Lisbon is a city rich in culture, but also in food and drink. Following our trip, we rounded up the top must-try tastes that we encountered during our stay (we may have come home a pound or two heavier). Do like the Portuguese and sample a bit of it all during your travels.
WHAT TO DRINK
- Port: Trevor drank port daily during our trip (and admittedly, I deeply inhaled the sweet and rich wine fumes with every pour he ordered). A fortified wine made in northern Portugal’s Douro Valley, port is typically considered a dessert wine, but in its drier varieties, makes for full-bodied all-day sipping. (Prepare for a hangover if you over do it, warns Trevor.)
- Verte Vino: While “verte vino” literally means green wine, it refers to young Portuguese wine in this case. You can find “verte” options – often three to six months fermented – in red, white or rose, although the light and fresh white wine varieties are what came recommended to us by the locals.
- Sagres Beer: You’ll find two main beers served up in Portugal: Super Bock and Sagres. Trevor’s vote is for Sagres, a crisp pale lager that’s perfect to sip on the beach, and widely available at local cafes, too.
- Licor de Ginja: Made from ginja berries – sour cherries – this liqueur is served up in shot form and can be purchased at the bar counters (or serving windows) of shops and restaurants nearly everywhere. In many instances, you’ll find a piece of fruit at the bottom of the shot glass, or the drink will be served with dark chocolate.
- Bica: Similar to espresso, Portuguese coffee or cafe, can be ordered like a local by simply referencing “bica, please.” Expect it to be just a touch smoother than a typical Italian espresso.
WHAT TO EAT
- Pasel de Nata: A historic Portuguese custard tart that was reportedly created by Catholic monks long ago, these sweets are everywhere in Lisbon. In fact, we received two alongside a half bottle of Port upon check in to our hotel. While you can find them everywhere, we recommend a visit to Pasteies de Belem, where they’re served warm with cinnamon for topping.
- All the Pastries: You don’t need to discriminate when it comes to flaky, fresh pastries. And good news, they’re everywhere! We started every (yes, EVERY) morning with a trip to the local bakery to stock up on fresh orange juice and a sampling of sweet and savory baked delicacies that are purely European magic. (Search Yelp for the best options nearest your hotel or AirBnB!)
- Cod cakes: Downtown, you’ll find walk-up shops serving nothing but cod fish cakes and wine to go, but we preferred the mild and crunchy cod fritters that we ordered up at Time Out Market most. Codfish – an abundant seafood in Portugal – is served up in a variety of forms and with a plethora of dipping sauces; you just need to find which method is your favorite!
- Sardines: Fresh or canned, salty sardines are a staple on nearly every menu. Whether you’re ordering up a plate of grilled sardines at a beach shack or strolling the city’s extravagant stores devoted solely to canned sardines, the options are truly limitless. Never tried them? This would be the time and definitely the place.
- Charcuterie and Cheese Boards: It goes without saying because, well, this is Europe, but an evening meal isn’t complete unless you’ve ordered a charcuterie selection, freshly grilled sausage, or partaken in a soft cheese. Or, if you’re like us, you order up all three and call it dinner in itself ;)
For our full review of Portugal and recommended itinerary, see our full post!