10 Great Restaurants In Porto Alegre, Brazil

Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre | © Felipe Valduga
Vincent JS Wood

Eating out in Porto Alegre is an extraordinary, multicultural experience. The name of the city translates from Portuguese as ‘happy harbour’and, as the largest city of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande Do Sul, there is no shortage of international influence drifting into the port every day. We explore Porto Alegre’s multifaceted dining scene and take a tour of its 10 must-try restaurants, from Brazilian churrascarias to Indian and Arab treats.

Image courtesy of Restaurante Gambrinus

1. Baalbek

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Opened in 1981 by a Lebanese family, Baalbek presents authentic Arab tastes to the Brazilian public through long-held family recipes and traditions. Dishes hold true to their origin as best as possible but with slight alterations to accommodate the Brazilian palate. The first Arab restaurant to open in the city, Baalbek has over 25 years of experience within its walls and serves most of its dishes with the traditional Arab bread khoubiz. Specialising in baked goods using this bread, the restaurant brings the Middle East to South America with flavour and panache.

2. Sharin

Restaurant, Indian

Sharin, Porto Alegre
© Ricardo André Frantz / WikiCommons
An Indian restaurant which serves up dishes honest to their country of origin, Sharin presents the best in Asian cuisine in the traditional surroundings of the subcontinent. A mainstay of Porto Alegre for over a decade now, many of the specialty dishes on its menu are cooked in their own tandoor oven bringing a complete level of authenticity to each meal. Tandoori duck and Bollywood prawns are two such dishes that conjure up images of India and, rightfully so, hold major sway on the menu. Not just content with the dishes of one select area, Sharin presents food from both North and South India to offer a comprehensive taste of the country as a whole.

4. Boteco Natalício

Bar, Brazilian, Wine, Beer

A tremendously quirky open-air bar spread over two levels, the Boteco Natalício finds itself adorned with many an amusing or philosophical rumination from comedians and local patrons alike. Delicacies of the region, such as honey-smoked pork ribs and crunchy shrimp sandwiches with catupiry cheese, drift sumptuously from the kitchen to the tables whilst customers sample the local chope (draught beer) available. A little like the pubs and bars of Britain or America but with that distinctive Latin atmosphere atmosphere, combined with the flowing beer, sees Boteco Natalicio mark itself out as one of the city’s bustling night spots.

5. Restaurante Gambrinus

Restaurant, Seafood, Brazilian, Portuguese

Restaurante Gambrinus, Porto Alegre
Image courtesy of Restaurante Gambrinus © Carmen Gamba
Fittingly situated right by the harbour side, the Portuguese restaurant Gambrinus brings an old world charm to the city with its range of seafood and steaks, and European cooking in the heart of Brazil. Dishes like fillet of sole and conger eel sauce bring the flavours of the seafaring nation to life, and delicacies such as salmon fillet with capers and shrimp dishes elevate Gambrinus to a level of sophistication. Grand overarching doorways and chandeliers hint at a grand, historical context and the restaurant itself is the oldest active restaurants in the city, having been open since 1889.

6. Chez Philippe

Restaurant, French

Chez Philippe, Porto Alegre
© Eurivan Barbosa / WikiCommons
French cuisine has long been lauded as the height of sophistication and elegance. Chez Philippe sets out to prove this by providing the best of French gastronomy to the diners of Porto Alegre. French classics spill forth from the menu, with confit de canard and crème brûlée taking up prominent positions. There’s not just the suave interior finery to dine in but patrons can also enjoy the much-loved tradition of al fresco dining within the restaurant’s well tended gardens, which also offer a refined dining space with tasteful lighting.

7. Mulligan Irish Pub

Pub, Irish

Bringing Irish drinking culture to Brazil, Mulligan Irish pub does this and in a big way with over 100 beers to choose from. The food menu also follows this theme with Eire classics such as the Irish breakfast or a selection of boxty (Irish potato pancakes), some of which take into account local tastes such as the meaty boxty carne de panela, next to fare more closely associated with the area like torta de sorvete. For those wanting to try something closer to Irish cuisine than Brazilian, the Boxty Gaelic is a house favourite that sees a potato pancake served up with meat in a whisky and mushroom sauce.

8. Tudo Pelo Social

Tudo Pelo Social

To look at, the Tudo Pelo Social would not seem an instant draw to many, in effect just being a large, open dining hall, but glance around and it’s hard not to notice how crowded the establishment is. The basic presentation is in keeping with the rice dishes and grills it serves but they are dished up in gargantuan portions at absolutely minimal prices. Fine dining this most certainly is not, but by offering up these simple, classic staples, the Tudo Pelo Social offers a real taste of Brazil without a romanticised façade put up for the tourists, and is one of the most authentic culinary establishments in Porto Alegre.

Tudo Pelo Social, Rua João Alfredo, 448, Cidade Baixa, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, +55 51 3226 4405

9. Bonobo

Cafe, Restaurant, Vegan

Porto Alegre
© Coletivo Bonobo

A vegan restaurant that breathes sustainability and environmentalism, Bonobo serves all sorts of treats for the eco-conscious consumer from small snacks like vegan cookies and brownies served with sorbet to a full-blown lunch menu that boasts toasted sandwiches, veggie burgers and burritos. All the dishes here are prepared with exclusively organic ingredients, while drinks such as shakes and hot chocolate made with almond milk provide specialty refreshment. Beyond dining, there is also a library with a wealth of vegan cookbooks that can be perused, so that customers can try their own hand at cooking up some of the treats they’ve been served at Bonobo.

10. Koh Pee Pee

Koh Pee Pee

Serving generous portions of authentic Thai food, Koh Pee Pee serves up some of the finest Asian cuisine in Porto Alegre. With main dishes ranked by the level of spice they have, there is fair warning on the menu to those who prefer mild tastes as opposed to the hotter dishes. For those who know how to handle their spice, the green curry with shrimps may well suit their palate. Profoundly Thai in both presentation and ambience, the décor takes from royal Thai themes and offers up luxurious surroundings to dine in.

Koh Pee Pee, Rua Schiller 83, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, +55 51 3333 5150

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