The Portuguese love to eat well and for a country that is rich in seafood and fresh agricultural products, it’s no wonder. A three-course meal for lunch is the norm and dinner is from 7.30pm onwards.


You can’t go to Portugal without visiting a pastelaria with the many pastéis de nata (custard tarts), queijadas (cheesecakes), palhas de ovos (egg pastries) and suspiros (meringues). The true Portuguese custard tarts are the pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, made from a secret recipe.

Fish and seafood

Seafaring Portuguese make the most of their proximity to the sea and eat an abundance of fresh fish. Speciality fish includes bacalhau (salty cod), barbecued sardines and sword fish, and a fish stew called caldeira de peixe. Shellfish also includes clams, mussels, prawns, crayfish and squid.


Pork is a common dish in Portugal, as well as simple grilled beef and veal. Porto’s specialty is tripas (tripe), chopped stomach lining with beans and spices.

Like Spain and Italy, many smoked meats and sausages are eaten in Portugal. Chourico is the most common sausage, eaten raw or grilled.


A lot of Portuguese cheese is made from sheep or goat’s milk. Azaitão is from the Lisbon region, a tasty soft cheese made from sheep’s milk.



The Portugese are big wine-drinkers. Most restaurants have a wide selection available and it’s usually pretty hard to go too far wrong.

Beer is hardly forgotten in Portugal, with Sagres the most popular on the market.

Port wine

Portugal’s most famous drink is port wine, a sweet fortified wine known throughout the world. Originating from the Douro region, men traditionally crushed the grapes with their feet in concrete troughs, until the production became mechanised.


Red, white and rosé wines are also produced in Portugal. Wine lists are divided between verde (young) and maduro (mature). The Minho produces good vinho verde with light and slightly sparkling wines. Dão wines from Beira Alta are smooth, full-bodied wines. Alentejo, Bairrada, Ribatejo and Estremadura also produce fine wines.



The water is fine to drink from the tap in Portugal.