Grilled sardines are a nationwide treat in Portugal, but they are a real speciality in Lisbon. During the festivities in June and throughout the summer, sardines are a staple. You’ll find them on every menu at traditional restaurants or beachside café terraces - served with grilled pepper and tempered with a fine Portuguese olive oil.
The fishing boats that serve many of the regional ports – Nazaré, Peniche, Ericeira, Cascais, Sesimbra or Setúbal – also bring back other fish and shellfish for delicious ‘caldeirada’ stews and soups, or just simply for the grill.
As winter ends, freshwater fish are plentiful, such as eels and shad. These are often cooked as part of the bread based ‘açorda de sável.’Lisbon is also famous for its sweets and pastries, with each neighbourhood having its own delicacy.
In Sintra you can taste cascais nuts, ‘queijada’ and ‘travesseiro’ sweet cakes. Further afield in Torres Vedras, you can savour ‘pastéis de feijão’ bean pastries. Caldas da Rainha is home to ‘cavaca’ cracknel and ‘trouxas de ovo’ pastries, whilst Tomar is renowned for ‘fatias da China’ cakes. However, every visit to Lisbon must include historic Belém, where the sweetest of custard tarts, the ‘pastel de Belém’ is made.
Every meal in Portugal can be accompanied by a delicious wine or cheese. Try a Setúbal muscatel, either as an aperitif or after-dinner liqueur, or Azeitão cheese, which comes from one of the best wine producing regions in the country.