What are “petiscos”? You could call them “tapas” but that would be Spanish. Petiscos are also small plates, originally served between meals, often to accompany a drink, but more recently they’ve become a trend in Lisbon’s restaurants which are turning them into full meals. Taking a note from the international success of Spanish tapas, there are now several restaurants specializing in petiscos, usually with a “everyone shares them at the table” concept. Here we present the ten places you should try:
ADEGA VICTOR HORTA
Rua Cais de Santarem, 6
Not far from the famous Casa dos Bicos is this “adega” (wine cellar) which produces its own wine and prepares petiscos in its wood oven. The kitchen opens to the rustic-style dining area, so you’ll leave smelling of smoke but it’s still one of the most recommendable dining experiences for those looking for a special night of local traditions.
In addition to Portuguese petiscos you’ll also have Spanish tapas in a spacious room that also has a bar serving dozens of different gins. It’s quite a popular spot at the moment.
Rua Marechal Saldanha, 1
Facing one of the city’s viewpoints by the Pharmacy Museum, this restaurant’s décor is inspired by the pharmacies of the past. The menu lists a number of petiscos which young crowds seem to enjoy accompanied by Portuguese wines.
In a neighborhood of small traditional family-run restaurants this one stands out for providing a contemporary touch to the traditional petiscos. You’ll want to avoid it if you’re vegetarian, but meat lovers will enjoy the place and the wines accompanied by cheese.
TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
Open throughout the day for a mid-day snack or a full meal, this space recalls the old local grocery stores and taverns. It’s a charming place for petiscos following some long-forgotten recipes.
DE CASTRO ELIAS
When one of Porto’s most successful chefs moved to Lisbon, he opened this place as his first restaurant. Located not far from the Gulbenkian Museum, it’s a good choice for a lunch of petiscos. Look for the clams with butter beans (“ameijoas com feijão manteiga”) which is a classic of the chef.
TASCA DA ESQUINA
The chef is one of the city’s most acclaimed but instead of fine dining the restaurant offers refined versions of traditional petiscos. Here the concept isn’t so much sharing but ordering them individually at surprisingly reasonable prices considering the quality.
Rua da Esperança 112-114
This restaurant is packed every night by crowds sharing traditional dishes. It was the first one to revive the petiscos concept a few years ago and is still quite popular. It doesn’t take bookings so show up early.
Rua da Esperança, 100
Almost immediately next door to Taberna Ideal, this one has the same owners and also serves a menu of petiscos which you are encouraged to share. The décor curiously mixes pages of old books, pots and pans. It also does not take bookings.
Rua do Diário de Notícias, 95
It’s not exactly a restaurant, it’s a wine bar, but it serves excellent restaurant-style petiscos. Although many go for the flaming chouriço (sausage), there are a few other choices to accompany the wines.