For the Portuguese, the day’s main meal is at lunchtime when time is taken to relax and savour great food and good company whilst shading from the midday heat. Lunch usually consists of three courses served between 12h00 and 15h00. Evening meal times are similar to Northern Europe and most restaurants are closed by midnight.
There’s nothing more amusing to the Portuguese than bombarding us foreign tourists with an overabundance of different names to describe similar items and the names of Portugal’s eateries are no exception. However with a mere basic understanding of each term used can help you match the dining experience to your tastes, appetite and budget. MADABOUTLISBON.COM is here to guide you through.
Eateries who call themselves Restaurante may not be as formal as you would expect. Dinning out in Portugal is a family affair with two or three generations sharing a table. Prices too may not be as expensive as you think, in general eating out is good value in Lisbon. Restaurante Típico suggests a regional specialty.
In addition to selling wine produced on an estate, an Adega may also have a restaurant or bar. The term refers to fresh farm produce, someones from a single estate, is served on the premises, it can be wine, olive oil, preserves, sausages, meat or vegetables. A term not seen much is Casa de Pasto which describes a canteen type dining establishment with a set menu meal. A great budget choice if you're not too choosey. A popular choice is a Churrasqueira/Churrascaria which translates as a grill house and specialise in cooking chicken, meat and fish on coals, often in belly-busting portions. A Frangasqueira is a grill house specialising in chicken and where you're most likely to find chicken peri peri. Chips and rice are usual sides to these restaurants. A Fumeiro means smokehouse and a description used in the Beiras and Alentejo regions and in Lisbon, restaurants specialising in those regional dishes. Expect cured meats, sausages, smoked presunto and pork items.
A Marisqueira is a specialist seafood restaurant. Fish is the Portuguese staple food and their fish restaurants are as varied as the dishes found on the menus. They can be expensive, especially if ingredients are sold by the KG. They can also be unpretentious and homely. Freshness is the key and not all items listed on the menu will be available all the time. Whats on offer is dependent on what has been caught that day. A Taberna or tasquinha is another name for a informal restaurant usually frequented by a regular local clientele. Quite often they'll have a local specialty and may not even have a menu. They're most busy at lunch times and seating is informal with diners eating at the bar or sharing tables. In Spain a Tasca is a tapas bar but in Portugal it refers to a small inexpensive family run establishment. The service will be a homely experience and portions likely to be generous.