Afonso Bifana Saucy

A Locals Guide to the Best Bifana in Lisbon: Top 3

Living in Portuguese capital for three years, I’ve embarked on quite the culinary adventure, exploring many a Bifana sandwich spot. To save you some time, I’ve distilled my experiences and crafted a top 3 list of the Best Bifana in Lisbon spots! If your taste buds beg to differ from my list, I’m all ears and eyes! Feel free to share your thoughts and favorites in the comments section at the bottom of the page!

Before you proceed, you might find the following article intriguing, especially if you're traveling by car and are looking for parking options: Cheap and Free Parking in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide

Top Picks for Best Bifana in Lisbon

Alright, let’s dive into the heart of the matter – my top 3 best spots to grab the best Bifana in Lisbon. 

#3 Casa das Bifanas

Rated 4.0 star with over 2400 Google reviews

€2 for 1 Bifana

Casa das Bifanas bifana with chilli oil - best bifana in lisbon?
Casa das Bifanas bifana with chilli oil

Casa das Bifanas, or The House of Bifanas holds a special place as it was here I first encountered that delightfully delicious yet simple sandwich, the humble Bifana, and for that it earns a mention. While it may not have the same mind-blowing factor as my top two picks, there’s an undeniable charm to this local-focused spot.

Casa das Bifanas keeps it real and straightforward – it’s not about the frills but the authentic, local street food experience. While I found the seasoning could use a bit of a boost, the value you get here is truly unbeatable. Two delicious Bifanas, a side of crispy french fries, and a couple of large, refreshing beers – all for a mere €15!  

The place radiates an honest, local vibe, making it worth trying if you find yourself nearby. But if you’re on a dedicated Bifana quest, I’d recommend hopping on a scooter or stretching those legs to explore Afonso or O Trevo for a more seasoned experience. And a little heads-up – it’s cash only at Casa das Bifanas, so come prepared!

Praça da Figueira 7A, 1100-240 Lisboa, Portugal, open Monday – Saturday 06:30 – 12am. Closed on Sunday. Visit the Casa das Bifanas Website. For more info call +351 213 423 184.

#2 O Trevo

Rated 4.5 star with over 2100 Google reviews

€2.50 for 1 Bifana

Eating at the counter at O Trevo
Eating at the counter at O Trevo

Stumbling upon O Trevo was like uncovering a hidden gem in Chiado, marking the moment I realized there was more to explore beyond my initial encounter at Casa das Bifanas. The discovery was serendipitous, happening right after enjoying a great haircut at Facto Hair Salon nearby – a spot in downtown Lisbon I highly recommend.

O Trevo radiates a vibrant charm and is clearly a local favorite, especially in the bustling afternoons when it becomes a hub for the workers in the area. Here, not only do you get to savor the authentic flavors but also enjoy the local pricing – win-win! The staff, efficient and no-nonsense, add to the genuine atmosphere, making it an ideal place to brush up on your Portuguese. A little tip: try ordering with “Posso ter Bifana Por Favor” to immerse yourself in the local vibe.

The Bifana experience at O Trevo is a significant leap from Casa das Bifanas. The secret? Soft doughy rolls combined with pork loins simmering slowly in a massive flavorsome pot of secret sauce, infusing it with tender juiciness that’s simply irresistible. For those who love a bit of a kick, the options of mustard and chili oil are essential. Whether you choose to stand and eat at the counter, settle inside, or enjoy the view outside, O Trevo offers a versatile dining experience. But be warned – securing a spot during the busy lunch hours can be quite the challenge!

The secret sauce at O Trevo
The secret sauce at O Trevo

If you struggle for space while inside then you will find praça da figueira just a short 30-second walk over the road from O Trevo. The perfect place to take a seat by the statue and people watch while you inhale your delicious Bifana takeaway.

O Trevo is yet another spot where you can indulge without breaking the bank. If you’re looking to try something different, it’s also a good place to sample an excellent prego (steak sandwich) that are a must-try. Just a little reminder – it’s a cash-only place, so keep some notes handy!

Praça Luís de Camões 48, 1200-283 Lisboa, Portugal, Open Monday – Saturday 7am – 10:30pm. Closed on Sunday. O Trevo Instagram page. +351 213 468 092

#1 As Bifanas do Afonso

Rated 4.7 star with over 2900 Google reviews

€2.70 for 1 Bifana

During peak hours the queue can be very big!
During peak hours the queue can be very big!

The crowning jewel of my Great Bifana Journey in Lisbon – The Bifanas of Afonso aka As Bifanas do Afonso! This spot is, without a shadow of a doubt one of the best places in Lisbon, and my absolute favorite. The sizable queues during lunch are a testament to its popularity, and I’d boldly declare – if there’s a better Bifana spot in Lisbon, I’m all ears, so don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!

Every visit to Afonso is marked by a heartwarming interaction with the wonderful server – the friendly face who’s been there each time, whose name remains a mystery to me (Mr. Afonso?). From my very first visit, his warm smile, willingness to converse in English, and genuine kindness extended towards a clear “gringo” like me have added a delightful touch to the whole experience.

Let’s talk about the star of the show – the Bifana. The level of juiciness Afonso achieves is unlike any Bifana I’ve experienced, leaving both O Trevo and Casa das Bifanas trailing in its wake. It’s something you have to try to truly understand – words can hardly do it justice! But do keep in mind, this place is a stand-up-only affair; the seats and tables outside belong to a neighbouring establishment, not O Afonso. And yes, you guessed it – it’s cash-only here too.

The most succulent Bifana in Lisbon!
The most succulent Bifana in Lisbon!

For those zipping around on e-scooters from Whoosh, Bolt, or similar services, a heads-up – this area is a no-parking zone. So, you might want to factor in the additional charge for the time spent indulging in THE best sandwich in Lisbon. Trust me, it’s worth every cent!

R. da Madalena 146, 1100-340 Lisboa, Portugal, Open Monday – Friday 8am – 6:30pm. Saturday 9am – 1:30pm. Sunday closed. For more information visit Afonsos TripAdvisor Page.

The Ultimate Bifana Google Maps World Tour

Below, you’ll find a convenient interactive Google Map that highlights the locations for all the Bifana spots mentioned earlier. 💁‍♂️

There you go, a concise guide to my top three vetted and approved best Bifana spots in Lisbon. If you’re keen on delving deeper into the world of the humble Bifana, continue scrolling. I’ve shared with you an incredible Bifana recipe along with a must watch documentary featuring Anthony Bourdain, who visited Lisbon and O Trevo in 2009. It’s fascinating to witness the changes Lisbon has experienced since then, have a look below!

What is a Bifana? 

Originating from the picturesque rural region of Vendas Novas in Alentejo, known for its vineyards, olive trees, and the renowned black Iberian suckling pig, the Bifana has traveled far and wide, finding its place as a national dish and on menus across Portugal, especially in the bustling cities.

At its core, a Bifana is a straightforward pork sandwich. Thin slices of pork loin are marinated in a zesty mix of white wine, garlic, and paprika, then nestled between the halves of a traditional Portuguese crusty roll known as a papo seco. The finishing touch? A drizzle of yellow mustard and a dash of spicy piri-piri chili oil, elevate the sandwich to new heights. And for the cheese aficionados, feel free to add a slice – it’s all part of the experience!

What Makes a Bifana Great

Unlocking the secret to what makes a Bifana truly exceptional leads us into a delightful maze as diverse as the picturesque regions of Portugal. In every corner, each cook, loving Portuguese mom, and cherished Vovó (grandmother) will enthusiastically share their own culinary secret, all while asserting the supremacy of their unique Bifana recipe. The world of Bifanas is rich with variations—some swear by adding mustard to the marinade, and others bring in their own special ingredients, each twist adding a distinct layer to the multifaceted dish.

The simple Bifana, this revered Portuguese sandwich, features a light, crusty soft bun that lovingly envelops sautéed strips of pork. These strips are seasoned to perfection with a harmonious blend of garlic, spices, and white wine, rendering the pork irresistibly juicy with just the right hint of greasiness. This combination crowns the Bifana as a favorite late-night snack, particularly for those in search of a delectable bite to balance the evening’s drinks.

The ultimate combination, a Sagres and Bifana!
The ultimate combination, a Sagres and Bifana!

Despite its reputation as a beer-soaker, the Bifana is traditionally paired with a cold beer – Super Bock in the North, Sagres in the South, or perhaps a craft beer if you find yourself in a trendier establishment. And let’s set the record straight – while it’s a popular nighttime snack, Bifanas can be enjoyed at any time, and no, you don’t have to be tipsy to appreciate them!

Adding a touch of celebrity to the humble Bifana, the renowned Anthony Bourdain featured O Trevo in a Lisbon-focused episode “No Reservations” in 2009. It’s an intriguing watch, highlighting the contrasts between Portugal’s recovery from a recession back then and its vibrant status today. For those keen on culinary explorations, you can immerse yourself in this gastronomic journey here:

The wonderful 'No Reservations' by the late Anthony Bourdain
The wonderful ‘No Reservations’ by the late Anthony Bourdain

Jump to 41:10 to see the spotlight on O Trevo.

Make Your Own Bifana at Home

Craving a taste of Portugal, but not based there? Don’t worry! We believe the joy of indulging in a Bifana should be accessible to everyone, no matter where you are. So, we’re bringing Portugal to your kitchen! Follow our guide to recreate this Portuguese delicacy at home and let the flavors transport you to the vibrant streets of Lisbon. Boa sorte (good luck)!

Ingredients: Four thin pork cutlets, around 300grams – If you’re in Portugal, locating specific pork cutlets for Bifanas is a breeze, whether at a supermarket or your neighborhood butcher.

For the Marinade: 1tsp of sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes, 2 bay leaves, 200ml dry white wine, salt and pepper to taste.

To Fry: 2tbsp butter, 1tbsp olive oil

To Serve: 4 white crusty bread rolls. If you’re in Portugal ask for Carcacas or papo-seco. Mustard and chilli oil.

Preparation:

  • Begin by tenderizing the pork cutlets using a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin to gently pound each cutlet on both sides.
  • Place the tenderized cutlets in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add the remaining marinade ingredients, ensuring the meat is well-coated.Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or ideally, overnight.
  • Place a frying pan over medium heat and add a mixture of lard, butter, and olive oil. Once hot, gently place the pork in the pan, reserving the marinade. The amount of fat might seem excessive, but the goal is to slowly ‘confit’ the pork, not fry it as you typically would with a steak.
  • After 5-8 minutes, when the oils start bubbling, flip the pork and add the reserved marinade, including the garlic, to the pan. Occasionally stir and flip the pork until the garlic cloves become a puree when squeezed with a fork, allowing the sauce to reduce slightly.
  • In the meantime, slice the bread open and give it a quick toast, ensuring the inside remains soft.
  • Assemble the Bifana by glazing both sides of the bread with the juicy pork sauce, adding a pork cutlet, and serving with mustard; English mustard is our favourite. Enjoy!

I hope you have found this guide useful. Have you stumbled upon any Bifana gems that we didn’t mention? Do you have tips or favorite spots you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on finding the best Bifana in Lisbon. Leave a comment below!

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