home to some of the world’s most delicious and unique foods.  Portugal has something for everyone, from seafood to meat, pastries to cheeses.

Here we will explore the 17 most popular foods in Portugal that will make you fall in love with the country’s gastronomy. So get ready to embark on a food journey that will leave you craving more. We will take you on a culinary journey through the best popular dishes loved by locals and tourists alike.

Popular Food in Portugal

The Best 17 Popular Food In Portugal

Portugal is a culinary marvel with delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds. The country’s cuisine is influenced by its location, history, and culture, making it unique and diverse. From delicious seafood to mouth-watering desserts, Portugal has something to offer everyone.

Portuguese cuisine offers a variety of flavors and dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Here are the 17 most popular foods in Portugal that you must try:

1. Pastel De Nata

One of Portugal’s most beloved and well-known desserts is the pastel de nata. This egg tart pastry, originating from Lisbon, is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and has become popular worldwide. With its crispy, flaky crust and creamy egg custard filling, it’s no wonder that the pastel de nata has captured so many’s hearts (and taste buds).

The secret to making the perfect pastel de nata lies in the quality of ingredients and precision in baking. They mustcookthe pastry at a high temperature to achieve the perfect caramelization on top while keeping the center soft and creamy. Whether enjoyed as a sweet breakfast treat or an afternoon snack, the pastel de nata is undoubtedly a must-try for anyone visiting Portugal.

2. Bacalhau

Bacalhau, or salted codfish, is a staple ingredient in Portuguese cuisine. Despite its strong, salty flavor, it is versatile and canuse in various dishes. Interestingly, bacalhau was not always a popular food in Portugal. It was first introduced by the Vikings during their expeditions to the Iberian Peninsula and became popular due to its long shelf life.

Today, there are over 365 ways to cook bacalhau – one for every day of the year! From traditional dishes like bacalhau com natas (codfish gratin with cream) to more modern takes like sushi with salt cod, this versatile ingredient remains a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

3. Piri-Piri Chicken

Introducing a new flavor to your palate can be an exciting experience. Piri-piri chicken, one of Portugal’s most famous culinary exports, is popular for its spicy kick and juicy texture. The dish is often marinated in piri-piri sauce, blending African bird’s eye chili peppers, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.

Piri-piri chicken is typically grilled over charcoal, adding a delightful smoky flavor to the meat. This popular Portuguese dish has gained worldwide recognition for its unique taste and simplicity. It’s a popular choice among tourists visiting Portugal and locals alike.

Piri-piri chicken is often served with traditional sides such as rice or fries, making it a filling meal option. If you love bold flavors and experiment with new cuisines, piri-piri chicken should definitely be on your must-try list when in Portugal!

4. Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde, a traditional soup from Portugal’s northern region, is a must-try dish for any foodie visiting the country. Made with potatoes, kale, and a slice of chouriço sausage, the soup’s simplicity belies its complexity of flavors.

The blend of hearty potatoes and pungent kale creates a thick texture that is both silky and satisfying. But what really sets Caldo Verde apart is the smoky and savory flavor of the chouriço sausage.

The sausage adds depth to the soup’s earthy taste and gives it a warm aroma that will fill your senses. Whether enjoyed as an appetizer or main course, Caldo Verde is perfect for chilly evenings or rainy days. Don’t leave Portugal without giving this delicious soup a try.

5. Bolinhos De Bacalhau

Bolinhos de bacalhau, also known as codfish cakes, are a popular Portuguese snack that serves as an excellent appetizer or side dish. These small fried balls of codfish and mashed potatoes are a staple at many Portuguese cafes and restaurants.

Their crispy exterior and soft, savory interior make them a crowd-pleaser for locals and tourists alike. One of the unique features of bolinhos de bacalhau is its versatility. They can enjoy as a quick snack on the go or served as part of a larger meal.

Additionally, they’re easy to make at home, making them an accessible option for those looking to cook traditional Portuguese cuisine. Whether enjoyed solo or with friends and family, bolinhos de bacalhau will surely delight taste buds with their flavorful simplicity.

6. Arroz De Marisco

Introducing the taste of the sea, Arroz de Marisco is a rich and flavorful seafood rice dish that will satisfy your craving for an authentic Portuguese meal. Come with various fresh seafood, such as prawns, clams, and mussels, this dish is seasoned with garlic and other spices to create a delicious harmony of flavors.

Whether enjoyed as a hearty main course or shared amongst friends as a starter dish, Arroz de Marisco is a must-try for any foodie exploring the culinary delights of Portugal. Its popularity among locals and tourists alike speaks volumes about its gastronomic excellence.

7. Cataplana

Cataplana is a traditional Portuguese seafood dish that is as delightful for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. They prepare the dish with various fresh seafood such as clams, mussels, shrimp, and squid, and they name it after the copper vessel in which they cook it.

Like a stew or a paella, cataplana packs in all the sea flavors along with vegetables like onions, peppers, and tomatoes. People often season the dish with garlic and paprika and serve it with crusty bread or rice. Cataplana is a must-try for any seafood lover visiting Portugal, representing what this coastal country offers.

8. Leitão

The succulent aroma and unmistakable taste of leitão make it one of Portugal’s most famous dishes. This traditional dish comprises a whole roasted piglet seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper, resulting in crispy skin and tender meat that melts in your mouth. The dish is particularly popular in the central region of Bairrada, where it is slow-cooked for several hours using wood-fired ovens.

Leitão’s popularity canattribute to its unique flavor and preparation method, passed down through generations of Portuguese families. Whether enjoyed as part of a family meal or at a local restaurant, leitão is a must-try dish for anyone looking to experience the rich culinary culture of Portugal.

9. Polvo À Lagareiro

Polvo à lagareiro, a classic seafood dish in Portugal, is a treat for the taste buds. This traditional dish consists of boiled octopus and then grilled with garlic, onions, and olive oil until it’s crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. “lagareiro” comes from the word “lagar,” which means olive oil press. This is because they cookthe octopus in a way that emulates how olives are pressed to extract their oil.

With its unique blend of flavors and textures, Polvo à lagareiro has become a popular dish in Portugal and worldwide. Its popularity canattribute to its simplicity and deliciousness. Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, this dish is worth trying at least once in your lifetime.

10. Porco Preto

Porco Preto, also popular as a black Iberian pig, is a highly prized meat in Portugal. These pigs are native to the Iberian Peninsula and are raised on a diet of acorns, which gives the meat a unique flavor. The meat is rich in flavor and has a succulent texture that melts in your mouth. It’s no surprise that Porco Preto has become popular not only in Portugal but worldwide.

The rich taste of Porco Preto canenjoy in various forms, such as grilled steaks, sausages, stews, and roasts. When served with traditional side dishes like potatoes and vegetables, it makes for a hearty meal that will leave you craving more. The demand for this delicacy has increased over time due to its exquisite taste and high-quality standards.

11. Sardines

Portuguese people find sardines all over the country as a quintessential food. People often enjoy grilled sardines during the summer months and they usually serve them with boiled potatoes, peppers, and tomato salad.This dish, sardines assadas, is a must-try for seafood lovers. In addition to being delicious, sardines are also highly nutritious.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent source that has numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving brain function. Sardines are also rich in protein, vitamins B12 and D, and minerals such as calcium and iron. Whether you’re looking for a tasty meal or a healthy source of nutrients, sardines are definitely worth trying during your visit to Portugal.

12. Alheira

Alheira is a popular food in Portugal that has an interesting story behind it. It was originally created by the Jewish community during the Inquisition when they were forced to convert to Christianity and abandon their dietary restrictions.

To avoid suspicion, they started making sausages that resembled chorizo but used poultry instead of pork. This clever disguise allowed them to continue practicing their religion in secret. Today,

This dish still has poultry and is flavored with garlic and smoked paprika. People often enjoy Queijo da Serra da Estrela, a dessert cheese named after the mountainous region where it originated. If you’re looking for a unique twist on traditional Portuguese cuisine, algebra is definitely worth a try.

13. Queijo Da Serra Da Estrela

If you’re a fan of cheese, then you simply can’t miss out on Queijo da Serra da Estrela during your visit to Portugal. This popular cheese hails from the Serra da Estrela mountain range and is maje from raw sheep’s milk. What sets this cheese apart is its creamy texture and nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with traditional Portuguese dishes like bread, olives, and wine.

People often enjoy Queijo da Serra da Estrela, a dessert cheese named after the mountainous region where it originated.  People commonly use it in cooking by adding it to stews, and soups, or melting it over roasted meats to give an extra flavor. So, if you want to experience one of Portugal’s most beloved culinary traditions, try this delicious cheese!

14. Francesinha

Francesinha is one of the most famous dishes in Portugal, and it’s easy to understand why. This hearty sandwich is a fusion of different flavors that create a unique taste experience. It consists of layers of bread, ham, sausage, steak, and cheese, all covered in a spicy tomato sauce. While it may not be the healthiest option on the menu, it’s certainly a crowd-pleaser.

The origins of Francesinha cantrace back to Porto, where it was created in the 1960s. Today, you can find variations of this beloved dish all over Portugal and beyond. Whether craving comfort food or looking for something new, Francesinha is definitely worth a taste.

15. Conserveiras

For seafood lovers, Conserveiras is a must-visit destination in Portugal. These shops specialize in canned fish, making it a perfect stop for the foodie traveler. The Portuguese have been canning fish since the early 19th century, and Conserveiras is a testament to this culinary tradition that has stood the test of time.

These shops offer shelves lined with small cans of sardines, mackerel, and tuna in various sauces and oils, all handmade and of exceptional quality. The best part? You can take these treasures home as souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.

16. Arroz de Pato

Arroz de Pato, a traditional Portuguese dish, is a delicious and hearty comfort food. This rice-based dish typically comes with duck, which is first roasted, then shredded, and mixed with rice, vegetables, and spices. The result is a savory and aromatic dish that has become a staple in Portuguese cuisine.

Locals and tourists alike often enjoy Arroz de Pato when it serves in restaurants throughout Portugal. Its popularity stems from its rich flavor profile and the comforting feeling it provides. Whether eaten as a main course or as a side dish, Arroz de Pato never fails to satisfy hunger pangs while also delivering an authentic taste of Portugal.

17. Petiscos – Canned Portuguese Sardines

Petiscos are a popular snack in Portugal, and one of the most beloved petiscos in the country are canned Portuguese sardines. These tiny fish are a staple of Portuguese cuisine and can be found in almost every grocery store and restaurant across the country. Canned sardines are an affordable and easy way to enjoy this nutritious fish, which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. They can be eaten straight out of the can, or used to make a variety of dishes, including salads, sandwiches, and even pasta dishes.


Portugal is a country that boasts a rich culinary heritage, with plenty of delicious and unique dishes to try. From seafood stews to meaty sandwiches and sweet pastries, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Portuguese cuisine.

Whether you’re visiting the country as a tourist or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, we highly recommend trying some of the most popular food in Portugal. However, Portugal’s rich culinary culture is about freshness, simplicity, and bold flavors. From the famous Pastel de Nata to the flavorful Bacalhau, you will surely find something tantalizing your taste buds.

Portuguese cuisine is a vibrant blend of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences, with hearty stews, fresh seafood, spicy chicken dishes, and sweet pastries. If you plan a trip to Portugal or want to explore its cuisine from home, try some popular dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.What Is The Most Famous Food In Portugal?

Ans: One of the most famous foods in Portugal is the pastel de nata, a custard tart with a crispy puff pastry shell. It originated in Lisbon and has become popular worldwide. Other traditional Portuguese dishes include bacalhau (salt cod), cozido (a hearty stew), and francesinha (a sandwich with various meats and cheese).

2.What Is The Number 1 Portuguese Dish?

Ans: It is difficult to pinpoint one specific dish as the number 1 Portuguese dish, as Portugal has a rich culinary history with many delicious and popular dishes. Some popular Portuguese dishes include bacalhau (salt cod), cozido (meat and vegetable stew), caldo verde (kale soup), and pastel de nata (custard tart).

3.What Food And Drink Is Portugal Known For?

Ans: Portugal is known for a variety of delicious food and drink. Some popular dishes include bacalhau (salt cod), cozido (a meat and vegetable stew), and grilled sardines. Pasteis de nata, a custard tart, is a famous dessert.

Regarding drinks, Portugal is well-known for its port wine, produced in the Douro Valley region. Vinho Verde, a young and slightly sparkling wine, and ginjinha, a cherry liqueur, are other popular beverages in Portugal.

4.Why Are Petiscos The Perfect Meal In Portugal?

Ans: Petiscos is the perfect meal in Portugal for several reasons. These small, flavorful dishes allow diners to sample a variety of flavors and textures in one sitting. Petiscos also encourage socializing, as they are often shared among friends and family over drinks and conversation.

5.How Do People Cook And Prepare Popular Food In Portugal?

Ans: Popular food preparation in Portugal varies depending on the dish, but many dishes feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Grilled sardines are often cooked over an open flame, while bacalhau may be boiled or baked with potatoes and onions.

Cozido is a slow-cooked stew made with various meats and vegetables, and pastel de nata requires delicate pastry work and a creamy custard filling. Petiscos are typically small plates that can be quickly prepared and served for sharing amongst friends or family.

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