Porto is foodie heaven, and if offered the chance to live here, I wouldn’t give it a moments thought. Within the hour, you can go from drinking some of the best Port in the world from a glamorous rooftop bar in Gaia, then retiring to your hotel balcony and watching a local man wandering the streets, feeding fish to the stray cats. Elegant and charming, this city also has a large, generous heart.
This restaurant was recommended to us by a local Portuense. It is a large, grandeur building with an inside outside bar adjacent to the main dining area. This was meant to be our big splurge meal, racking up the euros but two three course meals paired with green wine, white wine and local port turned out to be extremely affordable. The complimentary bread (sourdough and focaccia) was paired with various flavoured butter including truffle and the more daring coffee butter, which I can safely say I had never tried before! We sampled the oven baked cod, grilled chicken and lemon tart – all of which oozed with class and flavour. The portion sizes were very large, giving me the biggest food baby I’ve ever had, seriously! Post meal we sat in the bar and sampled another two glasses of port, one tawny, and the other a ruby, and got lost in the dreamy, acoustic live music.
daTerra Baixa –
This was another place recommended to us by a local. So eager to try out Porto vegetarian and vegan food, we actually arrived 40 minutes before the opening time. Peering into the windows of the place, it was a large, white, modern cafe lined hanging greenery in the windows. Once inside we were met a buffet style of super instagramable food, each plate so different from the others. Typical English tourists that we are, we loaded our plates to bursting with something from every platter (only noticing later that the locals did not do this… see my picture above!!). The chefs and waitresses were continually bringing new dishes to the serving area, long after we’d stuffed ourselves on delicious food. Its always a thrill when vegetables are given the stage they deserve and this place does it to perfection. I implore you to visit here if you love an abundance of fresh, tantalising veggie and vegan food.
We stumbled across this place on our first night fuelled by travel hunger (I think I was drawn to it by the name… are the laws different here in Portugal???). We were just looking for a place to eat dinner, but LSD far exceeded our expectations. It seems to be, that all chefs in Porto are magicians and expertly balance every flavour combination that is presented on your plate. We feasted on seared ahi tuna drizzled in passion fruit coulee and seeds, squid ink risotto, butternut squash puree, gorgeous grilled octopus and succulent chicken breast, oh – and our first glass of Port!
Cantinho de Avillez –
Sometimes I can be a Michelin star whore, and actively seek them out in a new city (I love tasting the best flavours of new chefs, especially in different countries). We were served by a very smiley waiter, who we later realised was one of Portugal’s top chefs – Jose Avillez… after a number of our other diners took selfies with him! This restaurant offered a playful, modern spin on classic Portuense food in a canteen style. We tried the crumb coated scallops and foam cheesecake. This was the perfect last meal to say goodbye to our foodie heaven holiday destination.
No time for a three course meal?
Pick up the local delicacy Pastel de Nata/pastéis de nata and gush over this creamy, custard tart. Or alternatively, a delicious pumpkin and almond croissant (a pastry I adored so much, I have made several times at home since my trip, and has been a hit with friends and family) that was available in multiple cafe’s over Porto.