Meals generally include three courses, a drink, and coffee. Many restaurants have an ementa turistica (tourist menu), a set-price meal, most often served at lunchtime. Note that you'll be charged a couple of euros if you eat any of the couvert items—typically appetizers such as bread and butter, olives, and the like—that are brought to your table without being ordered.

While in upmarket restaurants all fish will come ready filleted, in other places most grilled fish will not only have bones but come complete with the head and tail, so only a dish described on the menu as filete will be bone-free. Traditional rural meat stews also usually contain bits of the animal you may not have eaten before, such as pig’s ear (orelha de porco) or trotters (pézinhos).

Lisbon's restaurants usually serve lunch from noon or 12:30 until 3 and dinner from 7:30 until 11; many establishments are closed Sunday or Monday. Inexpensive restaurants typically don't accept reservations. In the traditional cervejarias (beer hall–restaurants), which frequently have huge dining rooms, you'll probably have to wait for a table, but usually not more than 10 minutes. In the Bairro Alto, many of the reasonably priced tascas (taverns) are on the small side: if you can't grab a table, you're probably better off moving on to the next place. Throughout Lisbon, dress for meals is usually casual, but exceptions are noted below.

Note that the city tourist board’s 72-hour Restaurant Card brings discounts to a number of leading restaurants. The card is free with a discount sightseeing-and-transport Lisboa Card but otherwise costs from €6.15 (for a single person; there are also double and family cards). The cards are available at tourist offices and major hotels.


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