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Portuguese Crash Course for Food Travelers

a man holding his hands up
At Taste of Lisboa, we are very proud to welcome independent travelers from all over the world here in Portugal’s capital city. While we’re very happy to introduce you to our food and culture, we strongly encourage you to immerse yourself and explore even more on your own.
Even though a lot of Portuguese people speak English and it is fairly easy to navigate our country without speaking the local language, knowing a little Portuguese can help to take the experience to the next and very real level when you visit us. It’s not just about making yourself understood; It’s also about breaking the ice with natives, connecting beyond the surface, feeding bonds and, up to a certain point, being polite and grateful.
This is why we have put together an introductory course to Portuguese language, specifically tailored for food travelers. Learn how to get by, introduce yourself, order food and more.
Thanks for reading us… Obrigado!
GREETINGS
a cup of coffee on a table
Olá – Hello
Bom dia – Good morning (We say it shortly after we wake up)
Boa tarde – Good afternoon (wWe say it shortly after lunch)
Boa noite – Good Night ​(We say it shortly after sunset)
Como está? – How are you?
Até já – See you soon
Até à próxima – See you next time
Até logo – See you later
Beijinhos – Kisses ​(Literally meaning little kisses, –​inhos ​is a suffix we use for little cute things)

PLEASANTRIES

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

Por favor – Please
Obrigada/Obrigado – Thank you ​(this expression stems from the verb ​to be obliged​. Therefore, it is dependent on the gender of the speaker. If you are a lady, you say ​obrigad​a. ​If you are a gentleman, you say obrigad​o​)
Desculpe – I’m sorry
Com licença – Excuse me (D​esculpe​ can also be used to ask to be excused, when passing through a big crowd, for example)

SELF INTRODUCTION

a group of people posing for the camera

Eu sou – I am
Este/esta é…o meu/a minha – This is my… (o​ meu i​s masculine and ​a minha ​is feminine​, ​typically in portuguese A is feminine and O is masculine, E is usually neutral. Of course there are exceptions.)
Filho/filha – Son/daughter
Marido/mulher – Husband/Wife
Irmão/Irmã – Brother/Sister
Pai/Mãe – Dad/Mom
Americano/Americana – American (M​asculine/Feminine)
Inglês/Inglesa – English (M​asculine/Feminine)
Canadiano/Canadiana – Canadian  (M​asculine/Feminine)
Alemão/Alemã – German (M​asculine/Feminine)
Norueguês/Norueguesa – Norwegian (M​asculine/Feminine)
Dinamarquês/Dinamarquesa – Danish (M​asculine/Feminine)
Belga – Belgian (​This one is gender neutral!)
Sueco/Sueca – Swedish (M​asculine/Feminine)
Suíço/Suíça – Swiss (M​asculine/Feminine)

BOOKING A TABLE

a plate of food on a table

Queria reservar mesa para… pessoas – I would like to book a table for… people
Uma (pessoa) – 1 (Here we say ​uma pessoa ​- one person. ​Pessoa i​s the singular of p​essoas – people)
Duas – 2 (​Both ​um ​and dois – one and two – have male and female forms. Because ​pessoa i​s a feminine word, we must use the feminine form of each number. All other numbers are gender neutral)
Três – 3
Quatro – 4
Cinco – 5
Seis – 6
Sete – 7
Oito – 8
Nove – 9
Dez – 10
Vinte – 20 (A​fter 20, it’s math. We say v​inte e um ​- twenty and one. ​Trinta e dois ​- thirty and two. And so on…)
Trinta – 30
Queria reservar mesa para as… horas – I would like to book a table at… (time)
Uma (hora) – 1 (Here we say ​uma hora ​- one hour. ​Hora i​s the singular of ​horas.​)
Duas e meia – 2h30 (M​eia ​means a half)
Três e um quarto – 3h15 (U​m quarto​ means a quarter to three)
Um quarto para as quatro – 3h45 (Um quarto para​​ means that it’s missing a quarter of an hour to become a different hour.)
Hoje – Today
Amanhã – Tomorrow
Read more about usual meal times in Portugal.

AT THE RESTAURANT

a close up of food

Não tenho reserva – I don’t have a reservation
Tenho reserva em nome de… – I have a reservation in the name of…
Não posso comer… – I can not eat…
Sou alérgica/alérgico a… – I am allergic to… (I​f you have a really bad allergy to something, make sure to say this to your server. You can use both forms (n​ão posso comer ​and sou alérgico a…)​ to express urgency. Feminine/Masculine
Amendoins – Peanuts
Nozes – Nuts
Malagueta – Chilli pepper
Lactose/Lacticínios – Lactose/Dairy
Glúten – Gluten
Sou vegetariano/vegetariana – I am vegetarian (M​asculine/Feminine)
Sou vegan – I am vegan ​(This one is gender neutral.)
Não como… – I do not eat… ​(This expression expresses a different urgency than n​ ão posso comer​. If you say this, it means that you don’t eat something by choice, not for your health. It communicates a sense of preference. If you are truly allergic to something or have health restrictions, please use the aforementioned expressions)
Carne – Meat
Peixe – Fish
Ovos – Eggs
Cogumelos – Mushrooms
Uma garrafa de água (com gás), por favor. – A bottle of water (sparkling), please.
É uma bifana, uma sopa e um prato do dia, por favor – A bifana, a soup and a daily special, please (this literally translates to – it is one bifana, one soup and a plate of the day, please. We use the ​ ​as an expression of politeness.)
São três cafés e a conta, por favor. – Three espressos and the bill, please! ​(this literally translates to – they are three coffees and the bill, please. S​ão ​is the plural of é​​, and we also use it as an expression of politeness. Here c​afé ​is translated to espresso, because in Lisbon, when we ask for a coffee we always get an espresso. If you’d like anything else, you’d have to specify.)
Vinho tinto – Red wine
Vinho branco – White wine
Chá – Tea
Now that you know how to order like a local, learn how to identify an authentic Portuguese tasca, the kind of beloved establishment us natives like to dine at often.
If you are a vegetarian, read about the best vegetarian restaurants you can eat at in Lisbon.

EXTRAS

a group of people sitting at a bus stop

Onde é… – Where is…
A casa de banho/wc – The bathroom/ wc (​If you can’t easily pronounce ​casa de banho​ that is fine, WC is almost the same sound as in English and people will understand you.)
A estação – The station
O hotel – The hotel
O restaurante – The restaurant
Esquerda – Left
Direita – Right
TASTE OF LISBOA CHALLENGE
Introduce yourself in Portuguese and share it either on your Instagram feed or Insta Stories, tagging @tasteoflisboa We’d love to see it and we’ll be happy to re-share.
It is not that difficult! You can follow this template, simply replacing the underlined words:
Olá! Eu sou a ​Catarina!​ Sou ​Portuguesa​, de Lisboa ​e gosto de ​bifana!​ Beijinhos
Hello! I am Catarina! I am Portuguese, from Lisbon and I like bifana! Kisses