Lisbon Gastronomy

Pastéis de Belém
Place: Belém
Photo: Arq. Turismo de Portugal
Photo: Arq. Turismo de Portugal

From grilled sardines to pastéis de Belém (custard tarts), the food in Lisbon is as appealing as the city and the region.

Grilled sardines are popular throughout Portugal, but in Lisbon they are particularly traditional during the Popular Saints festivities in June. They are mandatory fare in any typical restaurant or beach terrace, particularly in the summer, accompanied by grilled peppers and seasoned with the excellent Portuguese olive oil.

However, the boats that lend colour to the region’s fishing ports - Ericeira, Cascais, Sesimbra and Setúbal – bring many other fish and seafood for scrumptious bouillabaisses, fish soups or simple grilled fish, such as the red mullet from Setúbal and the fried cuttlefish. In Portugal, we really do have the best fish in the world!

As for sweets, the temptations around the capital are many and by themselves justify the trip: walnuts in Cascais, at the end of the attractive Estoril Coast; queijadas (cheese tarts) and travesseiros (egg and almond pastries) in Sintra, and fofos (cream-filled sponge cakes) in Belas, the green Cultural Landscape of Sintra, dotted with palaces and classified as World Heritage by UNESCO; when you cross the Tagus to the south, you will find the Azeitão tortas (egg cream-filled rolls). Our sweets are endless, but there is one that no-one can miss when visiting Lisbon: in the monumental area of Belém, where two World Heritage landmarks are located, the mouth-watering pastéis de Belém are a must, a highlight of convent sweet making that is a trademark of Portuguese gastronomy.

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