The most traditional Christmas dishes in Portugal

Portugal is known for its gastronomical richness and quality, and Christmas is not an exception, between sweet and savoury, from north to south, you’ll find a variety of delicacies.

It’s here, the time of year in which every region of the country prepares to set a table filled with the most delicious traditions of the festive season. We’re presenting you with some of the most typical Christmas dishes in Portugal and a traditional recipe for your Christmas Eve dinner!

Portugal is one of the world’s largest cod importers, which we cook the most varied ways, as we like to say: there are “1001 ways to cook cod”. With boiled potatoes and cabbage, this ingrediente can not be missing from the Christmas table and, for that golden touch, it’s served with a good quality olive oil, for a true national flavour. 

This is the most cooked dish all over the Portuguese mainland on Christmas Eve. In Madeira and the Azores, tradition means preparing meat kebabs on laurel sticks and roasted or stewed chicken,respectively.

When it comes to Christmas Day lunch, the variety of dishes is even greater all around the country.  In Trás-os-Montes, Alto Douro and Minho the tasty  roupa velha is prepared with the leftovers (codfish, potatoes, cabbage and eggs) from the Christmas Eve dinner, sautéed in a whole lot of olive oil and garlic. Even so, it is also very common to make roasted lamb as an alternative option. On the other hand, in the southern part of the country, roasted turkey is the king of Christmas Day lunch.

Both in the north and the south, Christmas desserts are intense and frequently have a cinnamon aftertaste. The fried desserts made with egg, milk and sugar, such as rabanadas (Frenchtoasts), filhoses and sonhos (fried cakes) fill the house with Christmas aromas, while the rice pudding, sweet vermicelli and crème brûlée shine bright on their platters. 

To top everything off, bolo-rei (the traditional Christmas cake) is always present on every Portuguese family’s table, between Christmas and Epiphany. This dessert is the most symbolic and traditional, with the golden crust representing the gold, the crystallised and dried fruits representing the myrrh, and its aroma representing the frankincense, the gifts brought to Jesus by the Three Kings.

In order to encourage you to prepare a traditional Christmas dessert we suggest rabanadas with Port wine. You can find the recipe below.

Rabanadas with Porto wine recipe:


  • 1 baguette
  • 500 ml of milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 lemon rinds
  • 1 orange rind
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 small glass of Port wine
  • Oil for frying (as needed)
  • Sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle (as needed)


  • Start by slicing the baguette. Reserve.
  • In a pan, heat the milk, the sugar, the lemon and orange rinds, and the cinnamon sticks until boiling. Whenit starts boiling, lower the heat for 3 minutes, to let the milk absorb all the flavours. Turn off the stove and add the Port wine. Stir and let it sit until it’s warm. Reserve.
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl and reserve.
  • Heat the oil for frying.
  • Once it’s warm, dip the bread slices in the milk, drain the excess and then dip them in the whisked eggs.  Fry the slices in the hot oil.
  • Once they’re golden on both sides, take them out of the oil, draining the excess, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Place all the slices in a deep platter, so you can add the syrup.


  • 2 teacups of water
  • 2 teacups of sugar
  • 1 orange rind
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons of Port wine

  • In a pan, mix the water, the sugar, the cinnamon stick and the orange rind. Let it boil and then add the Port wine. Lower the heat and let it cook, stirring continuously until it thickens. 
  • Finally, pour the syrup over the rabanadas(French toasts).

Mouthwatering enough for you? Roll up your sleeves, put on your apron and surprise the family. Enjoy!
You rather skip the hard work, but still want to taste this season’s best dishes? Check out HF HotelsChristmas and New Year’s Eve offers at the official website.

Happy holidays!

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Nogueira’s Porto: a restaurant worth visiting (and repeating)!

In need of some tips for visiting the cities of Oporto and Lisbon? Our staff wants to share with you their best experiences around here! Every month, we’ll unveil a must-go place through a recommendation given by one of our collaborators. They will share their stories, presenting a first-hand and honest account that promises not to disappoint you. Stick around and discover what locals have to say about Oporto and Lisbon!


If you are in Oporto and don’t know where to eat, you should follow our suggestion and go to Nogueira’s restaurant! A must-go for meat lovers, with a cocktail offer that will blow your mind. All of this in a cosmopolitan environment that definitely won’t leave you indifferent.

During the month of August, we’re sharing Cristina Corte Real’s experience:

“While strolling around downtown Oporto, I had already passed by this restaurant’s door several times and it was impossible not to notice this space. There are two details that had always captured my attention: first, the name! With an exotic touch and an unnecessary apostrophe… And the decoration looked very cute!

It didn’t take long to start hearing good reviews about the restaurant and last Saturday I couldn’t resist any longer and decided to try it out.

Don’t forget to make your reservation!

The restaurant has two shifts, the first one from 8 pm to 10 pm and the second one from 10 pm to midnight. We went during the first shift, as it was the only one still available.

There is a lounge bar to enjoy after dinner!

At the entrance, we were given cards to use later on for bar consumption, if we wanted to. We didn’t try the drinks at the bar, but everyone says that the cocktails (yes, cocktails have become fashionable again – goodbye gin!) are really, really good! Next time, we won’t leave without giving them a try!

Excellent service quality!

Another aspect that really pleased me and which is becoming rare these days – that’s why I hope it continues – is the fact that the restaurant had a lot of employees. Therefore, the service is even faster and presents greater quality.

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The dinner:

Let’s get to what’s important!

There were four of us. Three true meat lovers and me – I always prefer to choose something other than meat!

As a starter, we ordered crispy prawn tacos, which were pretty good. For the main course, we chose rib eye steak – excellent! – and a delicious Entraña. As a side dish, we had french fries, rice, broccoli purée (trust me and order it, because it’s won-der-ful!!!) and “gratin dauphinois” potatoes with bacon, which I really enjoyed.

And because there’s always room for dessert, we shared a “dulce de leche” Argentinian fondant and a Twix and banana dessert, whose name I don’t remember because I’m not a big fan of banana desserts.

Final remarks: I definitely recommend it and I’ll visit it again!”

Cristina tried it, loved it and recommends Nogueira’s restaurant in Oporto to everyone. Give it a try too and let us know what you think! 😉

Where? Nogueira’s – Rua de Ceuta, 23; Telephone: +351 915 181 515


How to get there?

Porto Passion | Exclusive recipe for this summer’s best cocktail at Ontop bar

Porto Passion cocktail
Porto Passion cocktail

Summer is for holidays, warm weather, beach and… cocktails!

We’re sharing the recipe for our clients’ favourite cocktail at Ontop bar, so you can try it at home and delight your own guests 😉

If you’re looking for the ideal spot for an unforgettable evening in Oporto, Ontop is the perfect choice. With a swimming pool on the 15th floor of the HF Ipanema Park hotel, it offers a panoramic view over the river and the mouth of the Douro to those who visit. In addition to the view, there is also a diverse menu of classic and signature cocktails.

Porto Passion is one of the cocktails that are part of this summer’s offer at Ontop bar. With a fresh aroma and exotic flavour, Porto Passion is based on a dry Port, combined with passion fruit and the freshness of mint, which gives it a unique flavour and a refreshing touch, created by the bartender Daniel Crespo:

“I like to surprise our guests and I wanted to give them the opportunity to experience other ways to enjoy Port wine. I did some experiments until I arrived at the current recipe. Served very cold, this cocktail combines flavour, freshness and one of the most recognised products of the region, the Port wine.”

Today, this is the favourite cocktail of the HF Ipanema Park guests! Whoever orders it, admits their curiosity regarding the mixing of these flavours and, of course, the entire scenario is an inspiration for local experiences… Nothing better than a rooftop overlooking Oporto!

Anyone who tastes it always asks what the secret ingredient is… and since we like sharing what we do best, we leave you with the recipe (no secrets!) for this summer cocktail, so you can reminisce about unforgettable evenings at Ontop bar.

Go ahead, invite your friends over and introduce them to this Northern delight!

Share your experiences with us using the hashtag #hfontopbar!