Portugal, a captivating country perched on the Iberian Peninsula, is celebrated not only for its stunning landscapes and rich history but also for its culinary treasures that have enchanted taste buds around the world. In this blog post, we will embark on a gastronomic journey through Portugal’s vibrant food culture, focusing on eight irresistible and time-honored Traditional Portuguese Dishes. These dishes are not just meals; they are a portal to Portuguese history, tradition, and the warm embrace of local communities.

Our mission in this blog post is to take you on a flavorful adventure, introducing you to some of the most iconic Traditional Portuguese Dishes. These dishes not only tantalize the taste buds but also offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of Portugal.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to Portugal and want to know what to order at local restaurants or you’re an adventurous home cook seeking to recreate authentic Portuguese flavors in your own kitchen, this blog post is your passport to a world of taste and tradition. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind these Traditional Portuguese Dishes, each bite telling a story of a nation’s history, a region’s uniqueness, and a people’s passion for good food. Get ready to immerse yourself in the culinary wonders of Portugal as we present eight must-try dishes that will leave you craving for more.



Overview of Portuguese Cuisine

portuguese cuisine

Traditional Portuguese Dishes are a reflection of the country’s unique geographical location and its historical ties to both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Portugal’s culinary landscape is a delightful fusion of flavors and ingredients, resulting in dishes that are simultaneously rustic and refined. With its extensive coastline, it’s no surprise that seafood plays a starring role in many Traditional Portuguese Dishes. The Atlantic Ocean provides an abundant supply of fish and shellfish, making dishes like Bacalhau à Brás (a salted codfish dish) and Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams in garlic and coriander sauce) true culinary treasures.

Moreover, Portuguese cuisine is known for its generous use of olive oil, fresh herbs, and aromatic spices, reflecting Mediterranean influences. This harmonious blend of flavors creates a tapestry of comforting and adventurous tastes. In Portugal, food isn’t merely sustenance; it’s a form of art, a means of connecting with loved ones, and a way to celebrate life’s moments. The importance of food in Portuguese culture is profound. Traditional Portuguese Dishes are at the heart of these communal experiences, reinforcing the country’s rich culinary heritage, whether it’s a simple family gathering, a festival, or a special occasion. It’s this deep-seated appreciation for food and tradition that makes Portugal a true haven for food lovers and seekers of authentic gastronomic experiences.

Read more: Portuguese Cuisine: An overview of the traditional dishes and ingredients

8 Traditional Portuguese Dishes

1. Francesinha


Francesinha is a sandwich that originated in Porto, Portugal. It’s made with bread, ham, linguiça (a Portuguese sausage), and steak and covered in melted cheese and a hot sauce.

Francesinha is such an iconic dish that it’s served at many restaurants around the country and has even been featured on the menu of McDonald’s locations throughout Europe!

2. Pastel de nata

Pastel de Nata

Pastel de nata is a traditional Portuguese egg tart made with eggs, sugar, and butter. It’s often served with a cup of coffee and can be eaten hot or cold.

You can find this sweet treat in bakeries or cafés throughout Lisbon, where they’re sold in boxes of six pieces. A perfect snack while exploring the city!



3. Bacalhau a bras

Bacalhau à brás

Bacalhau a bras is a traditional Portuguese dish made with salt cod, potatoes, and onions. The key to this dish is to soak your bacalhau overnight before cooking it so that it’s soft enough for you to eat.

To make bacalhau a bras:

  • Cut your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and boil until they’re soft (about 10 minutes). Drain off any excess water from the potatoes when they’re done cooking.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking (you’ll know if it’s ready when you put some drops of water on top of the pan. If they sizzle immediately, it’s ready!). Add onions to fry until browned on both sides (about 5 minutes).
  • Then add your soaked cod fillets and any juices from soaking them overnight. Cook until heated (about 5 minutes). Finally, add some chopped parsley leaves at the end just before serving!

4. Portuguese custard tarts

Custard tarts are a traditional Portuguese dessert, and they’re delicious! They’re made with puff pastry, custard, and sometimes fruit. Custards can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference.

5. Arroz de pato (duck rice)

arroz de pato recipe
arroz de pato recipe

Arroz de pato (duck rice) is a traditional Portuguese dish that consists of duck, rice, and vegetables. It’s rich and delicious! This dish is very popular in Portugal.

6. Caldo Verde (cabbage soup)

Caldo Verde

  • Caldo verde (cabbage soup)
  • Made with cabbage, potatoes, and smoked sausage.
  • Served with bread.

Caldo Verde, a popular local meal, may seem to the uninformed as cabbage soup. It is deceptively tricky to make because the greens are sliced in very specific ways, absorbing most of the slightly smokey taste supplied by the addition of barbecued pork.

7. Alheira (Portuguese sausage)

Alheira, or Portuguese sausage, is a type of salami made from pork and garlic that’s usually served with bread and mustard. It’s a staple in Portuguese cuisine and can be found at most restaurants.

Alheira originated in the northern part of Portugal. In fact, the city of Porto has been dubbed “the capital of alheiras” because it’s where wide varieties have been created over time. Some say alheiras were originally made by monks who wanted to use up their leftover scraps.

Others say they were invented by someone looking for an easy way to preserve meat without refrigeration (since they didn’t have access). Either way, these sausages are now enjoyed throughout Portugal and beyond!

8. Last of the traditional Portuguese dishes: Filhoses (cured fillets of meat)


This is a traditional Portuguese dish that you should not miss out on. Filhoses are made from pork or chicken, cured with salt and spices, and then served with bread or eggs. In fact, one of the most famous ways to eat filhoses is with scrambled eggs!

The name “filhoses” comes from the word “little rope,” which describes how they look when they’re cooked: twisted into little coils. They’re similar to bacon but have a more intense flavor due to their curing process. Since families usually make them at home rather than big companies like Smithfield Foods (which produces lots of American bacon), you can trust that each slice will be truly delicious!

The best traditional dishes that we recommend to you!

  • Francesinha: This sandwich is made with thin slices of steak, ham, and sausage, covered in melted cheese and a spicy sauce. It’s served on top of French bread soaked in beer (francesinha means “Frenchy”). Toppings include chopped tomato, lettuce, and onions.
  • Pastel de nata: These Portuguese custard tarts are known throughout Europe as one of the best desserts you can try while traveling abroad–and they’re easy to find! They’re made with puff pastry with a creamy egg custard filling that melts in your mouth when eaten hot out of the oven or cold from the fridge later in life.

Food Tours in Portugal (Our Suggestions)




So there you have it: the best traditional Portuguese dishes to try. We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to eat like a local in Portugal and sparked your interest in discovering more about the country’s food culture.