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What: Thinly sliced minute steak on a Portuguese roll, taken to the next level by its garlicky marinade. What bifana is for pork, prego is for beef: a national sandwich of Portugal. And while seafood variants of this sandwich abound (see below), the classic steak version is most traditionally considered the closer after a meal of seafood. That’s right: garlicky steak sandwich for dessert.
Good to know: In Portuguese prego means “nail”; this sandwich is fully called prego no pao, meaning, more or less, the pounded meat is “nailed” to the bread.
Where: Cervejaria Ramiro (Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H, map) is known for its stellar seafood and insane popularity—there’s a line out the door most nights—but it’s also a terrific place to try a prego the traditional way. And it’s worth the wait to get in, both for the delicious meals and the frenetic atmosphere (and, hey, you can grab some beer while you’re waiting on that line). Expect a lot of shellfish, a lot of butter and garlic, and a lot of wine.
Good to know: The restaurant has three floors, with the top floor reserved for private parties. The bottom two are pretty casual, brightly lit, and noisy, and our kids were welcome (they particularly loved the aquarium with live seafood near the entry).
When: Tues-Sun, noon-12:30pm
Order: When you can’t possibly take another bite of buttery seafood (or rich, savory crab-stuffed sapateira recheada), you order the prego. We didn’t think we had room for it, but this sandwich—just the right size, with just the right amount of garlicky parsley-flecked meat, on a perfectly soft roll—disappeared rather quickly. It’s that delicious.
Alternatively: The O Prego da Peixaria stall in Time Out Market Lisboa (aka Mercado da Ribeira; Av. 24 de Julho 49, map) calls itself the first pregaria in town, or eatery devoted to pregos, where you can find the classic sirloin steak version or try one with fish (prego de atum, made with tuna steak, is a whole other class of this dish). Along those same lines, we loved the pregos made with shrimp and cod at Nova Peixaria (Alameda dos Oceanos 108, map), a pretty restaurant located near the excellent Oceanário de Lisboa.