Portugal is a country rich in traditional cuisine, offering a wide variety of typical portuguese dishes from north to south. In the North it is more common to find dishes made from meat, more consistent and heavy, while in the south you’ll find lighter dishes, mainly based on fish and seafood.
Discover in this article 10 typical Portuguese dishes that you should not miss on a trip around Portugal. The Eat at a Local’s local hosts will offer you several opportunities to sample some of these absolutely delicious typical dishes in their own homes.
The 10 best typical Portuguese dishes
Francesinha is essentially an adapted version of croque-monsieur, a cheese and ham toasted sandwich, but with much more layers of cheese and meat. It is covered abundantly with a slightly spicy sauce and accompanied by chips and may or may not include an egg on top. Although it is now possible to find it a bit all over Portugal, this is a typical dish of Oporto.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana (Alentejo Pork Meat)
Despite the name, this is a typical dish from the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region. The association with the Alentejo comes from the fact that originally the meat came from that region. It perfectly combines meat and seafood by mixing clams with pork, fried potatoes cut into cubes and pickles.
Polvo à Lagareiro (Octopus)
This typical dish is one of the Portuguese’s favorite ways to eat octopus. Once cooked, the octopus goes in the oven along with the potatoes. Before being served it is seasoned with plenty of olive oil, garlic and chopped parsley.
Sardinhas Grelhadas (Grilled Sardines)
Grilled sardines are one of the most popular typical dishes in Lisbon, particularly during the month of June, when the city has its popular local festivities. It is very common in the summer to see several grills outside restaurants and private homes, filled with fresh sardines. They can be served on top of a loaf of bread or accompanied by boiled potatoes and vegetables.
Pastéis de Bacalhau (Codfish cakes)
One of the most popular Portuguese dishes, the pastéis de bacalhau (codfish cakes) are made from codfish and potatoes. Although they can be served as a main course, accompanied for example by rice and salad, in many places they are served as starters.
Bacalhau à Brás (Brás Codfish)
This is just one of the countless ways to cook codfish in Portugal. This dish, originally created in Lisbon in a restaurant located in Bairro Alto called Brás (legend says), is made of codfish, eggs and fried potatoes, cooked together in a low heat.
Alheira de Mirandela (Mirandela Sausage)
The Alheira de Mirandela, a type of sausage original from the North of Portugal made of various types of meat and bread, is one of the most typical and cheap Portuguese dishes. Its history is fascinating: when in 1498 the Jews were expelled from Portugal, many hid in the region of Trás-os-Montes, where they practiced their religion in secret, pretending to have converted to the Catholic religion. One of the ways they found to do this was by cooking, displaying, and eating sausages so that everyone would think they no longer ate kosher. This dish is usually accompanied by a fried egg, rice and french fries.
Cozido à Portuguesa (Portuguese stew)
This traditional stew is the perfect example of how to use all the meat of an animal. This typical Portuguese dish is made from beef, chicken, pork and a series of its derivatives such as blood sausages and smoked parts of the animal. The dish also includes a great variety of vegetables like cabbages, carrots, potatoes and turnip, among others.
Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato (Bulhão Pato Clams)
This popular Portuguese snack can be found from the North to the South of Portugal. The clams are cooked in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and plenty of coriander, or white wine, butter and other herbs. The dish is accompanied with bread that should be dipped in the abundant sauce of the clams.
Arroz de Pato (Duck Rice)
In Portugal, the duck used in this dish is cooked in red wine until the meat is as tender as possible and then roasted in the oven along with the rice, until the top is crispy. The rice absorbs the fluids from the duck and is usually covered with slices of smoked sausage before served.