Snails are perhaps one of the most controversial snacks of the summer. There are those who find them “disgusting”, who eat silverware at a glance and who appreciate them from beginning to end of what’s inside the shell (if you know what we mean).
As soon as May arrives and a bit of heat, the pots from the restaurants and taverns go to the stove. Add a pinch of salt, chilli, garlic cloves, onions, a generous drizzle of olive oil to the snails and, depending on the place, you can find them with a touch of bay leaf or slices of pepper — in the case of the snails recipe algarvian
It is true that snails are the star of the snack that starts to appear in April and more strongly in May, but if they are not accompanied by toasted bread with butter, everything else loses its fun. Not to mention the beer, very cold.
Here are five places to taste the complete kit: well refined snails, beer and toasted bread to dip in the sauce (don’t question, try it if you’ve never done it).
1. Berbicaxo Kiosk
And how about a caracolada right in front of the Sorraia river? Kiosk Berbicaxo, in Benavente, district of Santarém, has already started the esplanade season, which is only open in the summer and also during the snail season. Here they are served in this cast iron roasting pan (if you’ve never picked up the ones from Lidl or Pingo Doce to have at home, you can enjoy them here in another way).
A half-dose costs €4.50 and one €7.90 and to warm up you can order some gizzards (from €3.50) or roe salad (€7.90), as well as a beer (from €1) or a gin (4€) to refresh.
2. São Lourenço by Trincanella
What’s missing from this photo? Toasted bread with butter. With this, everything is perfect for a plate of freshly snails at São Lourenço by Trincanella, in Abrantes. Apart from the snacks, every day there are new dishes on the menu and on the weekend there is an open buffet between 12pm and 3pm.
It includes things like codfish tiborna on Saturday and veal à Fafe on Sunday, plus vegetarian options on both days. The buffet costs €14.90, excluding drinks. After 3 pm and as soon as hunger returns, you can then attack the snails and other snacks on the esplanade of the space inserted in the Urban Park of Abrantes.
3. Manica Snacks
Manica, in Oeiras, is a restaurant and snack bar, and what interests us here is the last part, which includes the snails. They started to arrive here on the 12th of April and since then they have been on the table in various doses, whose value is between €5 and €9. If you want to accompany it with toasted bread (€1.50) just ask, one at a time.
In addition to snails, served during their season, the Manica restaurant and snack bar has snails all year round.
They are like this, big and salty, accompanied by a butter sauce for total delight.
4. Casa Monteiro – Casa de Pasto
It took some time to arrive at the Casa Monteiro – Casa de Pasto restaurant, in Moscavide, but they were finally announced and with such satisfaction. “Dear customers and friends, it is with great satisfaction that I inform you that we have already entered the snail season”, wrote the restaurant manager on Facebook.
A platter costs €5 (€3 for half a serving) and toasted bread €2. To complete it properly, order a beer (from €0.90) or, for more refined tastes, a jug of house wine (€3.80). On the phone with the manager of the restaurant after lunch, he told us that he was going to wash the snails and put them on the fire. If you’re thinking of having a snack at the end of the afternoon, get on the way to attack as soon as they’re ready.
Other snacks are added to the snails, such as gizzards (from €5), ear salad (from €4) and chorizo (5€).
5. Tasca da Xica
Around 5:30 pm, you will find snails at Tasca da Xica, in Albufeira. The first time they were served was on April 30th and since then they have been going from the pan to the restaurant tables every day.
A serving costs €7.50, the classic drink side dish, a fresh imperial, costs €1.50 and these two never lack toasted bread (€2.50).
For a more complex afternoon of snacks, Tasca da Xica also has clams from the Ria Formosa à Bulhão Pato (€13.90), fried cuttlefish strips (€6) and padrón peppers (€5), among many other suggestions. To accompany this selection, it might be ideal to order a sangria of sparkling wine and red fruits (16€) for the table.