Best Restaurants in Porto

Purely based in small eateries, some of which are over a century old, this city has become a foodie beacon in Europe. A much deserved change of the long lasting impression that Porto was only about Port Wine. The truth is that these places are not fancy. Not by any means! They are frequented by all social classes and nowadays it is common to see a banker sharing elbow room with a mail man at some of these tiny little places

Highlights
11 Travessa dos Congregados
The 162 year old restaurant, one of the firsts in downtown Porto. Still ran by the Dourado family, it is the place to try one of the most exquisite sandwiches in Porto: Terylene sandwich. A double decked sandwich with roasted pork loin and smoked ham, taking over 24h to be prepared. Yes, you read me right, over a day! The pork loin is marinated in wine, garlic, onions, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, chili peppers and a hint of magic for over 20 hours. Afterwards it will be roasted in a wood oven for over 3 hours… It is then served in a double sided bread bun, with pork loin in the lower level and smoked ham in the upper level. Porto’s own version of Slow Food. Have it with a glass of red sparkling wine from Bairrada and you’ll see why I love this sandwich so much!
Rua da Estação 216, 4300-215 Porto, Portugal
If you ask anyone in town where you can eat the best fried octopus fillets, the answer will be: Casa Aleixo! Facing Campanhã train Station, you can’t miss it, and you shouldn’t! Founded by a gentleman from Galicia, it was later bought by Ramiro Gonçalves and is now run by his son, Ramiro Gonçalves. Mr. Ramiro Gonçalves (the father) came up with the idea of doing the fried octopus fillets and to ensure quality he would go daily to Povoa do Varzim (35km North of Porto) to purchase the freshest octopus. And the tradition is kept by his son! Every meal is prepared in the “laboratory” (the kitchen) and wine comes from the “pharmacy” (wine cellar) and at the end of the meal you’ll be asked to move to the “torture chamber”, where you’ll drink coffee and pay the check!
R. do Ouro 223, 4150-425 Porto, Portugal
The actual name of the place is Adega Rio Douro (since it’s facing the river) but everyone knows it by Tasca da Piedade, named after the owner Mrs. Piedade. It’s also known for having “fado vadio” - traditional Portuguese music, here sang by non-professionals every Tuesday in the afternoon from 4pm until 7pm. While the music flows you can try a lot of Portuguese “petiscos”, such as stewed chicken guizzards, meat croquettes, “bifanas” and the crown jewel “iscas de bacalhau” - boiled codfish loin enveloped in a parsley omelette. The symbiosis between food and music is guaranteed, as everything here is done with passion. You might even be lucky to listen to the owner singing a few “fados”.
316 Rua do Bonjardim
Located close to the town hall, it’s known as the “Casa das Bifanas” (Bifana house) ever since it opened in 1978. In the menu you can find a lot of Porto’s and Portugal’s delicacies, but you have to try the house specialty: Bifana. It’s a pork meat sandwich, in which the meat is cooked in an incredibly spicy sauce. This sauce is the most important piece of the sandwich and its recipe a true hidden secret. I can imagine that it has tomato sauce, beer and ultra-powerful bell peppers. If you like spicy food then Conga is your place.
62, Rua dos Caldeireiros, 4000 Porto, Portugal
Mr. Armando and Mrs. Francisca run one of the hidden gems of Porto’s gastronomy - the Adega Vila Meã. The restaurant is located close to the São Bento train station, and inside you can sample Portugal’s bold flavors, from codfish to roasted veal and from hake fillets to grilled pork. On top of these delightful options, this restaurant is known for the “Cozido à Portuguesa” – a Portuguese food culture landmark! This traditional Portuguese dish is prepared with prime quality meats - sausages, veal and chicken, pork belly, bacon, all kinds of smoked meat, and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, turnips and potatoes. The portions are huge, so remember that this will probably be the only meal you will need to eat during the whole day.
Largo São Domingos 69, 4050-265 Porto, Portugal
It is a fairly recent place, opened in February 2013, located close to Ribeira, in Largo São Domingos. This restaurant aims to bring to Porto a little bit of each region of Portugal. Focusing on small scale producers and in working directly with them, Joana and Sofia (the owners) managed to have a wide selection of traditional food items from all over the country. There are three things here that makes you have to go there: wine, muxama and cheese. “Muxama” is smoked tuna fish, coming from Algarve, and it’s quite hard to find it in Porto. Have it with scrambled eggs and tomato jam. Their selection of cheeses covers the entire country, including the Azores and its São Jorge spicy cheese. One of the most incredible chesses for me is “Caganita”. A buttery and flavorful cheese from Alcains, that here is served hot with olive oil and herbs…
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