5 Things You Should Know Before You Book a Restaurant in Lisbon

Lisbon restaurants

5 tips that may come in use especially if you wish to enjoy Lisbon’s Restaurant Week!

YOU CAN BOOK ONLINE – Many local restaurants are finally offering online bookings, allowing tourists to reserve their tables in advance without having to go through the trouble of calling. It’s fast and easy, and the ones offering such a service are already doing it through GoLisbon. Some popular choices include Gemelli, Clara Chiado, Maritaca, XL, Don Pomodoro, and Casa de Linhares fado restaurant.

NOTHING IS FREE – When you arrive at your table, don’t assume the bread, butter, meats, cheeses and whatever else is free like in many other countries. This is a common warning in many guidebooks, but apparently many tourists still end up feeling cheated when the bill comes at the end of the meal. So don’t forget that in Portugal you pay for what you eat. If you don’t want that bread and cheese, just send it back.

THE PORTUGUESE EAT LATE – Most Portuguese dine at around 9PM, and often later on weekends. So the best time to show up at a restaurant is at 8PM to increase your chances of getting a table. It’s not unusual for Bairro Alto restaurants to get reservations for 10 or 10:30PM on weekends, so if you decide to book in advance, do it for between 8 and 9PM.

PAY IN CASH – Most restaurants in Lisbon accept cards, and in fact most locals pay with their debit card. VISA is widely accepted but to avoid eventual international transaction fees from your bank or credit card company, try to have enough cash with you. The few restaurants that don’t take cards should have that warning on the menu or by the entrance. If you still plan to pay with a card, be sure to confirm that information on arrival.

THERE’S NO TIPPING – The “mandatory” 10, 15 or even 20% tip has not reached Portugal. Here, most locals only leave a tip (usually by just rounding up the total or leaving a few cents to as much as a couple of euros) if they in fact enjoyed the service. Tipping is still seen as an appreciation of good service, and not as a complementary salary.