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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





O Frade


Alentejo inspired dishes, petiscos and desserts is what O Frade specializes in. This restaurant in Belém has at least one daily special that varies to reflect seasonality and the chef’s inspiration, along with traditional small plates from the Alentejo like scrambled eggs with asparagus, or stewed rabbit with coriander, as well as their signature meat pies such as the one with pork cheeks filling. One of the best features of O Frade is that you get to sit by a big counter which allows you to see chefs Carlos Afonso e Sérgio Frade do their magic right before you get to taste it. Even though the team’s background has a lot to do with fine dining, O Frade is all about down-to-earth regional food from the Alentejo and nearby areas of Portugal, done just right!


📍Calçada da Ajuda 14, 1300-598 Lisbon





Taberna Sal Grosso


If you’re looking for ingenious petiscos which are decidedly Portuguese in character but that go beyond the usual recipes, such as the ones we’ve highlighted above, visit Taberna Sal Grosso. This contemporary tavern near Santa Apolónia train station, crafts very original recipes which most Portuguese folks would recognize as local, even if they have never had the chance to try them in this very same shape or served along unusual complementary ingredients. We’re for example talking about the very traditional stewed pork cheeks, here paired with apple and celery purée, or the chicken with suckling pig sauce. At Taberna Sal Grosso you’ll feel the soul of Portuguese petiscos prepared by a team that doesn’t shy away from revamping some of the most traditional recipes from our country.


📍Calçada do Forte 22, 1100-256 Lisbon






Tapisco


The name Tapisco is literally a hybrid between “tapa” and “petisco”, thus referring to the kinds of foods you are going to find when you visit this Baixa-Chiado address by celebrity Michelin starred chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. Their signature petiscos may not be the affordable affair eating small platters out in Lisbon often is, but it’s worth the not so large splurge if you’d like to taste high quality Iberian black pork jamón ibérico de Bellota served Spanish style in tomato and garlic soaked bread slices, or skilfully cooked dishes like açorda de gambas, a Portuguese savory bread and garlic porridge with shrimp, or the stewed peas with chorizo from the Alentejo. These are not your everyday kind of petiscos, but very worth it for a special occasion!


📍Rua Dom Pedro V 81, 1250-096 Lisbon






Taberna Faz Frio


Taberna Faz Frio deserves to be included in our list of best restaurants for Portuguese petiscos in Lisbon, as it featured in their list of appetizers a limited but delectable selection of small portions with recipes that are most commonly found in larger serving as main dishes. We’re talking about comfort foods like the goat stew known as chanfana, alho francês à Brás, a vegetarian take on the popular salted cod and eggs dish from Lisbon, or the oven baked rice with smoked meats. These wouldn’t be popular petiscos but, alongside more traditional small plates such as those with peixinhos da horta, croquetes or sauteed shrimp, make for a very enticing starters’ menu at Taberna Faz Frio.


📍Rua Dom Pedro V 96 1250-092, 1250-094 Lisbon






Taberna Albricoque


Recipes from Portugal’s southern region of the Algarve is what Taberna Albricoque is all about. Sit down at this picturesque mosaic decorated tavern to taste beautiful dishes such as razor clams soup, pickled purple carrots with olives or braised oxtail with chickpeas. This is just to give you an idea of the essence of the menu at Taberna Albricoque as the menu actually changes daily according to season and ingredients’ availability in the market, thus guaranteeing maximum quality, freshness and ever changing creativity behind the stove!


📍Rua Caminhos de Ferro nº98, 1100-395 Lisboa






Pharmacia Felicidade


Pharmacia was created by Chef Susana Felicidade in 2011 and, for more than a decade, has been drawing inspiration from the nearby health and pharmacy museum. Pharmacia’s cooking is all about traditional Portuguese food, with special highlights towards recipes from the southern regions of Portugal. Sit indoors or at the lovely garden with views towards the Tagus river, and enjoy small dishes like duck croquetes, chicken in tangy escabeche sauce, roasted octopus with sweet potato puree and cornbread crumble, razor clams with rice and chili peppers, amongst others. Chef Felicidade’s range of desserts is absolutely tantalizing, featuring sweet dishes such as carob cake with coffee and coconut sauce, profiteroles with peanut butter and banana from the island of Madeira and more!


📍Rua de Santa Catarina n 2 e n, 4, 1249-069 Lisbon






daPrata52


A straightforward choice for petiscos in downtown Lisbon, daPrata52’s menu includes petiscos that may sound traditional but that have a twist. Think about codfish fritters which have sweet potato instead of regular potato in the batter, the beloved green bean tempura “peixinhos da horta'' with the addition of tomato, or sauteed octopus with chickpea puree. daPrata52 is a fine choice if you’d like to sip some wine and sample a good variety of Portuguese small plates after exploring the historic center of the city.


📍Rua da Prata 52, 1100-150 Lisbon






Tapa Bucho


If you’re planning to party the night away in Bairro Alto, we recommend making a stop at Tapa Bucho who have delicious tapas that will help you soak up the alcohol later. Besides Portuguese petiscos, Tapa Bucho also serves Spanish and Mediterranean specialities, which include vegetarian and vegan options so that everyone can join in the delicious fun. Tapa Bucho’s range of petiscos include mouth watering creations such as braised duck with shrimp, fried pork belly with morcela blood sausage, braised oxtail, tender pork cheeks with cauliflower puree and so much more!


📍Rua do Diário de Notícias 124, 1200-141 Lisbon






Taberna da Rua das Flores


Anyone who’s walked around Rua das Flores in Baixa-Chiado around dinner time, would have noticed the queue of excited diners who normally gather by the entrance of this contemporary tavern, eagerly awaiting to try some of the most creative petiscos in town. While the dishes served at A Taberna da Rua das Flores aren’t what we could call traditionally Portuguese, they are the fusion of local ingredients transformed by the inspiration that Mestre Andre, the master behind the stove, has gathered during his travels. To be more specific, here the take on food is Portuguese with influences from countries abroad which have historically been linked to Portugal. This translates into inventive small plates such as fried squid with codium seaweed mayonnaise, sweet potato greens with crunchy peanuts and satay, or roasted lettuce with sardines and garum. The super creative menu changes daily and is announced in the chalkboard menu that the staff brings to your table to explain in detail what’s on offer on the day you visit.


📍Rua das Flores 103, 1200-194 Lisbon






Petisqueira Matateu


Matateu assumes itself as a petiscos focused eatery and, as such, it has an ambience to match, which is informal, sometimes a little noisy, festive and all around delicious! Petisqueira Matateu’s range of small plates includes Portuguese classics such as punheta de bacalhau, a salted cod and onions salad, here served with tomatoes and watercress; pica-pau, little chunks of beef in beer sauce with pickles; scrambled eggs with mushrooms, with a little twist of parmesan cheese; and traditional beef croquetes with mustard. Petisqueira Matateu is a great option for a friends’ dinner, as they have a couple of group menus that will allow you to taste a great variety of petiscos in one setting.


📍Rua do Arsenal Restelo, 1449-015 Lisbon






Fumeiro de Santa Catarina


Making justice to the name fumeiro, which means smoke house in Portuguese, everything at Fumeiro de Santa Catarina is smoked. Well, not exactly everything, but there’s at least one ingredient with a smoky taste in each dish, even dessert! The menu’s range goes from obvious things such as smoked salmon here flavored with lemongrass, to chicken smoked inside whisky barrels or slow roasted lamb with miso puree. Following their slogan which goes something like “not everything that comes out of a smoke house is a chorizo”, Fumeiro de Santa Catarina serves sweet dishes such as bacon beignets with cardamom foam and grilled fruits with basil sorbet.


📍Tv. Alcaide 4C, 1200-013 Lisbon






Tasca da Esquina


Run by celebrity chef Vítor Sobral, Tasca da Esquina dedicates itself to exploring the repertoire of traditional Portuguese recipes and elevating local ingredients and techniques. This translates into dishes like tuna with razor clams vinaigrette and roasted tomatoes; scallops with passion fruit emulsion; sauteed squid with mushrooms and parsley; and octopus filets with mango, asparagus and cashews. If you don’t know what to order, ask for the “fique nas mãos do chef” menu, which is a tasting menu full of mouthwatering surprises crafted by the chef and which you will not regret!


📍Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C, 1350-119 Lisbon






Taberna Tosca


For over a decade, Taberna Tosca has been one of the go-to places for gourmet Portuguese tapas in the area of Cais do Sodré. Their selection of dishes focuses mostly on Portuguese specialities, along with some international inspired recipes. Their wine list is quite extensive and will perfectly help you cleanse your plate as you savor servings of fried cuttlefish strips with cilantro aioli, octopus salad, garlic shrimp, codfish tempura or Iberian pork cheeks braised with Port wine. Right next to Taberna Tosca you’ll find Mercearia Tosca, a hybrid between a specialty grocery store and a bar, where you can grab a drink in a cool atmosphere but also where you can buy canned fish, regional cheeses or smoked meats to take home.


📍Praça São Paulo 21, 1200-425 Lisbon






Loja das Conservas Petiscos


If you’d like to explore the world of preserved seafood we highly recommend taking some canned fish home, which you can purchase at Loja das Conservas right next door. But, while in Lisbon, visit Loja das Conservas Petiscos to sample some recipes prepared exclusively using seafood that has come out of a can. Sure you can taste the fish as it is, but you should also try the house’s imaginative creations that include dishes such as tuna and curry samosas, salted cod croquettes, mackerel sticks with lime mayo or garfish with ​​Portuguese Bulhão Pato sauce. At Loja das Conservas Petiscos you’ll taste one of a kind petiscos that you won’t find elsewhere in Lisbon!


📍Rua do Arsenal 130, 1100-040 Lisbon






Júlio dos Caracóis


Open since 1958, Júlio dos Caracóis serves a variety of Portuguese dishes and petiscos but it’s most famous for its caracóis, that is, snails. Snails are eaten during spring and summer and when the season finally comes around, Lisbon locals love to snack on platters of caracóis along with ice cold beers. This can be before a main meal or, why not, mid afternoon in lieu of a more traditional coffee and sweet pastry. When you eat snails around Lisbon, you can order by the plate (prato), ideal to share, or pires, which is a small saucer plate. We’re not kidding when we say that there’s a queue to eat at Júlio dos Caracóis when snail season starts in the spring. This is a very authentic Lisbon experience in the neighborhood of Marvila, away from the touristic center.


📍Rua do Vale Formoso de Cima 140 B, 1950-273 Lisbon






Cooking Lisbon


That’s right - our very own cooking school hosts a Wine and Petiscos Trivia experience that condenses a lot of Portuguese flavors and culture in just one and a half hours! Visit our central facilities near Marquês de Pombal and enjoy 10 tastings which include some of the most popular petiscos like Portuguese chorizo (known locally as chouriço), regional cheeses from different parts of Portugal and cooked meat and seafood specialities which keep varying according to the season. This is such a great opportunity to taste carefully selected dishes and Portuguese wines, while learning more about Portuguese food culture. It’s like a food tour, without having to walk around and, instead, concentrate on what’s presented on the table in front of you!


📍Rua Bernardim Ribeiro 9, 1150-068 Lisbon


So now that you know where to go in Lisbon to sample a beautiful variety of authentic Portuguese petiscos, keep in mind that you can also learn how to prepare your own with us at Cooking Lisbon. Whether you decide to eat out and about, come learn with us or, preferably, do both, we look forward to seeing your photos eating petiscos in Lisbon - share them with us via Facebook or Instagram! #cookinglisbon


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COOKING LISBON

Cooking Lisbon

Rua Bernardim Ribeiro, 9

​1150-068 Lisboa, Portugal

(+351) 916 047 883

info@cookinglisbon.com

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