As a rule, the Portuguese have three meals a day. Between 7:30 and 10 a.m. they have a light breakfast consisting of a drink - white or black coffee or fruit juice - and toast or a sandwich, often in their local café or cake shop.
The main meals are lunch, between 12:00 and 2:30 p.m., which is often eaten at a restaurant near work, and dinner between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Most people eat a full meal including soup, a main dish and dessert or fruit. They may also have a snack consisting of a drink and a cake between these two meals, around 5 p.m.
Eating out is common practice in Portugal. Having lunch or dinner out, especially at the weekend, is always a good excuse for meeting friends or going for a drive.
There is a great variety of restaurants and they cater to all kinds of tastes and palates.
While restaurants are usually open for lunch between midday and 3 p.m. and for dinner between 7 and 10 p.m. many of them have longer opening hours, especially in the big cities and areas with a busy nightlife.
They usually close one day a week, sometimes at the weekend in city centres, though restaurants in shopping centres are open every day.