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Porto is full of restaurants and bars and this makes it difficult to choose where to go. I always spend some time before my trips looking which are good and when at a destination I will ask the locals for more input. In this article I will let you know the gems in Porto which I visited while in Porto for 3 nights during a road trip recently. Enjoy these hotspots, in random order, for lunch or dinner.
Porto Hotspot – ODE Porto Wine House
The ODE Porto Wine House is a real gem. With just about 15 tables a reservation is required (tel. +351 913 200 010). This was a challenge but the concierge of the Intercontinental Porto was able to get seats just next to the open kitchen. I went with my son and daughter (10 and 13 years). It was funny when the owner entered and saw them eating in style; we got compliments 🙂 * proud dad *. This restaurant is located very close to the Douro River (at Largo de Terreiro 7) in a building where you can see remains of centuries ago. Old stone walls, wooden beams, the open kitchen and the small rooms make the atmosphere very cozy. Their wine list is extensive and so is the port list. As I was the only adult I was unable to really order bottles of wine so I just could taste various open wines by the glass. Their dishes are of local Portuguese origin presented in a modern way. The ingredients come from local suppliers throughout Portugal. I had a great five course dinner at ODE Porto Wine House. Iberian smoked ham with a local Portuguese cheese with various breads and olives. Grilled octopus and a delicious tender steak. As dessert I took the surprise; this is really awesome. I’m not going to say what, but do try it! ODE Porto Wine House a restaurant I can recommend everyone to go for dinner if you like fine dining.
PORTUGAL – Lisbon to Porto: The perfect Portugal itinerary for 7-10 days
Porto Hotspot – Francesinha at Brasão Cervejaria
A trip to Porto is no trip without tasting the local delicacy called Francesinha. It’s a sandwich which is a perfect, but way to big, choice for lunch. If you are not a big eater then take a half one. The best place in Porto to taste this dish is at Brasão Cervejaria. The restaurant is located at R. de Ramalho Ortigão 28 (tel. +351 934 158 672) just a few meters off the Liberty Square. So what is a Francesinha? It’s a sandwich with origins about half a century ago and its secret is the sauce. The dish is made with bread, ham, sausages and steak. It’s then covered with cheese and the sauce which is made normally out of tomato and beer. Heated in the oven and served with French fries and an optional egg on top. At the Brasão Cervejaria restaurant they simply have the best Francesinha’s. If you want to taste this delicious Portuguese dish then do it there. It’s just a 5 minute walk from the Torre dos Clérigos.
Porto Hotspot – Livraria Lello
One place to go for a morning or afternoon coffee is in one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world: Livraria Lello. This bookstore is said to be an inspiration for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. She wrote parts of the Harry Potter books there. She did this when teaching English in Porto. At the second floor you can have a coffee at the place she would have been sitting too. It’s a beautiful Art Nouveaux room with the neo-Gothic details. This makes this place unique in the world. History dates back to the opening in 1906. It’s the place to go for a coffee and in the same time take in the beauty of the Livraria Lello.
Porto Hotspot – Astoria Restaurant
The restaurant Astoria is located in the former café with the same name. In 2011 it was integrated in the Intercontinental Hotel Palacio das Cardosas. I stayed at the hotel and the first night when I arrived late I decided to have dinner here. It’s not a typical hotel restaurant, it’s just integrated but perfect to go for anyone. It’s on the corner of the Liberty Square just opposite the train station (Praca da Liberdade 25, tel. +351 220 035 600). The decor of the Astoria restaurant is elegant but still relaxed. To start I took a very dry white Port. In Porto I can’t take a champagne, I just need to taste the Ports. The amuse was a salmon tartar; how do they know what I like? On the menu was foie gras fried in Port; a variety I never had before. If there is foie gras on the menu and I didn’t have it that same day already at lunch, I cannot resist to not take it. As a main course I took the fillet which arrived to the table perfectly cooked medium rare. My family who joined me was full but I had to go for the Portuguese cheese platter. It was huge, but with very interesting local cheeses. All their ingredients are from local farmers and suppliers. Every course came with a perfectly paired wine or port. It was pretty late already so I didn’t take coffee but did taste two more kinds of red port. If you like fine dining, local dishes made with local ingredients, then I can highly recommend going to the Astoria restaurant.
Porto Hotspot – Fish at 5 Oceanos
After two nights of steaks it was time to taste the fresh fish from the Atlantic Ocean. The best place to go is 5 Oceanos, a 20 minute taxi ride out of Porto center. Located at R. Heróis de França 689 which is in Matosinhos (tel. +351 22 937 2941). It’s worth the short drive! They serve fresh fish and other sea food. You can choose from the trolley the catch of the day and they will prepare it as you like. I was with my family so for the four of us we choose two different fish; grilled with some rice and vegetables. As a starter we took grilled octopus carpaccio. Everything was accompanied with a beautiful white wine. I’m not the biggest fish lover, but the quality of the fish was really good. Good taste and perfectly prepared. Funny thing about the restaurant is that from the restrooms you can look through the aquariums into the restaurant, but the people cannot see you 😉 If you like fish, then take the 20 minute ride to 5 Oceanos; it’s worth it.
PORTUGAL – Lisbon to Porto: The perfect Portugal itinerary for 7-10 days
Porto Hotspot – Majestic Café
Majestic Café has it all: Live piano music, beautiful art nouveaux decorations, friendly staff and just a great atmosphere. You must go here for a coffee and/or lunch if you are in Porto. The Majestic Café is located in a pedestrian street at Rua Santa Catarina 112 (tel. +351 222 003 887). It opened its doors in 1921 and had lots of famous visitors and continues to serve more. If you are enjoying your coffee you don’t need your mobile phone: look around you! Admire the art, watch people talk, make your own real life conversation or just think about your life and dream away. The Majestic Café is a place I recommend to visit for coffee or lunch. It’s all the details together that make it a magical place.
If you go to Porto I can recommend the above places. Beautiful decorated establishments, fine food and the prices are affordable. If you have been to one, please share your comments below! Oh, one last dish: smoked sausage. Try it at one of the many terraces Porto is rich of. Enjoy reading my stories about Porto and my 7-10 days Portugal itinerary to see what I did more in Portugal. For now: bon appetite.
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Did you visit Porto too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!