The culinary flavours of Lisbon

09 March 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to travel.


Portuguese cuisine has evolved with such fascinating complexity! Three continents –  Asia, Africa and South America have had their influence on Portuguese cuisine. 450 years of Portuguese colonialism in Goa, India and the slave trade in Africa and Brazil have created these unique flavours. When Portugal’s soldiers and voyagers set out to sea to conquer lands, they naturally spread the fondness of their cuisine and in turn, absorbed the culinary creations of the natives. So take a tastebud tour here, before you get to really sample the great foods of Lisbon!

Meat and vegetable stew – Guisado de carne e legumes com chouriço

The hearty, wholesome meal of peasants, which combines vegetables, beef, pig ears and feet and smoked sausages. 


Unravelog tip: Here’s where to sample the best: Tasquinha do Lagarto, Espaço Açores, Solas Dos Presuntos

Kale stew – Caldo Verde

Enjoy kale with smoked sausage made into a delicious stew with a base of potato and garlic, with a side of a toasted slice of Pão com Chouriço (sausage bun). 


Unravelog tip: Here’s where to find the tastiest stews:  Restaurante A Merendinha do Arco, Tasca do Chico, Páteo de Alfama




Dried salted cod – Bacalhau

Did you know, though codfish is so popular, it is not native to the coast of Portugal? That’s why codfish is kept preserved, by salting and drying it for cooking.


Try Bacalhau com todos, a dish made of boiled cod with sliced hard-boiled eggs and vegetablesBacalhau à bras, if you prefer cod that is shredded and topped with potatoes, onions and scrambled eggs.


Unravelog tip: Sample Bacalhau in Lisbon at A Casa do Bacalhau, Laurentina or Rei do Bacalhau, O Poliero


Pork sandwiches – Bifana

Delicious grab and go sandwiches made with sliced pork, deeply marinated in garlic and spices. 


Unravelog tip: If you are anywhere near these cafes. Give them a try: Cafe Beira Gare, Casa das Bifanas, As Bifanas do Afonso

African influences


Slow-cooked stew – Cachupa

Popular from Cape Verde, this slow-cooked stew is a delicious mix of different kinds of fish and meats, cassava, beans, and sweet potatoes. Here a few variants of Cachupa:

Cachupa Refogada – a breakfast dish made by refrying leftovers with pork sausages and fried eggs. 

Cachupa Rica – a slow-cooked stew made with several kinds of meats.

Cachupa Pobre a slow-cooked stew made with fish and no meat.


Unravelog tip: Take the slow long lunch or dinner at Tambarina, Fox Coffee “O Rei da Cachupa”, Mesa Kreol


Stewed chicken – Moamba

Stewed chicken pieces served with cassava pudding known as funge, is a traditional Angolan dish now incorporated into Portuguese cuisine. 


Unravelog tip: Sample the best of Moamba at Casa de Angola, Palanca Gigante, Mwana Pwo

Cacusso fish – Kizaka

Another Angolan specialty, this dish is served with cassava leaves along with rice or funge (cassava pudding). 


Unravelog tip: Get the real taste of Kizaka at Shilabo’s, Djairsound, Mwana Pwo 

Lamb Chacuti – Chacuti de Cabrito

This delicious lamb dish, made with grated coconut, poppy seeds and dried chillies is a Mozambican speciality, (influenced by the Goan-Konkan coastal curry Xacuti)


Unravelog tip: Treat yourself to Chacuti de Cabrito at Ibo, Cantinho do Aziz, Roda Viva.


Brazilian influences


Thick bean stew – Feijoada

Make time for this fulfilling lunch, with Feijoada, a wholesome stew of black beans and pork, served with cheese rolls, cooked greens. 


Unravelog tip: Give it a go at these popular restaurants – Comida de Santo, Brasuca


A prized cut of beef – Picanha

If you have been missing the experience of a sirloin cap or the rump cap, Picanha fits the bill.  It is a Brazilian’s highly prized cut of beef for their Churrasco –  grilled meat that’s sliced off a skewer. 


Unravelog tip: Here ‘s where to get the best of Picanha –  QPicanha Telheiras, Fogo de Chão.


Chocolate dessert – Brigadeiro

Originally from Sao Paulo, made with condensed milk and chocolate, these bite-sized balls, are very popular in Lisbon. 


Unravelog tip:  Get yourself a box to take home at Oh! Brigadeiro, Boteco Dona Beija.


Indian (Goan) influences


Samosas – Chamuça

A variety of fillings, wrapped in a thin pastry including vegetables, meat and even fish, is a very popular snack, found all over Lisbon. 


Unravelog tip: Try these restaurants for authentic Goan chamuças:  Delícias de Goa, Zuari. 



Prawn curry – Caril de Camarão

The rich aroma of spices and coconut make this Goan seafood curry, a hit in Portugal. Lisbon locals love the ones made with prawns!


Unravelog tip: Seafood curries is a must-try at Tentações de Goa, Jesus é Goês


Pork Vindalho – Caril de Camarão

Originally Vinha d’Alhos, a Portuguese dish of pork marinated in wine and garlic is now a modified version because believe it not, wine wasn’t freely available in Goa. This version, therefore, incorporates vinegar and spices like cloves and cinnamon. 


Unravelog tip: Try the original version of Goan Vindalho in Lisbon at Zuari, Tentações de Goa


Unravelled by: ShuPri

Writer-poet-explorer, lover of quirk, design, doodles, fonts, animation, jazz, travel, yoga. Her book ‘Whimsical Brew’ is a concoction of humorous, illustrated verses from a process involving quirks of design and serendipitous mistakes.

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