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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;