In Estremadura restaurants, the emphasis is on fish, including the ubiquitous bacalhau (dried salt cod) and caldeirada (a hearty fish stew). The seaside resorts of Ericeira, Nazaré, and Peniche are famous for lobster. In Santarém and other spots along the Tagus River, an açorda (bread soup) made with sável, a river fish also known as shad, is popular, as are enguias (eels) prepared in a variety of ways. Pork is a key component in Ribatejo dishes, and roast lamb and kid are widely enjoyed. Perhaps the result of a sweets-making tradition developed by nuns in the region's once-numerous convents, dessert menus abound with colorful-sounding—although often cloyingly sweet and eggy—dishes such as queijinhos do céu (little cheeses from heaven). The straw-color white wines from the Ribatejo district of Bucelas are among the country's finest.

Between mid-June and mid-September, reservations are advised at upscale restaurants. Most moderate or inexpensive establishments, however, don't accept reservations. They also have informal dining rooms, where you may occasionally find yourself sharing a table with other diners. Dress is casual at all but the most luxurious places.

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