When I tasted Portuguese Cataplana for the first time, I felt the warmth and vibrancy that the Algarve region of Portugal has to offer. If you are in Lagos and want to taste some fantastic, traditional Portuguese food, look no further than Casinha de Petisco.
When I visit a new place, I like to look up some restaurants I might be interested in visiting beforehand. I discovered Casinha de Petisco after some research online. Still, my choice was solidified when the concierge at our resort also suggested it as one of his favorite locations.
Although it’s possible to make reservations over the phone, my mom and I arrived after they opened to put our names on the waitlist. We were told to return in about two hours, which was perfect because it gave us time to shop in Lagos and grab a couple of intricate and well-crafted aperitifs at a rooftop bar called The Sanctuary. When we returned two hours later, we only waited about 20 minutes before we were seated.
The establishment itself is tight but cozy. There is no need for over-the-top frills because the flavors and welcoming hospitality speak for themselves. We ordered the Homestyle Cataplana, one of their most popular menu items. The dish’s name, Cataplana, is named after the type of cookware used to make it. A cataplana is a metal pot shaped like a sphere with one hinge like a clam, and the dish is a type of flavorful stew made with spices, seafood, and meat. Ours came with prawns, clams, and pork, although there are several combinations to choose from. The serving size is more than enough for two people since it’s served in the large cataplana.
I had extremely high expectations from this restaurant due to its stellar reviews, and after just one bite, I knew those expectations were exceeded. The warm sauce was a rich blend of bright spices like green onion, coriander, bay leaves, and more, while the seafood was fresh and the pork was tender.
The dish was incredible, and the staff was pleasant and helpful in making suggestions. At one point, we even spoke to the chef as he passed our table and stopped to ask if we were enjoying the food.
Although I had plenty of delicious food in Lagos, visiting Casinha de Petisco was an unforgettable experience. I recommend checking it out if you are visiting Lagos, and it’s worth the drive if you stay in any of the nearby towns. Even though I live in Spain, I know that I will be driving back to Lagos soon, and this restaurant will be my first stop.