In a city where the fish are caught fresh each morning and the wine is produced locally, dining out is truly a pleasure. With so many restaurants in Porto specializing in fresh fish and seafood, locally farmed meats and regional delicacies, it can be hard to choose where to dine. So here is our list of the best Porto has to offer.
A must-try dining experience in the heart of Porto, the interior of Camafeu resembles a first-floor apartment, giving guests the impression of dining in a local’s living room. Stark French windows look out over bustling Carlos Alberto Square, and mismatched chairs and tables create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. The dishes here are colorful and inviting, and manage to taste divine without appearing pretentious. To sample some authentic Portuguese home-style cooking, opt for the duck with puréed sweet potato, the grilled octopus, or the pork cheek main courses, and the dessert sampler for afters.
Address & telephone number: Camafeu, Praça Carlos Alberto 83, Porto, Portugal, +351 937 493 557
Perfectly positioned for watching the sun go down, Casa de Pasto da Palmeira boasts a covered outdoor seating area that offers fabulous views out to sea. The chefs here have adapted traditional Portuguese dishes, turning them into tapas-sized portions perfect for sharing with a loved one or a group of friends. The dishes are hearty, Portuguese-style comfort food and are bigger than normal tapas portions, so parties of two are recommended to order just three between them (although no one will blame you for ordering four or five). Waiters are always happy to give customers their recommendations, and the filioque rolls of smoked chicken, the seared tuna with red onions, and the spring rolls filled with local sausage, are always great choices. Casa de Pasto da Palmeira is also well known for its incredible varieties of sangria and the choice of local wines on offer.
Address & telephone number: Casa de Pasto da Palmeira, Rua do Passeio Alegre 450, Porto, Portugal, +351 226 168 244
Ever-popular with sophisticated locals and curious tourists alike, O Comercial is located within the most visited monument in the entire northern part of Portugal, the Palacio da Bolsa. The restaurant itself is extremely spacious but manages to retain an intimate feel, due to the beautiful décor and well-designed layout. Using only the freshest of local ingredients, O Comercial puts on an exquisite spread. Diners can enjoy a three-course lunch complete with water, wine and coffee for just €15, or a set menu dinner for just €20, making this an affordable, as well as a high-quality, restaurant.
One for literature lovers, Book is a bit of a gimmick but it gets away with it, as the food and service are both second-to-none. Set within an old bookstore, the walls are lined with old titles, and both the menu and the bill are brought to the table inside the pages of a book. Each course is referred to by different chapters of a book, and the wine menu is divided into genres, rather than regions. Like most restaurants in Porto, guests can choose to dine al fresco as well as inside, but for the novelty factor, inside is the preferred choice here. Although very popular with couples enjoying romantic dinners, families and groups are also welcome.
Address & telephone number: Book, Rua de Aviz 10, Porto, Portugal, +351 917 953 387
O Paparico must have created its menu with couples in mind, as every dish is made for two to share. The focus here is on national Portuguese dishes cooked the traditional way, with a few modern and innovative twists thrown in to liven things up, such as in the preparation of the cod sushi. Stone-clad walls, crisp white table linens, and burning candles create a relaxed and romantic ambiance in which to enjoy a selection of delicious dishes. Reserve a table for two and tuck into a selection of O Paparico’s most famous specials, such as the veal with a bone marrow sauce, or the monkfish with prawns. A selection of starters awaits diners on arrival at their table, and the list of over 800 great wines is sure to please.
Address & telephone number: O Paparico, Rua de Costa Cabral 2343, Porto, Portugal, +351 22 540 0548
Named after the restaurant’s head chef, Pedro Lemos is one of the most established restaurants in Porto. Specializing in rich Portuguese dishes created using the finest quality ingredients, sourced directly from the producers, this is a restaurant for the true gourmand traveler. For a special occasion, the seven-course feasting menu is the best way to experience the sheer expertise of the chef’s imagination and culinary skills. But for something smaller, and kinder to the wallet, the three-course tasting menu with wine is more than sufficient, and absolutely excellent.