The flavor of Portugal food is beyond one's description. Once you are in this country, your mouth will always lick for delicious food in Portugal. Poatoes, meat, fish, milk, butter and rye bread are the traditional mainstays of the Finnish diet, but food in Portugal has been greatly influenced both by Western (French and Swedish) and Eastern (Russian) cooking. Tourists can expect excellent fresh fish dishes on menus. Nearly every region of Portugal has a variety in shapes and sizes when it comes to restaurants. It can be a lowly " Tasca " (Tavern), a " Casa de Pasto " (a set three-course Tavern meal), a " Cervejaria " (Beerhouse with food), a " Restaurante " (offering a choice of dishes), a " Marisqueira " (specialising in fish and shellfish), or a " Churrasqueira " (spit or grilled food). It is not unusual for some small cafés to serve a " prato do dia " (dish of the day). Depending on location and style, prices are very reasonable when equated with other European countries and the servings are normally plentiful! Choosing the place is sometimes confusing until you acquire local knowledge. You may see smart businessmen eating in what appears to be a scruffy " Tasca ". They are there for the quality of the food, the price and the friendliness of the owners - and not just for the décor!
In the tourist areas it is usual to see restaurants offering a " ementa turística " that is a three-course meal served with a drink and all at a lower price than from the menu. Also, in tourist areas you will find that the menu has been translated into more than one other language. As soon as you have taken your seats it is normal in Portugal to be served with bread, olives and often some assorted appetizers for which you are charged. You may pay for what you eat but often it is also used as a form of cover charge. There is a good reason for these items to be placed in front of you. In all Portuguese restaurants be prepared to wait. The chef will all start cooking after your order is placed and normally only using fresh food. Vegetarians are not particularly well catered for although there are in major areas a limited number of specialized restaurants. However, as the vegetables grown in Portugal can be excellent we recommend some careful directions to the chef may produce very satisfying results.
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