This short English version has been translated by Cody Hanson*
Please keep in mind the dining customs of Coimbra. First and foremost is the time. People dine early, which means restaurants close at a prudent time. Many restaurants close on the weekend.
In general it is inexpensive to eat well in the city. For about 10 Euros you can eat a good and generous lunch or dinner. The portions are so generous that it is wise to ask for half a portion. Depending on the restaurant, half a portion is the same or more than a whole portion in Spain. Beer in bars is inexpensive also (1 or 1.5 Euros).
There are also meal specials with students in mind. In cantinas around campus the express menu, which includes soup, baguette, and tang, can be had for 3 Euros. For 5 Euros you can buy a pizza at the cantina at the foot of the Monumental Stairs. The São João Cantina offers a buffet, including wine, for 6.5 Euros.
Appetizers (“petiscos”) are not usually free in Portugal. Normally, bread, olives and cheese are brought to the table without you requesting them, but then you are charged for them. If you want to know if there is a charge for them, when they are brought you may ask if they are free (“é de oferta?”). If the server says no and you don’t want to eat them, you can ask for them to be taken away (“retírelo, por favor”).
There is a variety of meals offered. It is always a good idea to ask for the specialty of the house. Typically soup is served before the main course.
Some restaurants I recommend, in order of preference are:
* Zé Manel dos Ossos (Beço do Forno, 12): the very best, extremely fine culinary experience. Closed Saturday nights and all day Sunday.
* Casa Giro (Rua das Azeiteiras, 39): Very good. I recommend the codfish. Open Saturdays and Sundays until late.
* Zé Neto (Rua das Azeiteiras, 8): Known for being very good. The restaurant has lots of room and is ideal for large groups.
* Quim dos Ossos (Rua Antonio de Vasconcelos, near Rua Zaragoza): a friendly and humble house, with good food, such as the dobrada.
* Solar do Bacalhau: people from Coimbra recommend this restaurant. A modern atmosphere, with plenty of room for large groups.
* Cova Funda – o espanhol (Rua da Sofía 117). Good prices and quality. Does not offer Spanish food, as the name would lead you to believe.
Not located in the very centre of the city:
* Casa Mabilia (Rua Figueira da Foz, 114): rustic and very homelike place with nice people for eating tipical food from Coimbra (image to the left; located near the Bus Station).
* Rui dos leitões: If you travel by car or taxi and you would like to have a different culinary experience try roasted piglet (leitão ao espeto)
* This Short English Version had been traslated by Cody Hanson, based on Leonor Zozaya’s Spanish version of the texts. Cody Hanson (Ph.D) is Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at Indiana State University.