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The explosion of restaurants in Lisbon in the early 21st century indicates that the Portuguese regard dining just as seriously as Spaniards. High prices have not suppressed their appetites, and residents of the capital are dining out more frequently than in the past.

Plenty of restaurants serve the usual fish and shellfish, and many erstwhile Portuguese colonials from Brazil, and even Mozambique and Goa, have opened restaurants in the capital. The menus in the top establishments remain on par with those of Europe's leading restaurants. In Lisbon, you'll encounter the best of Portuguese cooking mixed with Continental classics.

You needn't pay exorbitant prices for top-quality food, though. Restaurants featuring Portuguese and foreign fare -- from beer-and-steak taverns to formal town-house dining rooms to cliffside restaurants with panoramic views -- suit all budgets. For the best value, look for the "tourist," or fixed-price menu, which usually includes two or three courses, and sometimes wine, for far less than ordering a la carte. You might also want to consider an evening meal at a fado cafe. Lisboans tend to eat much later than most American, Canadian, and British visitors, although not as late as their Spanish neighbors. Some restaurants (including Gambrinus, Bachus, and Cervejaria Trindade) stay open very late.

A Picnic in a "Green Lung" -- Lisbon has many "green lungs" (public parks) where you can go with picnic fixings. Of these, the most appealing is the Jardim Botânico, Rua da Alegria (tel. 21/362-25-03), with its ornate iron benches and shrubs and trees from all parts of the world.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.