If you’ve spent any time exploring the world of cuisine, you probably know that there are few places on earth with as much variety in their food as Portugal. A small country with a big history, this region is home to some of the most amazing dishes from almost every culture and subculture you could imagine.
Whether it’s veggie, beef, pork, fish or chicken, there are so many different types of dishes in Portuguese cuisine that we had to narrow our list down to just ten of the very best ones. Even if you’re not a fan of fish or red meat, these dishes will open your eyes (and your mouth) to a whole new world of tastes and textures.
If you love exploring new flavors and cuisines, then read on for our list of the top 10 best dishes from Portugal you must try!
Table of Contents
Green broth - Kale Soup (Caldo Verde)
I think Portugal is the soup capital of the world. All Portuguese eat soup every day! It's just part of life. If you’re a fan of veggie soups and stews, you’ll love this popular soup dish.
Caldo Verde has been a staple of the Portuguese diet for centuries. The hearty kale soup It became a staple of the national diet during the Great Plague of 1720. When food became scarce, people looked to this dish as a source of nutrients and vitamins to keep them going.
This traditional dish is made from a variety of green vegetables and herbs but, mainly, shredded kale, potatoes, mint, parsley, leeks, and cabbage. The vegetables are cooked in water with a touch of salt and pepper, garlic and a little olive oil, until they’re soft and tender. The result is DELICIOUS!
Codfish Casserole (Bacalhau à Brás)
If you’re a fan of codfish and chips, you’re in for a treat. This traditional Portuguese dish is made from salted codfish shredded and baked in a rich, creamy sauce. The dried cod is first soaked for 24+ hours in water to reconstitute it. It´s then prepared like fresh fish and baked until golden brown.
It's then shredded and served with a rich, creamy sauce made from eggs, milk and a pinch of pepper with a topping of fresh coriander, chopped hard-boiled eggs and a generous helping of Portuguese piri-piri sauce. The salty codfish is accompanied by a crunchy layer of fried potato slices.
Combined with a generous helping of piri-piri sauce, this dish is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Fish Stew (Caldeirada de Peixe)
This traditional Portuguese fish stew is a hearty, heavy dish made from a variety of fish and seafood. Although there are many different recipes for this dish, it’s common for the stew to include a mixture of fish such as squid, clams, fresh mussels, and shrimp.
This fish stew is cooked with potatoes, carrots, onions and parsley in a rich, creamy sauce that gives the dish a unique flavor and texture. Fish Stew is often served with a drizzle of olive oil or sprinkled with a generous helping of paprika.
Cod á Lagareiro (Salted Cod a Lagareiro style)
If you love seafood and are looking for something a little different, this Portuguese dish is one you won’t want to miss. Bacalhaou á Lagareiro Style is a traditional Portuguese dish that’s both simple and delicious.
In this dish, the cod is boiled in water, shredded, mixed with bread and then drizzled with olive oil. It’s then served with slices of toasted bread and a generous sprinkling of chopped parsley and paprika.
This is a great dish to serve as an appetizer at a dinner party or as a meal on its own. It’s simple to make, rich in flavor and full of nutrients. The cod is high in protein and low in calories.
A wonderful hearty, potato-free meal, you’ll love this traditional Portuguese fish and bread stew. This stew is made with a variety of fish, such as codfish, shrimps, clams, and mussels and pieces of bread that are slowly cooked in a rich, flavorful sauce.
This is a great dish to make if you’re looking for something quick, simple, and hearty. Açorda is often eaten as a light meal or a snack, or served as an appetizer at dinner parties and barbecues.
This dish is so popular in Portugal that it’s considered a National Dish. You can find it served at almost any restaurant or bar in Portugal.
Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken
If you love spicy food, you’ll go crazy for this Portuguese take on a classic dish. The Portuguese Piri-piri Chicken is a popular dish served in many Portuguese-owned restaurants and bars all over the world.
This is a spicy chicken dish made with a variety of spices, including paprika, piri piri and garlic. It’s often served with a side of vegetables, rice or potatoes, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. The Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken is a quick, easy and cheap dish to make for yourself, family or friends. It’s also a great dish to serve at parties and barbecues.
This one is a wildcard, but if you love sandwiches and want to try a dish that’s as different and delicious as it is decadent and indulgent, the Francesinha is a must-try. This sandwich is so popular in Portugal that it even has its own festival, which celebrates this sandwich and the people who love it.
The Francesinha is made from a variety of meat and seafood, melted cheese, and a special sauce. It’s then baked in a sandwich press to create a delicious and unique texture.
If you’re looking for a fish dish that’s a little different, we think you’ll love the Monkfish Rice. This is a delicious firm scale-less fish often served in rice dishes that are typically enjoyed for family lunches or dinners.
The Monkfish Rice is made from a mixture of monkfish, seafood, and a generous helping of rice. It’s then sloly stewed in a rich tomato sauce, flaboured with bay leaves, white white and a pinch of pepper.
This is a simple, hearty and healthy dish that’s quick and easy to make. It’s a great dish to try if you’re new to Portuguese cuisine or if you’re looking for a new type of fish dish to add to your weekly menu.
Pastel de Nata
Portugal’s most famous treat from the bakery! If you’re a fan of desserts, you won’t want to miss out on this unique little tart. The Pastel de Nata is a traditional Portuguese dessert that’s loved around the world.
This little tart is made from a thick layer of flaky pastry and a rich, creamy filling made from eggs, sugar, and cinnamon. It’s often served with a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of cinnamon.
The Pastel de Nata is a delicious pastry that’s rich in flavor and absolutely delicious! It’s a great treat to end a meal with or to share with friends or family over mid-morning coffee.
So much to try, so little time
Well, there you have it! Our list of the top 10 best dishes from Portugal you must try. If you love spicy food, seafood, and rich, creamy sauces, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on these amazing dishes.
If you love exploring new cuisines and want to try something new and different, then why not plan a trip to Portugal? This amazing country offers visitors a taste of history, culture, and cuisine in every bite.
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