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Best places to eat typical petiscos (aka Portuguese tapas) in Lisbon

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Ordering petiscos is one of the most fun ways to eat your way around Portugal and try “a little bit of everything”. Similar to the concept of tapas in Spain, petiscos are small plates of Portuguese dishes which can be enjoyed as snacks or appetizers. When you ask for several petiscos, which are of course ideal to share, you can turn the dining experience into a complete meal, allowing you the opportunity to sample a wide variety of regional recipes.

The concept of spending time together in Portugal, with family or friends, is very linked to the idea of sitting around the table sharing food, sipping wine and chatting away for hours. The verb petiscar, while literally translating to English as snacking, refers to this activity of eating which is often linked to socializing.

While the art of petiscar started essentially with small portions of Portuguese dishes and some snacks as fritters, now-a-days some restaurants have broaden their concept of petiscos and started including international recipes such as sauteed Padron peppers from Spain, bruschetta from Italy or even Japanese inspired takes on fish such as tuna tataki.

To enjoy petiscos in a traditional manner, we recommend visiting a Portuguese restaurant with company, and ordering a variety of representative Portuguese tapas which include specialities such as:

  • Ameijôas à Bulhão Pato | clams in white wine sauce;

  • Salada de polvo | cold octopus salad;

  • Pastéis de bacalhau | codfish and potato fritters;

  • Pataniscas | flat codfish fritters;

  • Meia desfeita de bacalhau | chickpeas and salted cod salad;

  • Rissóis | fried turnovers with various creamy fillings such as minced meat, prawns or, less traditionally, vegetables;

  • Gambas à guilho | garlic prawns;

  • Peixinhos da horta | green bean tempura (recipe here!);

  • Choco frito | fried cuttlefish strips;

  • Caracóis | snails (a seasonal petisco usually enjoyed during warmer months);

  • Chouriço assado | flame roasted Portuguese chorizo;

  • Pica-pau | meat chunks in tangy sauce with pickles;

  • Salada de orelha | pork ear salad;

  • Moelas | braised chicken gizzards;

  • Conservas | canned seafood (normally eaten straight out of the can);

  • Regional charcuterie, known in Portuguese as enchidos, mainly featuring pork such as the highly covered Iberian black pig usually raised in the Alentejo region for cured meats which can be eaten thinly sliced and cold like in the cases of presunto and paio, or roasted whole or in chunky slices like it usually happens with chorizo, blood sausage and other typical Portuguese sausages like alheira and farinheira;

  • Regional cheeses such as queijo da Serra (creamy to semi-hard sheep cheese from Serra da Estrela mountains), queijo de São Jorge (cow milk cheese from the Azores archipelago) or queijo de Azeitão (buttery sheep milk cheese from the town by the same name, in the South bank of Lisbon’s Tagus river).

So now that you know some of the typical small dishes you shouldn’t miss, keep in mind that these are the best places to eat Portuguese petiscos in Lisbon:

Petisco Saloio

Traditional Portuguese cooking in an ambiance to match is what Petisco Saloio specializes in. Around noon Petisco Saloio serves a fixed menu with only three lunch options. But as the sun goes down, it’s all about sharing small plates around here. Spend a great evening at Petisco Saloio exploring the menu of incredible petiscos which includes croquetes with Portuguese bread sausage alheira; oxtail pie; pork cheeks with spicy piri-piri sauce; and xerém de camarão, a corn grits porridge with prawns, typical from the Algarve region in southern Portugal.

📍Av. Barbosa Du Bocage 38, 1000-072 Lisbon

Tasca ​​Baldracca

New Kids On The Block, also known as NewKidsOTB or NKOTB are not a tribute to the boy band started back in the 80s. They are a collective of Portuguese cooks who have taken Lisbon’s dining scene by storm, with their mix of traditional and contemporary approach to Portuguese cuisine. Tasca Baldracca is run by chef Pedro Monteiro, who also happens to be responsible for the food menu at Lisbon’s craft brewery Musa. More than Portuguese cuisine, Tasca Baldracca has Iberian food, that is, also incorporating some ingredients and dishes from neighboring Spain, and that also involves further influences from Brazil. Try tapas and petiscos such as the open sandwich with cuttlefish, chorizo and bernaise sauce; beef tartare with anchovy mayonnaise (pictured here); chicken gizzards tempura; beef tongue in escabeche marinade; or suckling pig with orange and fennel salad. A great opportunity to travel with your palate!

📍Rua das Farinhas 1, 1100-177 Lisbon

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