Snails are perhaps one of the most controversial snacks of the summer. There are those who find them “disgusting”, those who eat the silverware at a glance and appreciate them from the beginning to the end of what is inside the shell (if you understand what we mean).
As soon as May arrives and a bit of heat arrives, the pots of restaurants and taverns go to the stove. Add a pinch of salt, chilli pepper, 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 Algarve recipe snails
It is true that snails are the protagonists of the snack that begins to pop up in April and more forcefully in May, but if they are not accompanied by buttered croutons, everything else loses its fun. Not to mention the beer, very cold.
Here are five places to try the complete kit: well-prepared snails, beer and croutons to dip in the sauce (don’t ask questions, try if you’ve never done it before).
1. Quiosk Berbicaxo
And how about a caracolada right in front of the Sorraia river? The Berbicaxo kiosk, in Benavente, a hamlet of Santarém, has already started the esplanade season, which is open only in summer and also during the snail season. Here they are served in this cast iron pan (if you have never taken those from Lidl or Pingo Doce to have at home, you can enjoy them here in another way).
A half dose costs € 4.50 and a half dose € 7.90 and to warm up you can order gizzard (from € 3.50) or egg salad (€ 7.90), as well as a beer (starting from from 1 €) or a gin (4 €) to refresh.
2. São Lourenço of Trincanella
What’s missing in this photo? Toast with butter. With this, everything is perfect for a plate of fresh snails at São Lourenço di Trincanella, in Abrantes. In addition to snacks, there are new dishes on the menu every day, and on the weekend there is an open buffet from 12:00 to 15:00.
It includes things like cod tiborna on Saturdays and veal à Fafe on Sundays, as well as vegetarian options on both days. The buffet costs € 14.90, drinks not included. After 3pm and as soon as hunger returns, you can then attack the snails and other snacks on the esplanade of the space inserted in the Abrantes Urban Park.
3. Petitqueira Manche
Manche, in Oeiras, is a restaurant and snack bar, and what interests us here is the last part, which includes snails. They started arriving here on April 12 and have been on the table in various doses since then, the value of which varies between 5 and 9 euros. If you want to accompany it with croutons (€ 1.50) just ask, one at a time.
In addition to snails, served during their season, the Manica restaurant and snack bar offers snails all year round.
They are like that, big and salty, accompanied by a butter sauce for a total delight.
4. Casa Monteiro – Casa de Pasto
It took some time to get to the Casa Monteiro – Casa de Pasto restaurant in Moscavide, but in the end they were announced and with a lot of 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 dish costs € 5 (€ 3 for half a portion) and toast € 2. To complete it properly, order a beer (starting at € 0.90) or, for more refined tastes, a carafe of house wine (€ 3.80). On the phone with the restaurant manager after lunch, he told us she would wash the snails and set them on fire. If you’re planning on grabbing a late afternoon snack, hit the road to attack as soon as they’re ready.
Other snacks are added to the snails, such as gizzard (from € 5), fruit salad (from € 4) and chorizo (€ 5).
5. Pocket from Xica
Around 5:30 pm you will find snails in Tasca da Xica, 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 portion costs 7.50 euros, the classic side drink, a fresh imperial, costs 1.50 euros and these two never lack croutons (2.50 euros).
For an afternoon of more complex snacks, Tasca da Xica also offers clams from the Ria Formosa à Bulhão Pato (€ 13.90), fried cuttlefish strips (€ 6) and padrón peppers (€ 5), among many others. To accompany this selection, it might be ideal to order a sparkling wine and red fruit sangria for the table (€ 16).