At what time do you eat in Portugal?
If you are in Lisbon and feel like having lunch around 11:00 or 15:00, your best choice is definitely to book your place in one for our food & cultural walks. If you feel like a few beers and something to bite at 18.00, it is also possible.
In Portugal, any time is a good time to eat! Regardless of your stomach time, there is an old saying that sums up the Portuguese spirit perfectly: mealtime is sacred, like the cult of the shared meal.
There are, of course, those who hold on to traditional schedules – lunch at 13:00 o’clock and dinner at 20:00. And there are those who like to vary and prevaricate in time, depending on the day of the week. Especially on Fridays and Saturdays, where late dinner is usual, and after that everybody goes to the rounds of bars and dance at the disco. If you wish, until well after sunrise. Oh, and Sunday is brunch day.
Confused? We explain:
MONDAY TO THURSDAY
8:00 a.m. / 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast
Healthy Portuguese takes home breakfast, with fruit and cereals. But the typical Portuguese likes to take breakfast outside, in the neighbourhood coffee, while commenting the daily news with the employee. He likes to eat a bread toast or a mixed sandwich (butter, ham and cheese) with a galão (milk and coffee). Some people prefer savouries and a café.
11:00 a.m. – Morning snack
Pause for a coffee and the classic pastel de nata. Or cupcake. Or rice cake. The healthy Portuguese at this time is already in hypoglycaemia and cannot resist a sweet sandwich: a fluffy cake with grated coconut on top. We like to join cheese and ham that will hold hunger until lunchtime.
13:00 / 14:00 – Lunch
A typical lunchtime is between 13:00 and 14:00 and the meal, as dictates the taste of the Mediterranean diet in Portugal, starts with a soup, our first course and our main source of vegetables. Next a dish of fish or meat, garnished with rice or potatoes and vegetables to decorate, a dessert and coffee to end. It’s normal to find a Portuguese having lunch at the counter of the cafe, when time is short. In these cases, it’s common to ask for a soup, then a Bifana or Prego, or patty’s, whether shrimp or patty pig, codfish pasty or beef croquettes.
17:00 / 18:00 – Afternoon snack
Another pastel de nata, a chicken pie or cake or other salty, accompanied by another coffee, or in cold days a tea to warm the soul, kill the stomach mouse to endure until dinner.
20:00 / 21:00 – Dinner
At home we started making lighter meals at dinner and often include only soup, bread, cheese, a salad and fruit. Menu that does not include dinners in restaurants, which begin to be scheduled from Thursday to Saturday.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY’s DINNERS
21:30 / 23:00
Remember the old saying about mealtime being sacred? Well, forget the saying on Friday and Saturday. These days dinner is scheduled at the restaurant at 21:30 / 22:00, people start showing up half an hour later and begins to eat at 23:00. The meal ends around 00:30 and then everybody heads to Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré for the first night cup.
12:30 / 15:00 – Brunch
Saturday nights are usually long, a real marathon for many. Sunday mornings are hard or non-existent. Nothing better to cure a hangover than a brunch well served from noon, reaching its pick time around two in the afternoon. At least that’s what girls think, boys will keep track of sunglasses and pining for a coke and a burger with bacon, an extra dose of cheese, egg and chips with mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise. The typical brunch is a version of lunchy breakfast with several types of bread, croissants, butter, jam, several types of cheese, scrambled or fried eggs, a shot of mashed vegetables, a hot or cold salad, fresh juice and a spoon sweet. We like it!
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