The food in Porto is wonderfully varied and you can find restaurants in every price range. It is always worthwhile to go to the side streets and take a look at the small restaurants.
For us, it always takes some getting used to that in many countries and cities the restaurants are open at lunchtime and then again later in the evening. For us, this always means a complete change in the eating rhythm and in the first few days we often wander around looking for an open restaurant. In Porto it is possible to find open restaurants in the touristy streets, but the prices are often higher and so we like to look for something off the main streets. This is not always successful, but more and more often and we have enjoyed great food in Porto.
World Of Wine – PIP Restaurant
After a wonderful visit to one of the museums in the WOW, we were drawn to one of the many restaurants in the complex.
The PIP is a family restaurant that also offers food after lunchtime. Although not the full menu, but still a good selection.
I ordered a pizza there and Patrick a pizza calzone, which were priced a bit higher than in a German pizzeria. However, since the restaurant is part of a cultural complex, the pricing is similar to museum restaurants, for example.
I was then very surprised when the pizza was brought. It was big, much bigger than I had expected. And thus the price was more than justified. Of course, it also tasted good. The base had the right thickness for my wishes and there were enough toppings on the pizza.
For me, a restaurant in Porto, which I gladly recommend.
Rua do Choupelo 132,
4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Near our accommodation we discovered the PAJÚ. The small restaurant opens only in the evening hours and is always very well attended. We were there shortly after opening and got the last unreserved table. Which is not surprising, there are only 6 or 7 tables. So who wants to eat well here in Porto, definitely reserve in advance!
But before we could even get into the restaurant, we were faced with closed doors. Not that we were too early. There were people sitting at the tables, the boss was working and serving drinks. Still, the door was locked.
Fortunately, the restaurant owner became aware of us. He made it clear to us that you have to ring the bell to get into the restaurant. Now we know, and next time we visit, we will use the bell to draw attention to ourselves.
Even if the menu offers a good selection, here the guests seem to eat only Francesinha.
What is Francesinha?
Francesinhas is a Portuguese sandwich that originates from Porto. It is “the” food in Porto that you should not miss.
Actually, it is quite simple. Toast, cooked ham, a chourico type sausage and beefsteak or roasted beef are layered on top of each other. On top comes melted cheese and often a fried egg. The real secret of the dish is the sauce. Usually this consists of tomatoes, beer, mustard and the family secret. This sauce cooks for hours until it has a thick consistency.
Francesinha at PAJÚ
A francesinha doesn’t look very tasty when it’s on the table. And it’s not particularly easy to eat either, because the layers of toast keep shifting as you slice. But it tastes just yummy! Whereas I have to admit in all honesty, the sauce is the absolute highlight. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what it tasted like. Definitely very spicy with some heat to it. We asked the Junior Chef if he would tell us the composition or ingredients. Unfortunately, even he hasn’t been privy to the family recipe yet. His father always cooks the sauce on his own.
So if you have the chance to eat a Francesinha in Porto, you should do it in a local restaurant if possible and then enjoy it with all your senses!
R. de Faria Guimarães 309,
4000-203 Porto, Portugal
A Fábrica da Picaria
Actually, we had only gone to the Fábrica to drink the craft beer there. But a look at the neighboring tables quickly showed us that we absolutely had to eat something here, too.
Patrick decided on the “Porto Burger”. It turned out to be a wonderful still slightly bloody piece of beef. This was topped with cheese and topped with a fried egg. Surrounding the meat were crunchy slightly salty potato chips. Quite a large portion, which was convincing in terms of taste.
I really wanted to have a comparison to the Francesinha at PAJÚ and ordered a Francesinha again here. The layered sandwich was the same, but the sauce was different. Color-wise, it was a bit lighter and it didn’t taste quite as spicy. I also found it to be a little less spicy, perhaps something for the more sensitive palate. I also liked the dish in this restaurant.
Rua da Picaria 72,
4050-477 Porto, Portugal
O Forninho Da Afurada – traditional fish eating in Porto
Besides the Francesinhas, fish is one of the most popular dishes in Porto. Of course, this is best eaten directly on the coast.
We arrived in Afurada (almost a suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia) after a somewhat longer walk along the Douro. In the small streets of the town there are numerous restaurants, so it was difficult to decide where we could eat the typical sardine dish of the region.
We finally decided on O Forninho da Afurada. This had two very simple reasons: the seats in front of the restaurant were still in the sun and the fish in the refrigerated counter looked very fresh.
We ordered a large portion of sardines, which were freshly grilled for us over an open fire. I have rarely eaten such good tasting fish: barely seasoned a natural flavor and wonderfully juicy meat. It was so good that I insisted on eating there again on the last day of our stay. This time I had the small portion of sardines, while Patrick ordered a large fish of his own with vegetables and potatoes. What kind of fish it was I have unfortunately forgotten, I only remember that this dish was also excellently prepared.
Price-wise, I felt the food was very good for the quality and quantity we got.
R. Vasco da Gama 233,
4400-603 São Pedro da Afurada, Portugal
Alvares Brewery Co. Taproom Porto
We got typical food for a taproom at Alvares. Here we had mainly burgers, which as we all know always taste good with a good craft beer.
Here the burgers were good, but nothing special. However, I was surprised about the price. Although the beer was expensive by Portuguese standards, we only paid 25,-€ for 2 beers and 2 burgers.
Rua do Almada 383,
4000-303 Porto, Portugal
Musa das Virtudes
Very different food awaited us at the Musa Brewery Taproom. Here, the food is prepared by the chef in the middle of the guest room on a super small stove. This can make it take a little longer, because here one order is processed after the next. So it also happens that when two dishes are ordered, one meal arrives first and then the preparation of the next meal is started.
Instead, the food was just wow! First we ate actually very simple Fried Potatos with a feta dip. Whereby I have to take back the phrase “simple”. I’ve never eaten such well-seasoned, crispy potato wedges and the dip was sensationally flavored. The highlight, however, was the second dish – an Octopus Hot Dog. Inside a bun, instead of the hot dog sausage, was an octopus arm. Here, the chef succeeded in ensuring that the octopus was cooked to perfection. Too often I have had octopus before and the meat was rubbery. Here the meat was wonderfully tender, well seasoned could be eaten super.
I honestly did not expect such a good quality and unusual food in a taproom.
Passeio das Virtudes 28,
4050-629 Porto, Portugal
7g Roaster Apartments & Restaurant
After a visit to the museum with lots of wine, we still had to fill our stomachs with something hearty. In Vila Nova de Gaia, there are some restaurants that are located in small narrow streets and are not quite as noticed by visitors to the city. The 7g Roaster is definitely one of the more unknown restaurants. It is not only located in a narrow alley, but also somewhat offset in a small courtyard.
Some large tables and benches stand in a store that actually looks more like a café and less like a restaurant. Here you can buy coffee machines and freshly roasted coffee. Even at the counter, it looks more like you can only order coffee here. A look at the menu, however, reveals that there is also something to eat here. Not the big culinary dishes, but solid little things that were just what we needed.
For us, we had nachos and a wrap that day. Simple and always good.
R. de França 52,
4400-174 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Mercado da Foz do Douro
In the Foz district of Porto, we passed the Mercado das Foz do Douro during a walk. Markets and market halls are always interesting and often reveal so much about the culture and habits of the people. So we went to the small market hall where small stores and restaurants attracted visitors.
We decided to try one of the fish restaurants. Ordering proved to be a bit difficult. Here they spoke no English and even pointing to the menu was apparently not meaningful enough.
We ordered fried squid, which was also quite quickly on the table. However, we were somewhat surprised by the mayonnaise and the very spicy and good tasting tomato salca, which was also put on the table for us. But, we thought, maybe that’s how they eat the squid there. The combination tasted actually not bad only very unusual. The squid itself was fantastically good. Very fresh and hardly seasoned, it tasted incredibly natural.
As soon as we were done, they put another plate on the table. A large portion of fries with fried ham and a fried egg. Now it was clear what the dips were meant for. We hadn’t ordered that, but we weren’t so sure if it might have gone with the squid. And since we were still a bit hungry, we gladly ate the portion, even if fries with fried egg is a very unusual combination for us.
We enjoyed it there and would definitely make a second attempt to enjoy the food there in Porto.
Rua de Diu 4150,
4150-276 Porto, Portugal
Bakery Grupo Celeste
In Porto, you can get not only bread, rolls and cakes in most bakeries, you can also often eat something hot there. Mostly it is baked sandwiches or dumplings, sometimes also pizza or even whole menus.
We went to the bakery around the corner one evening and ordered the family pizza. We were looked at a little surprised, two people are apparently not a family.
When the pizza was steaming and smelling good on the table, we knew why the saleswoman was so amazed. What a huge pizza! It was super topped, had a great dough and tasted great. And – it was way too big for us! We even packed one part and ate it later.
Rua da Lapa 48,
A dish that is typical for Portugal and the Porto region, we did not want to miss. The stockfish or Bacalhau you get in the supermarkets in large dried pieces, which often smell very strong. Actually, I had intended to prepare this fish myself. Honestly, the smell in the store and the thought that our apartment would then also smell like that kept me away.
We decided for the Varinante restaurant and went completely against our habits in the middle of the tourist hotspot on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia in a restaurant. The Bacalhoeiro serves only dishes with bacalhau. It was so crowded even at the end of lunch time that we had to wait a while for a free table.
Since none of the dishes even remotely says something to us and the description was not much more meaningful, we ordered once again on the off chance. The decision fell on Bacalhau à Portuguesa and Bacalhau à Brás.
My dish was similar to a risotto with fish chowder. Super chocolaty and good. I would have liked maybe a little more spices, but then you would not have tasted the fish so present.
The food was good in this restaurant. However, I missed the cordiality and the “local” feeling. Here, one tourist sat next to the next and a bit I felt as if one was served quickly so that the table is free again quickly.
Av. de Diogo Leite 74,
4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Mercado Bom Sucesso – varied food in Porto
The Mercado Bom Sucesso is one of the most famous markets in the city. In the large hall there is a small restaurant next to the next restaurant. Between them are tables that are always very full, especially at lunchtime and in the evening.
If you want to eat here, you are spoiled for choice – international, local, sweet, savory, beer, wine,… The nice thing is, you choose your food at one stand, the dessert at another stand and the drink at the third stand. Then you sit or stand wherever there is room and enjoy. A tip from us: There is a second level, which you can reach via a staircase. There it is much emptier and you can look from above on the hustle and bustle in the hall.
We had actually gone to the hall to drink beer. However, I first needed a small foundation in the Mage and bought empanadas at one of the stands. The “set of four” I could put together at will and have tried from fish to meat to vegetarian crosswise Beet. The dumplings were hot, well filled and very tasty. I was already so full after three empanadas that Patrick was happy about the “rest”.
Praça do Bom Sucesso 74-90,
4150-145 Porto, Portugal