The Best Restaurants You Must Try in Porto, Portugal
Porto’s dining scene revolves mainly around fresh sea produce and succulent local meats, with regional delicacies such as francesinhas and bacalhau, the local salted cod,taking center stage. We explore ten of the best Portugese restaurants to sample the local cuisine, from traditional family run Portuguese restaurants to fine-dining establishments and riverside venues.
ODE Porto Winehouse
Restaurant, Portuguese, European, $$$
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Tucked down a side street in Porto, ODE Porto Winehouse has an impressive wine list, and a decor that is heavy on wine barrels and crates. The beautifully cooked and carefully arranged Portuguese dishes are all made with ingredients sourced from selected farmers, producers and suppliers. This is in keeping with the Winehouse’s aim to provide an authentic Portuguese menu of organic, locally produced ingredients.
Within arm’s reach of the mouth of the Douro river, Restaurante Cafeina is a popular spot with local artists and Porto’s hip young crowd. The Portuguese food here is influenced by Italian and French cuisines, with a menu that changes on a regular basis, but usually revolves around succulent cuts of meat and fresh fish. The sleek interior is dominated by muted colors, accompanied by a light breeze coming in from the sea when the windows are open in summer.
Pedro Lemos has established itself as one of the most popular restaurants in Porto with a menu that is firmly and proudly grounded in the traditions of Portuguese cooking. Each dish reflects the country’s rich culinary heritage and explodes with simplicity and taste, thanks to the finest quality ingredients, sourced from the best producers. To try as much as you can while you’re here order the elaborate eight-course tasting menu.
Casa da Horta’s vegetarian restaurant only serves dinner but it’s worth the wait for imaginative meat-free dishes such as francesinha, a traditional Portuguese sandwich usually made with ham. Unlike a standard restaurant, the cooking is communal here and anybody wishing to help can make suggestions and join in. Much in the same collaborative vein, the menu here takes influence from a variety of international cuisines, but the ingredients are always organic and local.
Named after the salted cod specialty that is fundamental to Portuguese cuisine, it’s unsurprising that Bacalhau the restaurant has a great variety of dishes centered around it. Try the cod accompanied by dried fruits or cod served with spinach and chestnuts for a taste of Portugal with a twist. The restaurant’s peaceful location next to the Douro River and reliably friendly staff really add to the experience too.
O Comercial is a sophisticated but laid-back restaurant situated in the city’s stock exchange and a popular destination for businesspeople as well as curious visitors. The polished venue brings together some of the freshest produce in Porto, and enlivens it with modern cooking techniques and trends. The décor is much the same; incorporating traditional Portuguese tiles and historic architecture with sleek seating and ultra-modern accessories.
Its humble exterior and basic décor might not catch your eye, but at Bufete Fase it’s all about the food. There is only one choice on the menu: francesinha, essentially a sandwich, but more of a culinary icon here, with rich layers of ham, sausage, cheese, roast meat and other local delicacies. Bufete Fase’s is, according to locals, one of the best places in the whole city. And who would argue with them?
The guiding principle at O Paparico is that every dish should feature a prominently Portuguese element. Modern techniques or ingredients are only incorporated into the restaurant’s creations if they enhance and don’t detract from the innate Portuguese tastes. The stone-clad walls and white tablecloths create a rustic setting in which to enjoy fresh octopus, tartar and lamb, served without drowning in sauces or excessive seasoning. Every dish here is made for two, though individual portions can also be prepared on request.
As is to be expected from a ‘grill’ restaurant, the menu is dominated by the flavors of the flame, applied to fish and succulent cuts of meat alike. A popular destination for locals at lunchtime, the Grelhador da Boavista greets visitors with a glass display case of the day’s freshest raw offerings, so that you can choose how they are cooked to your own idea of perfection by the restaurant’s skilled chefs.