Where to Eat and Drink in Porto
It’s almost unfathomable how many establishments we visited within 48 hours in Porto. My husband and I are primarily food and drink travelers. We rarely appreciate touristy activities or events, and we prefer to eat and drink our way through cities. My personal philosophy is that this is the best way to experience a city in its entirety and to understand its culture and authenticity. We typically do extensive research on The Google (which leads us to namely local bloggers) to gain a good understanding of the food scene and to make a plan of all of the places we’d like to hit. Sometimes we see them all and sometimes we don’t. More often than not, we get talking with locals and they recommend different places. We usually trust them and so we go. Below is a list of my favorite places to eat in drink in Porto. For more about Porto, check out my post about What to See and Do in Porto.
Port Cellars: If you’re hitting the Port Cellars (which you must), I recommend Kopke for value/price, Cruz for rooftop drinks (including a DJ pumpin’ music, port cocktails, and a killer view of Porto with a more party-like atmosphere), and Taylor’s for the “top-of-the-line” experience. More info about Port Cellars can be found HERE.
Bonaparte Baixa: This beautiful bar offers food and drinks. We opted for drinks only, and we each enjoyed a pint of beer by a local brewer called MUSA. The place was gorgeous, the tap selection was decent for Porto, and the service was shit – but that was likely due to one server having a bad day. I’d definitely recommend Bonaparte Baixa for a pre-dinner drink.
Era Uma Vez: Here’s another cool place for pre- or post-dinner drinks. In English, the bar is called “Once Upon a Time”. It’s a neat place, the bartenders are friendly, the cocktails are strong, and there are amazing views of the city from the rooftop terrace.
Catraio Craft Beer Shop: If you’re a craft beer junky, head here. I suggest that Catraio Craft Beer Shop is the best craft beer joint in the city. Mind you, Porto’s craft beer scene leaves something to be desired. However, the bartenders were very friendly and knowledgeable, the tap select quite good (and great choices; mostly local), and over 150 bottles to choose from.
Carmo Brewery: We researched this place and walked by it. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to visit, we’d already had too much beer and decided to call it a night. Determined, we walked back up (yes, everything in Porto seems to be uphill) the next evening to find it closed. We were bummed, but we’ll be sure to hit the brewery next time. Carmo Brewery is a neat looking place, and I wish I could share my experience with their beer!
Nortada Brewery: Nortada brewery has been open since April, 2017. However, they opened their (massive) brewery and restaurant to the public just two days before we stumbled upon it (February 2018). Needless to say, Nortada Brewery is fresh. You can tell they have big plans. The brewery has a store in the front which offers beer for sale, T-Shirts, and other Nortada Brewery souvenirs. The service was impeccable and the beer OK. To be fair, the place is brand new and I think they’ll blossom over time. The restaurant is absolutely huge and apparently it gets a lot of traffic at night time. I’d recommend going here for a pint and a snack in the PM, after 8 PM, to get a real feel for the brewery.
Other places to drink: Due to time constraints, we couldn’t go everywhere we wanted. This is the list for next time:
-Café Candelabro (simple snacks, bookshop, cool space – heavy handed cocktails)
– Letraria Craft beer Garden (craft beer)
-Armazem da Cerveja (again, beer)
– Maus Habitos (live performances
Camafeu: I can’t say enough good about this place. I found this restaurant on various blogs online and for good reason. It’s slightly off the beaten path (but barely), hidden in an inconspicuous apartment building. Below is a relatively popular bar. This isn’t the place. You must climb the stairs to the 1st floor where you find Camafeu, converted from apartment to restaurant. You are seated in what was most likely the living room. It truly feels as if you’re in someone’s home, perfect for an intimate dinner. The service was impeccable, as was the food. I recommend getting a White Port Spritzer to drink. We enjoyed an appetizer and two traditional dishes, all of which I’d recommend: Goat Cheese Raviolis with Pear, Almonds, and Port Wine Reduction (great with the spritzer); Shrimp and Coriander Acorda served in Traditional Bread; and Stewed Monkfish and Shrimp Stew. Amazing. Make reservations in advance. I facebook messaged them a few days before.
Bufete S. Domingos, LDA: We stumbled across this place while trying to eat at Traca (see below in “other restaurants”). Traca was closed and this place was open, so we went, and I’m so glad we did! Their food and service were amazing. The menu is all traditional Portuguese fare at a very reasonable cost. We sat outside and enjoyed the music of an incredibly talented street performer. I recommend trying the fresh cheese and the chorizo (which is cooked at the table) and washing it down with a pint of SuperBock. And a glass of port to finish the meal, of course. This restaurant is also perfect for sitting outside and people watching! It’s rated really low on the interwebs, but when compared to what? You don’t go here for anything fancy; just simple, and delicious food: no BS.
Brasao Cervejaria: If you’re looking for the best Francesinha in town, look no further. I had read online about this place, then asked various locals where the best Francesinha in town was, and without fail, they said Brasao Cervejaria. We e-mailed Brasao Cervejaria approximately 4 hours before we wanted to have dinner, and to our dismay, they told us the first available table would be at 10:30 PM. Fortunately, it turns out they have a second location and they got us the LAST table for two for 7:30 PM. We gladly took it. Both locations of Brasao are absolutely massive and are sure to be full (so make reservations in advance; they’re great over e-mail). There are only a few items on the menu, and all of them are delicious. However, everyone comes for the famous, spicy, saucy, cheesy, meaty Francesinha. We split a sandwich (it’s a lot of food) and shared a Rissol with Minced Meat and Truffle (a type of croquette) as an appetizer. Make sure to wash your meal down with a pint of one of their various beers on tap. Service is good and fast. We were in and out (appetizer included) within 45 minutes. I love this place.
Tescos: Unfortunately, we only learned about Tescos during our last few hours in Porto. Tescos are tiny hole-in-the-wall food joints that may or may not be labeled. Typically, the food is made in a small kitchen, you can expect to pay approximately 3 euros per meal, and cash if the only accepted payment method. I can’t wait to try next time.
Bolhao Market: I mentioned the Bolhao Market in What to See and Do in Porto, but I’m mentioning it again here. It’s not the most amazing market in the world, but definitely worth seeing. There are 3 or 4 little restaurants in the center of the market that are open for lunch (starting at 12:00). Eat here for cheap, authentic, and delicious Portuguese food for lunch. It’s nothing fancy, and that’s the best experience I believe you can have in terms of living like a local.
Manteigaria: They make the best Pastel de Natas (egg custard pastries) in town for sit-down or take-away. Located immediately next to the Bolhao Market.
Other Restaurants: Due to time constraints, we could not eat everywhere we wanted to. For next time, I most want to try the following restaurants:
-ODE Porto Winehouse (more fancy; 75 euros for a tasting menu for 2; 60 euros for a wine pairing for 2)
-Restaurante Cafeina (Portuguese with Italian/French influence; revolving menu; “hip”)
-Traca (Slow food with emphasis on game and old regional recipes)
-Pedro Lemos (Michelin Star restaurant; very popular and very traditional)
-Grelhador da Boavista (grill restaurant, specializing in fish – popular with locals; lunch spot)
Okay, that’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any other food and/or drink recommendations for Porto, I’d love to hear them. We are definitely going back to Porto, and I’d love to try a variety of new restaurants on our next trip!