Portugal and Brazil don’t just share a language and a history. The mix of flavors and influences created one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.
To say that Brazilian cuisine is complex is an understatement. That mix of flavors and cultural influences is what makes it so hard to define it, but we at Devour Lisbon suggest you give it a shot at one of these three Brazilian restaurants in Lisbon.
What is Brazilian Food?
In such a large and culturally diverse country, pinpointing what’s Brazilian food might be a tough task. But, we can say traditional Brazilian cuisine is a mix of flavors and ingredients from all the different cultural influences Brazil had from Native Americans, Portuguese colonists, and African slaves.
Over the years, some dishes and ingredients became mainstream in Lisbon including Brazilian feijoada (baked beans), tapioca, açaí, pão de queijo (cheese bread), and brigadeiro (the tiny ball of chocolate and condensed milk that found its place in Portuguese cuisine too as a dessert or a treat to pair with espresso).
And although those dishes and ingredients aren’t too hard to find in some restaurants and cafes in Lisbon, it takes skill and a deep connection to the Brazilian culture to serve Brazilian food made with love. Find out below the three Brazilian restaurants in Lisbon you have to add to your list.
Boteco Dona Beija
Named after a popular Brazilian TV series (ask any Portuguese who was old enough to watch late night TV in the late-1980s, and they’ll definitely remember this one), Boteco Dona Beija is perfect for a quick lunch during the week and one of the restaurants of choice for office workers in the Marquês de Pombal area.
If you’re craving for a proper Brazilian feijoada, go on Saturdays for the special buffet. And while suggesting what to pick from the menu is always hard, you’ll never go wrong with pairing your meal with a caipirinha and finishing with a brigadeiro dessert.
Comida de Santo
As the oldest Brazilian restaurant in Lisbon, we can say Comida de Santo is a classic. Established in 1981, tucked away in a side street across from the Natural History Museum in Príncipe Real, the restaurant has been in the neighborhood long before it was dubbed the foodie haven of Lisbon.
Classic dishes like vatapá (an African-Brazilian dish), moqueca (a sort of one-pot stew), and chicken xim xim (typical African-Brazilian dish in the Bahia region) share the menu with the best quindim in Europe (a to-die-for dessert made with coconut and egg yolk).
Acarajé da Carol
Despite the name, there is more on the menu at Acarajé da Carol than acarajé (an African-Brazilian deep-fried dough made with beans and onions) at this Brazilian restaurant in the heart of Bairro Alto.
The menu and the bright colored décor of the restaurant give away the top culinary influence: the Bahia region in Brazil. And although acarajé is obviously the star dish, everything else on the menu is made with a lot of soul.
In one of the most touristic neighborhoods of Lisbon, finding such a wholesome restaurant feels like fate. The downside? Everyone else in the city feels the same, which means you must prepare for long lines if you haven’t made reservations.
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Sandra Henriques Gajjar is a freelance web content writer and travel blogger born in the Azores and based in Lisbon for 20+ years. Since 2014 she’s been blogging about travel, culture, and the people she meets in between at Tripper, a blog on sustainable cultural tourism.