Growing up in Portugal, the concept of taberna tavern is engrossed in you since tender age. Everywhere you go, for sure you will find a small shop, resembling more to a hole in the wall than a restaurant selling the famous ‘house wine’ in a copo de três, a ginjinha (Morello cherry liquer) and petiscos snacks.
Nowadays, you can still find tabernas though the majority of them are a modern conception of the traditional Portuguese tabernas or tascas.
The old and traditional tabernas were small unrefined places where people would go for a drink and a ‘light bite’ considerable portion of petisco in small white porcelain dish with a blue trim.
In a very far away past, before Health & Safety (ASAE in Portugal) a taberna:
- Was a noisy busy place aromatized by wine and with sticky floors
- Served wine from the barrel at low prices
- Would have a small bunch of waiters in white shirts with rolled up sleeves carrying a tea towel on one shoulder (a cloth that would be used to clean the tables, dry the glasses and cups that were kept warm on top of the coffee machine –arghh!); these waiters would multitask while whistling a happy tune
- The table menus were inexistent, a possible black board at best of times would display the array of gastronomic delicacies
- By norm would have small tables with paper towels and uncomfortable seats
- Decoration style would be very relaxed with a lot of mix match decorations, terracotta clay artefacts and the typical football team photo with the Portugal scarf above it. Some even had the traditional Portuguese tile on the walls
- Would serve: Rissóis, cod pastries, pig ear, vinaigrette broad beans, flamed chorizo, lupini beans, leitão, febras, amongst other delights
- Fado singers would perform singing fado corrido
A down to earth service, with no fuzz and very low cost!