Chilli peppers, lemon, black pepper, saffron, coriander, olive oil and garlic are the fiery flavours of Portugal. When seasoning flame-grilled fish, chicken, prawns, sardines and steak, these combinations make for a very satisfying menu – so much so that local brand Nando’s has spread its peri peri heat to the USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and the UK.
Order peri peri prawns, wine-drenched beef trinchado, a towering espetada skewer or sauce-dripping prego rolls at one of these authentic Portuguese restaurants across South Africa.
Enjoy traditional dishes such as caldo verde, chicken giblets, and Lisbon prawns in a beer sauce.
Adega de Monge
The usual mussels, snails and prawn cocktail are good starters; you may also like to try the octopus rice, prawns, pork fillet and trinchado.
Try the Portuguese steak for the true meat lover. The grilled ladies fillet is topped with Parma Ham and a fried egg.
Casa da Galinha
The Chicken trinchado with a creamy tomato, garlic and white wine sauce attracts many fans.
Try out the bacalhau na braza (cod on the braai) or bacalhau a braz (strips of cod with finely chopped onion and thin fried chips in an egg mix). Else there’s the fabulously grilled sardines served simply with boiled potato.
The Samba Platter is a divine collection of seafood, with prawns, calamari and line fish in olive oil and lemon juice, served with savoury rice, crispy potato chips and a Brazilian salad.
Tasca do Sol (now closed)
Order the sublime peri peri chicken served with spicy rice.
Troyeville Hotel Restaurant
Tuck into favourites like the grilled calamari (R84), rump steak trinchado (R84) soup and grilled baby chicken (R79).
Have figado de galinha (peri peri chicken livers) to start with, followed by a uniquely Portuguese take on the surf and turf – the Camarao & Galiha, a half baby chicken and six beer-basted prawns.
Order the traditional peri peri prego and chips or a grilled baby chicken.
Dive into a divine seafood platter for two, with sole, grilled or deep fried Falkland calamari, queen prawns and mussels.
LM in the East
Order the eponymous LM Seafood Platter, a delicious combination of mussels, calamari, Mozambican prawns and line fish.
We recommend the house speciality of chicken Mozambique: half a deboned chicken seasoned with chilli, garlic and coconut. Also try the New Orleans special, which, despite the creole influences has a definite Portuguese flavour – chorizo sausage, six queen prawns and calamari cooked in chilli, garlic, white wine and parsley.
Adega offers Portuguese-style feasts with traditional fare on the menu like king prawns (R229 for 1kg), prego rolls, espetada (R96) and Portuguese steaks marinated in white wine, garlic and bay leaves, topped with a fried egg (R96 for 200g fillet and R82 for 200g rump).
Bazaruto’s specialises in seafood flavoured with spices from Mozambique and Portugal.
The chicken livers are a must, and freshness of ingredients is evident in the simple flavours. Fresh fish and seafood is what the locals order, so you won’t go wrong.
Neo Café (North Beach)
The menu is simple, offering classic dishes like prego rolls, seafood, steaks, and more.
Peri Peri De Mocambique
The usual fare includes an outstanding chicken peri peri (R98), calamari Chourrico (R99), beef prego roll (R110 for fillet) and a Mozambique layered salad with tomato, avo, onions and mozzarella, dressed with balsamic dressing (R37).
Mains showcase traditional Portuguese winners like trinchado, peri peri chicken espetada, boozy prawns and butterflied chicken.
Try the line fish papillote (line fish baked in a parchment paper parcel with tomato, courgettes, fennel, thyme and extra virgin olive oil for R146) or free-range whole baby chicken (R155).
Carla’s specialises in a signature platter of prawns peri peri (12 for R150).
Chapman’s Peak Hotel Restaurant
Try the calamari served in a cast-iron skillet (R110) or the chicken fillet trinchado (R89).
Expect robust, spicy Mediterranean flavours in signature dishes from chicken giblets peri peri to chorizo, sardines, calamari, trinchado and espetada.
Madeira Seafood Restaurant
Try the spicy chicken livers, whole peri peri chicken and chicken or beef trinchado.
Seafood is the drawcard here with queen prawns, butterflied and grilled (R180), Mozambican prawn curry (R200) and baby kingklip (R160) on the menu.
Tasca de Belem
Start off with calamari, pan-fried with garlic and lemon, or chorizo sausage served with fabulous flat bread from Madeira (made with sweet potato and flour) and move on to beef espetada or spicy trinchado with mash.
Toni’s on Kloof
Try nice and garlicky beef (R69) and chicken (R58) trinchado in a rich wine sauce, and the fabulous prawn rissoles (R49), which are crispy on the outside and filled with a rich creamy sauce and prawns, splashed with some lemon.
Vasco Da Gama Tavern
Enjoy traditional pub grub with a Portuguese influence.
Authentic Portuguese dishes include grilled sardines (R79), chicken trinchado (R79) and chicken or steak Prego rolls (R69).
Traditional Portuguese food is served plainly, including peri peri chicken livers, chorizo sausage, half and whole chickens done peri peri style, spare ribs, calamari and prawns.
By Kelly Pluke
If you love Portuguese food and stay in the city of gold, check out Hennie Fisher’s more in-depth piece on Portuguese dining in Johannesburg.
Photograph: Jane-Anne Hobbs’s peri-peri calamari and chorizo sausage