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What is the food like in Portugal?

The local cuisine of Portugal and the Algarve.

You may not be familiar with the Portuguese cuisine yet, but we’re sure you’ll love it!

The Portuguese cuisine is one with lots of fresh fish, caught on small fishing boats along the Portuguese coast and served in local restaurants the same day. A freshly caught ‘Dourada’, or ‘Robalo’ grilled with a bit of olive oil and salt, is absolutely amazing. You can try it with Batatas Fritas (French fries) and salad, a ‘jarro de vinho verde’ (a jug of green wine) and a Portuguese Bica (espresso) afterwards. Going out for dinner is very affordable in the Algarve. Twenty euro a head will get you a full meal with desert and drinks included. Contact us for the best restaurants in the Algarve, we are happy to share our favourite dinner spots with you!


The Portuguese love their coffee. A typical breakfast exists of a lot of strong coffee, and something sweet, whether that is a pastel de nata, a torrada com doce (sliced bread with jam) or a sweet croissant. You can get this breakfast on any corner of the street in small Portuguese cafes, for a couple euros only. This boost-packed breakfast is a great way to start your day of exploring. 


A big lunch is the way to do it in Portugal. In all Portuguese cafes and restaurants, you'll find large plates of daily dishes for a relatively small price. You'll find popular Portuguese dishes for a few euro only in many places. If you're going out for a typical Portuguese lunch though, keep in mind that they eat between 13.00 and 14.00, and after 15.00, there usually won't be any food left. Some restaurants even close between 15.00 and 18.00, because nobody eats during these times anyway. The following Portuguese dishes are very popular for lunch:

  • Bacalhau a Bras - a mix of codfish, potatoes and egg. Perfect for after surf or a hangover day.
  • Dourada - a freshly grilled fish with boiled potatoes/fries and salad
  • Frango piri piri - Grilled chicken with Piri Piri sauce, often home made and quite spicy. A popular dish that is starting to pop up in other countries around Europe.
  • Porco Alentejana - A stove dish with potatoes, porc and clams. Absolutely worth a try, it's delicious.
  • Cataplana - A cataplana is a wok-like pan with a copper lid. Looks like a flying saucer. It is filled with the most delicious mix of fish and veggies (like bell peppers and onions) in a sauce that is essentially fish soup. It usually comes in several options, like fish & shrimps, shrimps & clams, or fish & clams, and is often served with potatoes and rice on the side. Because the cataplana are quite large, restaurants usually offer them for a minimum of two people. 
  • Lulinhas Fritas - A specialty and often a cheap option is lulinhas; baby squids baked in a garlic sauce. Don't be fooled by the name though, they're not deep fried, they're baked. 
  • Bitoque - A thinly sliced piece of beef with an egg on top, served with french fries and salad. It's a hamburger for grown ups. 
  • Bifana - A sandwich with thin slices of porc. Perfect as a quick after-surf lunch. 

Afternoon snack

Between 16.00 and 18.00, the Portuguese will have an afternoon snack, usually consisting of another coffee and one or more of a wide range of pastries, sweet and savoury. The first involve almonds, walnuts, figs, carob, orange, lemon, honey, and slivers of candied pumpkin. The secondare made of cod, shrimp, or meats. So delicious that a warning is in place: it's easy to eat too many and lose your appetite for dinner.


Dinner in Portugal is served quite late, although not as late as in Spain. Usually, dinner is served between 20.00 and 22.00, and in the weekends it can get even later than that. In Lagos, there's a restaurant called 'Adega da Marina', who have their kitchen open until 02.00 in the morning! Dinner dishes are the same as lunch dishes, the Portuguese simply like large meals. 

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