Ultimate Food Guide to Porto: What to eat in Porto & Where
Portuguese food is well known for its rich and diverse flavors, ranging from seafood dishes, such as codfish and sardines, to meat dishes such as Cozido à Portuguesa, the famous Feijoada à Transmontana, or even Caldo Verde, the soup that everyone loves.
In northern Portugal, on the estuary of the river Douro, stands one of oldest European centers, Porto or Oporto how it’s known to locals.
The region is known for its rich cuisine, including several local dishes such as Francesinha, a sandwich with several different meats topped with cheese and a three-color sauce. Other popular dishes include Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, Tripas à Moda do Porto, and Rojões. The summer time, particularly during the São João holiday, is the time to enjoy the famous Sardinhas Grelhadas.
Let’s take a look at some of these famous appetizers, main courses, and desserts that you really shouldn’t miss out on.
Best Appetizers to Sample in Porto
1. Bolinhos de Bacalhau
Bolinhos de bacalhau, or codfish cakes, are a typical Portuguese appetizer. They are small cakes made with shredded cod, boiled potatoes, chopped onion, garlic, and parsley.
The mixture is fried in hot oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside. It is commonly served as an appetizer in bars and restaurants along side a glass of beer or wine and is one of the most popular snacks in Portugal.
The best places to find Bolinhos de Bacalhau in Porto:
Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau: At Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, classically inspired architectural elements are combined with an exhibition of works of art that make the tasting experience even more pleasant. And you can watch the codfish cakes being made.
Adega São Nicolau: Adega São Nicolau is a typical Portuguese restaurant where you can enjoy typical Portuguese food in a wonderful environment, immersing you in what sets us apart: good food, good wine, and a cozy atmosphere.
2. Caldo Verde
Caldo Verde, or green broth, has its origin in the northern region of Portugal and has won fame in other countries thanks to its well-known flavor. This soup is made with cabbage, a typical vegetable of the region. The cabbage is cut into very thin strips and cooked with sliced, smoked sausage if you fancy. If not, then you will have the perfect vegetarian meal.
Back in September 2011, this soup was elected one of the Seven Gastronomic Wonders of Portugal.
The best places to find Caldo Verde in Porto:
A Casa Guedes: Casa Guedes is a traditional Portuguese restaurant with a menu of various typical foods, the highlights being Francesinha, Pernil de Porco Assado (roasted pork shank), and Caldo Verde. This restaurant opened for business in 1987, and has grown in success ever since.
Casa Ferreira: The main feature of Casa Ferreira is definitely Portuguese cuisine. One of the most famous dishes is their Caldo Verde, along with other meat and fish dishes. It has a long history in the city, and stands on a very respectable street, Breiner Street.
3. Sandes de Pernil de Porco Assado
This famous sandwich consists of bread stuffed with slow-roasted pork shank, roast pork sauce, and Serra da Estrela cheese to finish. It is absolutely delicious and a favorite locals and tourists alike.
The best places to find this sandwich in Porto:
Casa Guedes: Casa Guedes, again, which is famed for this sandwich. Casa Guedes was originally a small tavern located in Praça dos Poveiros near the city center. Eventually, the restaurant expanded and opened a larger establishment near the original restaurant. If you spend any time in Oporto, you simply have to eat at this culinary landmark.
Lareira: Lareira restaurant has over 30 years of history and is without a doubt a place to visit, not only for its incredible cuisine but also for its location, Carlos Alberto square, very close to the city center.
Main Courses to Try Out in Porto
Main courses in Portugal are varied and rich. Seafood such as cod and sardines often feature, but meat dishes take pride of place too. Let’s have a closer look at this gastronomic experience.
4. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
Just as in most Portuguese dishes, Porto’s cuisine involves a lot of fish, especially cod. One special recipe that originated in the city of Porto spread in popularity across the country: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, or Gomes de Sá.
As well as cod, this dish is prepared with eggs, potatoes, onions, and black olives. Some restaurants replace the cod with leeks, turning it into a vegetarian dish.
The best places to eat Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá in Oporto:
Abadia do Porto: Founded in 1939, the restaurant Abadia do Oporto is located in the historical area of Oporto city. It is said to be named after the abbey where pilgrims from Santiago de Compostela rested, slept and ate before continuing on their pilgrimage.
Café Santiago: Founded in 1959, Café Santiago has seen several generations, and several remarkable moments in Portugal’s recent history. If you like history and good food, this is a place you cannot miss.
5. Feijoada à Transmontana
This traditional dish originated in the North of Portugal, more precisely in Trás-os-Montes. It is very popular for weekend meals when the family get together.
The red beans are cooked with chorizo, morcela (Portuguese blood sausage), pork ribs and bacon, together with cabbage, carrots and various spices. White rice is often served as a side dish. The dish can be adapted for vegetarians, simply by leaving out the meat.
The best places to eat Feijoada à Transmontana in Porto:
O Buraco: This restaurant, right in the center of the city, will allow you to enjoy the cuisine while immersed in the culture that so defines this city.
O Nordeste Transmontano: Slightly further away from the city center, but easily accessible by Metro do Porto, this restaurant has a whole tradition of good cuisine.
Don’t be fooled. Although this may look like an appetizer, as a rule, if you eat one, you will always end up eating two or three: or even more. Bifanas is typical of Portuguese cuisine, consisting of a sandwich stuffed with pork, seasoned with wine sauce and spices, and usually served inside a loaf of bread.
The best place to eat Bifanas in Porto:
Conga: Although there are lots of places to eat one of these sandwiches, the best-known place in the whole of the city is Conga. This restaurant has served the best bifanas in the city from the same location for years.
7. Tripas à Moda do Porto
Tripas à Moda do Porto is a typical dish of Portuguese cuisine that originated in the city of Oporto. It is made with boiled tripe (from the pig) and seasoned with several different ingredients, such as red beans, pork sausage, onions, garlic, and peppers.
The best places to eat Tripas à Moda do Porto, in Porto:
A Cozinha do Manel: A Cozinha do Manel, located in Oporto, is a traditional restaurant that houses two wood-fired ovens. The space is divided into two areas: the entrance room, with a counter, and, up a level, a spacious, well-lit room with tile panels and well-arranged tables.
A series of books, graffiti, collections of wine bottles, and photographs of famous people who have passed through here decorate this space.
Abadia do Porto: this restaurant is not only famous for its Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (see above). It is also the place to try this delicious tripe dish.
This is a dish that fuses Portuguese and French cuisine. It all was created in the 1950s by a Portuguese emigrant returning from France who wanted to celebrate the two countries. And that is how this meal was born.
This hot sandwich is a flatbread stuffed with fresh sausage, ham, and beef steak, and topped with melted cheese. Once assembled, it is baked in the oven so it is au gratin and is served with a special sauce based on tomato, beer, and hot sauce.
Francesinha is very popular with people from Oporto and with visitors to the city. Today there are many variations and adaptations of the original recipe, but the secret of the Francesinha’s success remains the perfect combination of flavors that make it a unique and irresistible dish.
The best places to eat Francesinha in Porto:
Cervejaria Brasão: Looking at Avenida dos Aliados, Cervejaria Brasão has a rustic atmosphere with a retro, half-lit ambiance. It is a comfortable and uncomplicated place where you can enjoy a wide and personalized offering of craft beers, Francesinhas, snacks, and steaks.
Taberna Londrina Porto: This tavern with a relaxed atmosphere and modern decor serves up artisanal cuisine with burgers, hot dogs, Francesinhas, and northern-style snacks. It opened for business in September 2019.
Some Portuguese desserts You Don’t Want to Miss in Porto
The Portuguese love to follow their meal with a dessert. Below are two famous Portuguese desserts that are an absolute must when you visit Porto.
9. Pásteis de Nata
Pastéis de Nata, or custard tart, is a typical Portuguese pastry consisting of small crispy puff pastry tarts filled with a soft cream of eggs, sugar, milk, and flour.
They are traditionally served warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and accompanied by an espresso. They are also one of the best-known and most appreciated Portuguese sweets in the world.
The best places to eat Pásteis de Nata in Porto:
Manteigaria: When you visit Manteigaria, you can watch up close the whole process: from dough preparation, kneading and molding, the cream, and the oven. You will absolutely love it.
Fábrica da Nata: This store, located on one of the most famous streets of the city, Rua de Santa Catarina, offers a beautiful and refined space to enjoy its Pastéis de Nata while soaking up the live music played nearby.
10. Papo de Anjo
Papo de Anjo is a traditional Portuguese dessert made with beaten egg yolks, boiled and simmered in sugar syrup.
Like other traditional Portuguese sweets based on egg yolks, this dessert is thought to have been created by Portuguese nuns around the 14th or 15th century. The laundry operations, part of the convent’s daily life, required a large number of egg whites for ironing the monastic garments and habits, generating a large surplus of yolks.
The best places to eat Papo de Anjo in Porto:
Confeitaria Restaurante Primar: In this space, which is not only a restaurant but also a confectionery store, you will find the best Papos de Anjo in the whole city. Usually always fresh and with loads of flavor. It is an authentic gastronomic experience that you can’t miss
All these dishes, the appetizers, main courses, and desserts, are a small sample of how rich and diverse Portuguese cuisine is, and the fact that it has hundreds of years of tradition. Don’t miss the opportunity to come and taste for yourself what the city has to offer: its love of food.