We can all agree that Portugal is a country filled with culinary delights, making it the perfect destination for anyone with a passion for food. Whether you’re a foodie looking to explore Portugal’s diverse cuisine or a traveller wanting to experience something a little bit different, Portugal has something for you. In this blog, we have taken a look at five ‘must try’ dishes from around the region, many of which can be found in the Algarve. Once you have finished reading, you will see why they are essential dishes for any foodie. Here are some of the best dishes that Portugal has to offer.
5 Popular Dishes in Portugal
If you go to a Portuguese restaurant, you might be overwhelmed by the variety of dishes on offer. Simply, Portugal is famed for its food, and there is a lot to choose from. To help you out, we have listed five of the top dishes everyone should try when they’re visiting the Algarve.
- Bacalhau – If you’re a fish fan, then you’ve definitely got to try bacalhau, which is often considered to be Portugal’s national and most famous dish. Bacalhau is a saltwater fish that’s similar to cod, having been salted, cured, and then sun dried. The best way to enjoy this delicious fish is with a glass of wine and some potatoes and vegetables, and it’s a staple in many households. You can also try bacalhau steamed, fried or in a salad. It’s a versatile food that you’re sure to see on a lot of menus.
- Grilled Sardines – You won’t struggle to find sardines in Portugal. If you’re looking for a culinary treat that is easy to prepare, then you need to try grilled sardines. A staple of Portuguese cuisine, sardines are a great source of protein and healthy fats. They’re grilled in a way that gives the fish a delicate yet rich flavour, and are sometimes served with a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and spices. Sardines are perfect for any meal of the day, and can be eaten with bread, crackers, or as a side dish with salads and vegetables. You can also try sardines in a soup, or on a sandwich or salad with bread, cheese, and veggies. It’s safe to say that the Portuguese really make the most of having fresh sardines available.
- Pasteis de Nata – If pastéis de nata are on the menu, you simply cannot miss out. The classic Portuguese dish is what gives this country its international reputation for excellent pastries, and it’s easy to see why. The most common types of pastéis de nata are custard puff pastry with different flavours like banana, condensed milk, fig, or cherry. You can try pastéis de nata as a dessert, or with coffee or tea. You can’t leave the Algarve without trying one of these delicious pastries.
- Caldo Verde – If you’re looking for a hearty and filling soup, then caldo verde might be what you’ve been searching for. Made from potatoes, onions and green beans, this soup is a great choice for those who aren’t fans of tomato based soups. Caldo verde is best eaten with a slice of bread and is perfect as a quick lunch or dinner. A lot of people don’t immediately think of soup when they think of Portuguese cuisine, but caldo verde is worth trying. It just might change your entire opinion on eating soup in a warm climate.
- Francesinha – If you’re looking for a unique regional specialty, then you need to try francesinha. This dish is a mixture of a few different types of meat, and a few types of bread. Francesinha is usually served as an appetiser, but can also be eaten as a main course in some regions. It’s best enjoyed with a glass of wine and is a great choice for anyone who wants to try something new and exciting, with all the flavours of Portugal. Francesinha is rich in protein, and is a great option for anyone who wants to really get stuck into what Portuguese cuisine is all about.
If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, then Portugal is certainly the right place for you. There is something for everyone in Portugal, so you won’t be short of cuisine to enjoy. If the local dishes don’t take your fancy, you can relax knowing that the Algarve is also home to a lot of international food. You can head out for a pizza or a hamburger, or you could enjoy a bowl of delicious pasta. You really will find every type of food in the Algarve and it’s a region that caters to tourists from around the world. This is ideal if you are travelling with children or fussy eaters. You can book a holiday, travel to the Algarve and relax knowing that everyone is going to be catered to.
Of course, if you want to truly get a feel for what Portuguese cuisine is all about, eat at a local restaurant. This is where you will get the best flavours, family recipes and a traditional ambiance. It’s where you will find dishes you might not have heard of before and, who knows, you might find a new favourite food. If there are a lot of locals eating in a restaurant, it’s likely to be a place worth checking out. When you are in the Algarve, you will have access to a wealth of cuisine.