We are one of those rare people who move to Portugal and don’t like sea food. Yes, we know, we should be expelled from Portugal altogether. But no worries, we suffer enough as it is, because what to eat in Portugal besides sea food and Pastel de Nata? Oh, did we mentioned that we don’t like cakes that don’t have chocolate?
The relationship we have with food is a very personal one.
Especially when it comes to your favorite Portuguese food. The Portuguese are very proud of their legacy when it comes to food and in my personal opinion, they manage to have an exquisite cuisine made with so little ingredients. But it’s an acquired taste, at least for us.
So please be gentle in the comments after you hear what I have to say about my relationship with Portuguese food. Even if we are not in the best relationship at the moment, just know that we are in love and we are trying.
We are taking it serious and we are seeing a therapist. I am committed to try all the dishes, even when I feel like entering into the first McDonalds or worse, the first Hard Rock Cafe.
The problem is that I am going trough a rough period now and I am not always able to put our relationship on the first plan.
Sometimes I am very tired from running like a crazy person trying to find some furniture that it won’t brake the bank, other times I am very cold because even if outside are always 15 degrees, in the house are like 5 degrees (because this is how Portuguese houses work!).
So at the end of the day I just want to throw in the oven a frozen pizza and call it a day. Do you know those pizzas they sell at Pingo Doce for 2 euros? Those ones!
But just you know that I am trying. Maybe in a year or two our relationship will be better and me and Portuguese food will be inseparable. I will get to know her and she will get to know me. And I will get to know all the amazing places where you can eat authentic Portuguese food. And when I will find it, make sure that you, yes, you my friend, you will be the first to know about it.
What Portuguese dishes I discovered and liked so far
I did managed to score some wins with the Portuguese Food. My first find was Bacalhau à Brás, and after discovering this, several weeks I eaten only this! You can find it also at Pingo Doce (in the section where they sell ready made food) but my recommendation is to eat it in a proper Portuguese tasca.
After this, came the Costeletas de Borrego! This was an OMG discovery! First time I discovered this dish during our trip to Aljezur, a town on the west coast of Portugal. Highly recommend you to visit that little town! Anyway, back to to costeletas, it was served with menthe sauce that was divine and since then I always try to find it in the menu. I don’t like it al forno, I like it when they are made on the grill.
What I managed to observe if that we have a location problem. In Algarve the whole food is cooked for the tourists. Even the Portuguese one is not cooked in an authentic way, because… profit!
The first time I observed this is when I went to Monchique. Monchique is in Algarve but the food was very different from what I tasted until then. Second light bulb went “bing!” when we went to Aljezur. That was a mind-blowing meal!
This year we visited more of Portugal – Nazare, Peniche, Alcobaca, Evora – and we had amazing experiences all around. The most memorable were in Alcobaca and Evora.
So as a conclusion, if you don’t move in a very touristy place, you will have an easy way finding good food in Portugal, both Portuguese and international. For us, the ones in more touristy areas of Algarve, we struggle to find those little gem places where we can eat proper cooked food. And we will, eventually, just takes a little more time.