If you follow American dining customs in Brazil, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around. Here are some tips so you don’t get lost in translation.
I went to casual and more upscale restaurants and never saw a host. Just look around to find a table and grab a menu if you see one.
Learn Some Portuguese
Only the touristy restaurants have English menus so you’ll need to learn some Portuguese words (peixe = fish, frango = chicken, arroz = rice, fejão = beans), or at least get a good phrase book.
Point at the Dish You Want to Order
Well, you should try to say it first, but don’t worry if the server doesn’t understand you. In my experience, Bahians were very particular about pronunciation. If I didn’t say it perfectly, they just didn’t get it. And, in case you were wondering, Spanish will only get you so far.
Eat With a Friend
Most dishes serve two people – it’s a reflection of the social culture. If you go alone, just be prepared to save the rest of the meal for the next day.
Ask for the Check
It’s seen as rude to bring the bill before you ask for it. If you’re paying with a credit card, they’ll bring the machine to you and complete the transaction at the table. The tip is usually already included in the bill, so be sure to double check.
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