Traditional cuisine rich in history and flavours

In Lisbon there are flavours and smells of many gastronomies; however, Lisbon people, especially like traditional cuisine and always have a pretext to gather family and friends around the table.

Regarding the “Lisbon gastronomy” there are several opinions and, although there is no consensus, the following are considered typical dishes of Lisbon: rich soup of fish, green eggs, Fried green beans, beans, cod à Brás, cod “pataniscas” (fried codfish coated in batter), “meia-desfeita” (boiled cod, potatoes and chickpeas with an olive-oil sauce), hake Lisbon style, hare Bulhão Pato, clams Bulhão Pato, Marrare steak or Café steak, “iscas com elas” (fried liver Portuguese style), “meia-unha com gão” (cow forefoot with chickpea), partridges Convent of Alcântara. The “bolo-rei” (cake-king), the bread “castelar”, the “farturas” (strip of fried dough), the “pastel de nata” or “pastel de Belém” (custard pie) and “as raivas” of Lisbon are one of the typical sweets of the city.

Clams Bulhão Pato

Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato (1828-1912) was a writer, poet and politician but became better known as a gastronome for the recipes he created, highlighting the famous dishes of clam, hare, partridge and grouper.

Clams 1 kg
Three garlic cloves
olive oil
One bunch coriander
Three tablespoons of white wine
One lemon

  • Place the clams in saltwater for two to three hours to expel the sand, then rinse them several times through water.
  • In a pan, on low heat, fry the crushed garlic in olive oil.
  • Then add the clams, and shake the pan until all the clams open.
  • Season it with salt and pepper, add the coriander, add the lemon juice and the white wine.

Cod à Brás

It is common to say that its origin comes from a Lisbon tavern, named Braz (or Brás), who mixed shredded cod, French fries and scrambled eggs.

400 gr of cod
Three tablespoons of olive oil
500 gr of potatoes
Six eggs
Three onions
One garlic clove
black olives

  • Leave the cod to soak, scalded it, remove skins and bones and shred it.
  • The potatoes are cut very thin, chop the onions into thin slices and the garlic.
  • Fry the potatoes in hot oil only until slightly golden.
  • In a pan, sauté with the olive oil, the onions and the garlic, then add the shredded cod. Stir it until well mixed. Then add the potatoes and the eggs, slightly mixed and seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with chopped parsley and black olives on top.

Marrare steak

António Marrare, a Neapolitan citizen and owner of several cafés, all of them meeting points of Lisbon high society of the late 18th century, created the famous Marrare Steak in 1804.

It was created in the Café da Rua dos Sapateiros, also called “Marrare of the Seven Doors”. A variation of Marrare steak is the Café steak, where the sauce is made not with cream but with milk, and a little mustard and lemon added. This recipe does not use coffee, and its designation is due to the place, a Café, where it was traditionally served.


One steak from the tender round (150/200 gr)
Two tablespoons of butter
kosher salt
black pepper grains
Two tablespoons of cream

  • Melt the butter in an iron frying pan, and fry the steak on both sides. This operation should be quite quick, so the meat doesn’t lose its juice.
  • Season with kosher salt and ground pepper.
  • Drain the fat in which the steak fried, keeping the steak in the frying pan, add the remaining butter.
  • Reduce the heat and add the cream until the sauce thickens, always stirring the frying pan.
  • Serve accompanied with French fries.

"Iscas com elas"

Thin slices of the liver are commonly known as “iscas” in Portugal, while “elas” are the potatoes that accompany them. This dish has as a particular ingredient, vinegar.

According to Albino Forjaz de Sampaio (1884-1949) in his work “Volúpia - A Nona Arte: a Gastronomy”, was a typical dish in Lisbon from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.


800 gr of pork liver
50 gr of lard
Four garlic cloves
Two dl of white wine
Two bay leaves
grounded black pepper
1 kg of potatoes
parsley (optional)

  • The pork liver is prepared in thin slices (iscas) and marinated with white wine, vinegar, chopped garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • Put the lard in a frying pan, let it melt and fry the baits on both sides. Water it with the marinade liquid, and let it thicken.
  • Boil the potatoes with skin. Once thy are cooked, cut them in slices.
  • Serve the “iscas” with the boiled potatoes and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


The “pataniscas” can be served as a snack, starter or as a main course, accompanied by various types of rice and salads.

600 gr of cod
Four eggs
50 gr of flour
One onion

  • Soak the cod, scald it, remove the skin and bones and chip it.
  • Make the mush by adding the eggs with the flour until creamy, if necessary, add some of the water where you cooked the cod.
  • Add the cod, chopped onion and parsley, season to taste and mix it well.
  • With the help of a spoon remove portions of the mixture and fry in hot oil on both sides until golden brown.

Peixinhos da horta

It is not known for sure the origin of the name of this popular preparation of green beans, and it is likely to derive from its similarity to fried small fish (peixinhos).

This is one of many examples of how, with the little they had at their disposal, the Portuguese, could create a delicious recipe.

This speciality can be served as a snack, starter or accompaniment to meat or fish dishes. 

It is common to say that this was one of the recipes that were the base for the Japanese speciality “tempura”, brought to Japan by the Portuguese missionaries.

400 gr of green beans
125 gr of flour with yeast
One tablespoon of olive oil
1 decilitre of beer or milk
Two eggs

  • Trim the tips of the beans, wash and cook them in boiling water about 5 minutes.
  • Drain and let them cool.
  • To make the mush: pour the flour into a bowl and make a hole in centre into which olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, beer or milk is poured, then stir it well. Add the eggs one by one and beat the dough until it becomes fluffy. Let it rest for half an hour.
  • Wrap the green beans in the dough, one by one, and you fry it in hot oil.
  • Drain them well, and they're ready to serve.

Pastel de nata (Custard pie)

The custard pie, originated from a convent, is a symbol of Portuguese sweets. Annually, the “The Best Pastel de Nata” contest is held, to evaluate this famous speciality.

The original recipe for the “pastel de Belém”, from the Jerónimos Monastery, located in the Belém area, is a secret well kept by the pastry masters of the Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém.

These sweets have been manufactured in the current premises since 1837 and following the secret recipe of the Monastery.

Although they may look the same, the “pastel de Belém”, sold only at Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém, and the custard pie (inspired by the “pastel de Belém”), sold everywhere, are different both in the filling and texture of the puff pastry.


Puff pastry
300 gr of flour
250 gr of pastry margarine
1/4 teaspoon of salt
50 ml of water

  • Mix the flour salt and water, mix the dough until homogeneous.
  • Divide margarine into three servings. Roll out the dough, spread on it 1/3 of the margarine and roll it like a rug. Repeat this operation two more times, until all margarine is rolled into the dough. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • With the roll of the dough, roll out the dough into a rectangle.
  • Cut the dough into rounded slices of 2 cm thick.
  • Place each round slice in a small rounded cake pan, pressing the centre, so it covers the pan.

1/2 l of cream
Nine egg yolks
Ten tablespoons of sugar
sugar powder

  • Beat the yolks with sugar and cream and take cook then in a bain-marie until the mix thickens.
  • Let the mix cool down and place it inside each pan.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 290º until golden (about 15 minutes).
  • Remove from the oven, unmould, serve hot or cold, sprinkled with sugar powder and cinnamon.

Ginginha (Sour Cherry liquor)

It began as a drink of the bourgeois class, and gradually started to be sold in the taverns. It is one of the most popular Portuguese drinks and the typical drink of Lisbon.

Usually, you drink it at the counter and say “with them” or “without them” (with the fruit at the bottom of the glass or not).

1 kg of sugar
1 kg of sour cherries
2,5 l of brandy
One stick of cinnamon

Wash the sour cherries, dry them and remove the stalk (but not the stone). Place the cherries in a bottle for liquor with a slightly wide mouth, cover with sugar, cinnamon stick and at the end the brandy. Cover the bottle hermetically.

Store the bottle in a dark place and shake daily for the first week. Let it rest for three months until the flavours are fully incorporated into the alcohol. Now the “Ginginha” is ready to be drunk, but it improves a lot if you let it rest for a year. Serve with a few sour cherries in each glass.