The 34 Essential Porto Restaurants

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A historic square is packed with diners eating under umbrellas in Porto
Diners in the old town of Porto
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A marisqueira serving blue lobster with brothy rice, a neighborhood tasca offering pork sandwiches, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant serving Portuguese classics by the sea, and more of Porto’s best meals

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Diners in the old town of Porto
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For many tourists, a trip to Portugal begins and ends in Lisbon, but it would be a mistake for hungry travelers to overlook Porto, the capital’s food-loving cousin to the north. The city is known for its enthusiastic eaters and prime location between the Atlantic, Douro River, and mountainous countryside, all providing abundant ingredients both from land and sea. Residents are nicknamed Tripeiros after Porto-style tripe, which comes in a rich stew of beans, sausages, and vegetables. But the city’s most famous dish is francesinha, a humongous sandwich with layers of sausage, ham, steak, and melted cheese — sometimes with a fried egg to top it all off. During summertime, grilled fish, fried octopus filet with rice, and many glasses of wine (Portuguese drinks consume the most wine in the world per capita) are the excuses to gather friends and family around the al fresco table to enjoy prized recipes passed down for generations.

The city has excitedly welcomed visitors from around the world, spurring new natural wine bars, fancy cocktail bars, and bakeries at every corner. At the same time Porto has maintained a remarkable connection to its gastronomic heritage, making it feel increasingly cosmopolitan without losing its provincial essence. Between the city’s seafood-focused marisqueiras, neighborhood tascas (casual places for a snack or an affordable meal), and contemporary restaurants mixing modern touches with traditional ingredients and techniques, finding a great meal couldn’t be easier.

Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer living between Brazil and Portugal. He is the author of the book The Food Revolutions.

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In a stunning house designed by local Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Álvaro Siza, Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Boa Nova Tea House) provides dramatic ocean views with waves crashing against the rocks below. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by acclaimed chef Rui Paula, serves traditional Portuguese dishes, many highlighting local seafood and fish, as well as a vegetarian menu featuring local potatoes, fava beans, and greens.

A pioneer in the vegetarian scene in Portugal, this modern restaurant in Leça da Palmeira has become a national reference. Built only with natural elements (wood, burnt cement, and marble), it could inspire an entire Pinterest board. Chef Nuno Castro serves meatless recipes blending familiar flavors with contemporary flair. Look for the restaurant’s take on caldeirada, the famous Portuguese seafood soup, the vegetable gazpacho with rosemary and olive focaccia, or the steamed buns with breaded mushrooms and kimchi.

The Mercado de Matosinhos supplies the region’s restaurants with the freshest fish: mackerel, sardines, tuna, black swordfish. In this local farmer’s market, vendors sell all sorts of seafood, plus vegetables, flowers, and even live animals to be slaughtered. But the large, modernist, ceramic-paneled building has other surprises, such as the small restaurants worth visiting after browsing the stalls. Mafalda’s, for instance, opens only between late morning and afternoon, but it’s one the best options for sandwiches, toasts, and a lunch menu that changes daily depending on the ingredients from the stalls. Other venues allow customers to choose directly from trays of fresh fish cooked however they like.

Marisqueiras serve the freshest seafood in Portugal, a country known in Europe for its oceanic specialties. In Porto, they concentrate near Matosinhos, a fisherman’s paradise, including O Gaveto, one of the best in the area. Percebes (barnacles), clams, carabineiros (red shrimp), and a myriad of sea creatures look as if they came straight from the aquarium to your plate. Start with stuffed sapateira crab (sweet, delicate crab meat in cream sauce), followed by clams bulhão pato-style (cooked with white wine, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and cilantro). Don’t miss the blue lobster with brothy rice, a rare local delicacy turned into a homey recipe.

An L shaped bar set with place settings and wine glasses in front of two fish tanks full of lobsters in a sleek dining room with low lighting
Lobster tanks and the bar at O Gaveto
O Gaveto [Official Photo]

There’s more to this Nordic-style cafe than paper lanterns and pour-overs. The all-day eatery serves an organic, local, vegetarian menu, driven by the seasons and the kitchen’s creativity. The options include salads, sandwiches, Turkish eggs, fish and chips, cakes, and much more, all perfect to snack on as you sit by the windows watching life pass by on the street outside. For dinner, the venue pivots to a pop-up izakaya concept with Japanese snacks, such as chicken karaage, butter soy salmon, and other dishes.  

This neighborhood tasca serves comfort food drawn from the owner’s heritage in Trás-os-Montes. The daily rotating menu might feature regional dishes like breaded pork with roasted potatoes, massa à lavrador (meaty stew with pasta and red beans), or caldo verde (potato-kale soup). With its casual furnishings and checkered tablecloths, the restaurant in Carregal Garden feels like a special local hideaway far from the tourist crowds.

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This craft brewery, originally from Lisbon, opened a branch in Porto with one of the city’s most beautiful riverscape views. Facing the stepped gardens of Jardim das Virtudes, you can admire the Douro River and Port wine cellars from above, while enjoying a beer at one of the brewery’s outdoor picnic tables. There are more than 15 different taps, and the food menu offers one of the most locally famous fried chicken sandwiches and plenty of vegetarian options, such as grilled mushroom skewers and grilled cheese curds. DJs and musical performances liven up the evenings.

In a city historically known for its Port wine, the number of good wine bars (with great food) has only recently improved. In a casual, cozy space on Miguel Bombarda Street, known for its art galleries and studios, Genuíno joins the trend with a sharp wine list focusing on organic and natural winemakers, mainly from Portugal, along with comforting yet creative dishes. The menu changes weekly — think cod fritters, Scotch egg, steak tartare, spinach pancakes — as do the wine options. Brazilian owners Gabriela Johann and Gustavo Schmidt just partnered with baker Jorge Mariano to open a sister pizzeria project next door, Generosa.

Go past the tall bar stools and sidewalk tables to find a lively, green terrace with communal tables, an outdoor hideaway ideal for anyone willing to enjoy Porto’s hot, windy weather. The beer selection, which focuses (though not exclusively) on Portuguese craft breweries, absolutely justifies a visit, and you can pick up a few bottles from the shop to drink later. Catraio often welcomes visiting chefs and pop-ups to pair with whatever is on tap. Look for local breweries like OPO 74 Brewing Co. and Bendita, as well as options from Catalonia and the Basque Country.

A glass of beer on a coaster on a cement surface with the name of bar Catraio stenciled on the glass
A glass of beer at Catriao
Catraio [Official Photo]

Porto is still a city full of working-class eateries, locally known as tascas (or “tascos”, as local people call them). Opposite Praça de Carlos Alberto, Casa Expresso has hung on for decades serving the same dishes: rojão (chunks of pork marinated in garlic and white wine) sandwiches, beef liver with onions, deep-fried cod escabeche, and daily specials accompanied by boiled potatoes and fresh salads. Order a pitcher of the house wine to wash down your meal.

Nuno Mendes, a London-based Portuguese chef with a prominent career abroad, is back in his native country to oversee his first-ever project in Porto, which has become one the the most sought-after seats in the city. Cozinha das Flores, nestled within Largo de São Domingos (in Porto’s historic center), boasts an open-fire kitchen in the middle of the room, which produces dishes such as veal with tender onions and bone marrow, or smoked giant squid from the Azores with a stew of chickpeas and cold tripe. Mendes also serves creative takes on traditional Portuguese dishes, such as turnip pastéis de nata with caviar or a pão-de-ló (sponge cake) with shrimp.

Three small slices of sponge cake topped with sliced saucy shrimp.
Pão-de-ló with shrimp.
Rafael Tonon

Argentinian chef Mauricio Ghiglione brings the smoky flavors of his homeland to the parrilla (grill) at Belos Aires, now at a new location in the buzzy Baixa neighborhood. He incorporates Portuguese products, such as sea bass with carrots and thyme, but the real highlights of the menu are the meats, especially the chorizo and rib-eye. If you come craving Argentinian classics, know that Ghiglione also prepares amazing empanadas and a dulce de leche flan that is to die for.

At Mito (which means “myth”), chef Pedro Braga proves that it is possible to make haute cuisine at affordable prices. His relaxed, no-frills restaurant is located in the hip Rua da Picaria neighborhood. Tucked in next to trendy venues, Mito offers dinners featuring dishes that are both inventive and hearty, as well as lunch on Saturdays. The chef utilizes traditional Portuguese recipes and local ingredients, but he also looks to other cuisines for inspiration in gnocchi and tapioca, among other global tastes.

Torto is one of the new venues helping the cocktail scene in Porto to flourish. The bar is located in a Neo-Mudéjar style building from the early-20th century, while the neon-decked interior feels slightly more Brooklyn-industrial in style. Head bartender João Mendes’s menu features world-class cocktails to please all tastes, including whiskey-based batch cocktails served on tap. There are also ingenious creations, such as Capeta 199 — cachaça, falernum, banana, macadamia nuts, and makrut lime — and the Picante Gang Gang, with tequila, Espelette pepper, green Chartreuse, and roasted bell pepper.

The Royal Cocktail Club is situated in the touristy Baixa neighborhood, set in an old bankers’ union building, with an elegant interior decked out in wood, marble, and bronze. The cocktail list is modern and creative, thanks to head bartender Carlos Santiago and his team, who create drinks like the Mozzafiato (Remy Martin, Calvados, and Madeira wine) and the Lady D (tequila, hibiscus infusion, orange blossom, and mint). In the basement below the main room, you’ll find a private room with another bar exclusively serving signature cocktails.

In the luxurious, wine-focused hotel of the same name in Vila Nova de Gaia, you’ll find the two-Michelin-starred Yeatman restaurant. Under the command of chef Ricardo Costa, the restaurant serves two tasting menus, one standard and one vegetarian. The options encompass traditional flavors of Portuguese cuisine with modern flair and seasonal produce, including fresh seafood and fish from the Portuguese coast and porco preto (black Iberian pigs, an Indigenous Portuguese breed). The wine pairings are predictably fantastic, drawn from a cellar packed with rare bottlings. If that weren’t enough, every meal comes with a stunning view of the Douro River and the Porto skyline.

Situated in a narrow alley just off the frenetic streets of the riverside area, Taberna dos Mercados serves traditional regional dishes to about 20 lucky people, so be sure to book a table in advance. Order a bowl of seafood açorda, a popular bread soup made with prawns, clams, and cockles, or the Portuguese cozido, stewed lamb with potatoes and greens. The wine list favors bottles from the nearby Douro Valley.

Visitors can’t leave Portugal without picking up some tins of fish, a beloved staple of the everyday Portuguese diet since the mid-19th century. The preserved fish travel beautifully, and they come in handy when trying to make dinner from an empty pantry. Conservas e Petiscos (formerly Loja das Conservas) is the best place to stock up on the iconic staple. The store arrays horse mackerel, anchovies, eels, and much more in colorful tins from every region of the country. If you want tuna from the Azores, octopus from Algarve, or local sardines, you’ve come to the right place.

Pastelaria Moura, based in Santo Tirso, opened a branch in Porto to sell its most famous sweet: the jésuita, a triangle-shaped puff pastry topped with meringue, named for the outfits worn by Jesuit monks. The shop also offers an array of other Portuguese pastries, such as fatia de laranja (a flavorful orange pudding), custard eclairs, and pastéis de nata (of course).

In a charming retro building with tile flooring and stone walls, chef João Cura recreates recipes from childhood memories while adding inventive, modern touches. Look for roasted pig head terrine or young goat oven rice with giblets. The tasting menu encompasses 10 courses for 80 euros ($88), but there are a la carte options too.

A thick rectangle of terrine topped with chopped nuts and flowers sits on a white plate parallel to a long, thin streak of sauce
Pig’s head terrine with pickles and apple
Almeja [Official Photo]

This lively venue merges Japanese cuisine with the minimal, casual atmosphere of a Portuguese tasca. Chef Ruy Leão offers sushi and hot share plates inspired by izakaya fare. He makes use of local fish, such as mackerel and sardines, and the rest of the daily catch. Winners from the hot dishes include eggplant roasted in miso and okonomiyaki.

A round stone-looking plate with thin slices of fish topped with a colorful barrage of herbs, sauces and other garnishes
Tuna sashimi
Ruy Leão

Cachorrinho is the Porto answer to the hot dog. Thin crusty bread is stuffed with fresh sausage, grilled, brushed with a spicy sauce (often made with piri piri and butter), and cut into bite-sized pieces. A lot of restaurants offer newer takes on the simple dish, but stick with tradition at Cervejaria Gazela, a legendary snack bar opened in Praça da Batalha in 1962. Be sure to order some french fries and a fino (tap beer) to go alongside.

Several plates of cachorrinhos (hot dogs stuffed in chopped bread with cheese) sit on a kitchen counter
Cachorrinhos
Cervejaria Gazela [Official Photo]

Head to O Buraco (the Hole), a beloved downtown Porto restaurant, to find well-made local dishes, such as the iconic tripas à moda do Porto (Porto-style tripe stew) and delicious veal pie. You may notice some of the beautiful dishes flying out of the kitchen are not listed on the menu, so be sure to ask the waiter for the daily specials, which often include gems like duck rice and fried cow liver with caramelized onions.

A piece of Porto heritage since 1914, the Mercado do Bolhão opened its doors again in 2022 after four years of renovations, allowing vendors to return to the stalls where their parents and grandparents once worked. The historic Beaux Arts-style building in the city center houses 81 stalls and 38 stores, which sell a mixture of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, charcuterie, tinned fish, cheese, and flowers. There are also modern coffee shops and newer restaurants, such as Culto ao Bacalhau, where you can taste many preparations, including desserts, made with codfish, one of the most significant symbols of Portuguese gastronomy.

Like many cities worldwide, Porto has been overrun with bakeries offering sourdough bread since the pandemic. In the Marquês neighborhood, Brites goes beyond crunchy loaves, with golden croissants and kouign amann, soft focaccia, and sweet pastries, which tempt passersby from a window to the street. Don’t miss the bolas de berlim, a doughnut-like pastry filled with a sweet custard.

Hidden in the basement of a building amidst the buzz of Rua de Santa Catarina (the main commercial street in Porto), Gruta is a rare find for good food and attentive service. Follow the ramp strung with lights down to the charming dining room with stone walls. Fish and seafood are the stars of the menu, which also includes lots of vegetarian options. Start with the fritto misto di mare (crispy golden soft shell crab, squid, and prawns) and a refreshing zucchini salad, followed by codfish confit with pea puree and green vegetables. Or go for the moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew with cassava porridge, which highlights the culinary roots of head chef Rafaela Louzada, who left Rio de Janeiro for Porto.

Shrimps perched atop a bowl of stewy rice.
A dish at Gruta.
Rafael Tonon

In Portuguese, “apego” means a great feeling of affection. Chef Aurora Goy lives up to the name, infusing every dish with affection, but also technical skill, original ideas, and elegant execution. The stone walls, soft light, and long, bistro-style banquette give the place a cozy atmosphere that pairs well with the Portuguese-accented French cuisine coming out of the small kitchen. Goy’s creations are simple in concept but complex in flavor, with options like pork with tonnato sauce, fennel, celery, and buckwheat, or mackerel filet accompanied by toasted lime mayonnaise. For 60 euros ($66), the tasting menu gives you a chance to enjoy five dishes from snacks to desserts.

More than a food staple, rissol is a symbol of the popular culture in Portugal. The half moon-shaped savory snack is everywhere, from bakeries to restaurants, and it inspired Alexandra and Louis Druesne to open this French-inflected vintage-looking venue overlooking the charming Jardim de São Lázaro. After stints at fine dining restaurants in Paris (where they met), the couple elevated the beloved delicacy using organic flour and ingredients from the best producers in the country for the fillings. Traditional flavors include beef and fish, alongside more adventurous takes, like Thai green curry or truffles. Beyond rissóis, they also serve a delicious tomato brothy rice, french fries, salads, and other accompaniments. 

Two plates of turnovers with a bowl of fries and a bowl of soupy tomato rice.
Rissóis, tomato rice, and fries.
Rafael Tonon

Finding a good cup of specialty coffee is not an easy task in the city. But Combi Coffee Roasters makes the mission easier for those walking through the Bonfim neighborhood, where this airy cafe is tucked. The pioneer shop serves various beans roasted in-house from countries like Brazil, Ethiopia, and El Salvador, prepared in different methods (V60, Aeropress, espresso). The food on offer is limited, but there are always dense chocolate brownies with salted caramel and fresh pastéis de nata in the countertop display.

Vasco Coelho Santos is one of the best chefs in Porto and a prominent cook-turned-businessman with restaurants spread out across the city. After stints at Mugaritz and El Bulli, the chef returned home to open this high-end restaurant, which remains his best-known brainchild. The intimate, Michelin-starred restaurant is built around a chef’s counter, which gives diners the feeling of being invited to a talented friend’s home. The chef and his young team incorporate Asian flavors and techniques, but the focus remains on Portuguese produce and dishes rooted in tradition.

In Porto, the francesinha is like soccer or religion: Everyone has their preferences, and it’s better not to discuss personal tastes in unfamiliar company. This cafe, named after the famous local sandwich, serves one of the best recipes in town — though it rarely makes the most popular lists, fortunately. The sausages (mortadella, ham) come from good suppliers, the steak is served medium-rare, and the dense, coppery sauce brings subtle flavors of tomato and beef. If you still have some room, try owner and chef Fernando Cardoso’s version of the prego, another popular local sandwich, here layered with tender beef, cheese, ham, and pickles on slightly crunchy bread.

This classic restaurant opened in the 1980s to serve traditional local recipes, such as Porto-style tripe, fried sardines, and hake filets with Russian salad. The place has only gotten better with time. That’s because Rogério Sá, owner and head cook, spruced up the space in 2019 with fancy furniture, nice dishware, and an al fresco dining area, all without losing its character. Don’t miss the deep-fried octopus filets with rice, a classic dish in Porto.

This family-run establishment has been serving wood-fired fare since 1985. The counter is the best place to taste the excellent food coming out of the kitchen, but there are set tables for larger groups as well. Start with cod fritters and local presunto (cured ham), then move on to mains such as veal and potatoes roasted for hours over wood. Finish with rabanadas (French toast) or creme do céu, which consists of mousse, biscuits, and creamy egg custard.

A counter with decorated illuminated tile beneath the bar and attached bar stools, a well stocked bar with pots hanging above, a tile floor, walls decorated with framed art, and baskets hanging from the exposed wood rafters
The counter, the best place for a meal
Sara Vingadas

Just across the street from the Campanhã railway station, O Astro is a must-stop for a snack before or after a train trip. Since 1979, the venue has served one of the city’s most famous bifanas, a simple pork sandwich ubiquitous in Portugal. In Porto, the sandwich has its particularities: The thin slices of pork shank are cooked in a spicy and intense red sauce (instead of just grilled) before filling a crusty bread roll. As Portuguese traditions go, a glass of beer on tap is the best pairing. Astro is also recognized for other recipes, such as caldo verde (a stew of potatoes, greens, and chorizo) and papas de sarrabulho (a porridge made with braised pork, chicken, pork blood, lots of cumin, and cornmeal for thickening). No one leaves this casual snack bar without fingers sticky with red sauce.

A small sandwich on a plate beside a glass of beer, places on a marble counter in front of a marble tiled wall.
A bifana and a tap beer at O Astro.
Rafael Tonon

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In a stunning house designed by local Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Álvaro Siza, Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Boa Nova Tea House) provides dramatic ocean views with waves crashing against the rocks below. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by acclaimed chef Rui Paula, serves traditional Portuguese dishes, many highlighting local seafood and fish, as well as a vegetarian menu featuring local potatoes, fava beans, and greens.

A pioneer in the vegetarian scene in Portugal, this modern restaurant in Leça da Palmeira has become a national reference. Built only with natural elements (wood, burnt cement, and marble), it could inspire an entire Pinterest board. Chef Nuno Castro serves meatless recipes blending familiar flavors with contemporary flair. Look for the restaurant’s take on caldeirada, the famous Portuguese seafood soup, the vegetable gazpacho with rosemary and olive focaccia, or the steamed buns with breaded mushrooms and kimchi.

The Mercado de Matosinhos supplies the region’s restaurants with the freshest fish: mackerel, sardines, tuna, black swordfish. In this local farmer’s market, vendors sell all sorts of seafood, plus vegetables, flowers, and even live animals to be slaughtered. But the large, modernist, ceramic-paneled building has other surprises, such as the small restaurants worth visiting after browsing the stalls. Mafalda’s, for instance, opens only between late morning and afternoon, but it’s one the best options for sandwiches, toasts, and a lunch menu that changes daily depending on the ingredients from the stalls. Other venues allow customers to choose directly from trays of fresh fish cooked however they like.

Marisqueiras serve the freshest seafood in Portugal, a country known in Europe for its oceanic specialties. In Porto, they concentrate near Matosinhos, a fisherman’s paradise, including O Gaveto, one of the best in the area. Percebes (barnacles), clams, carabineiros (red shrimp), and a myriad of sea creatures look as if they came straight from the aquarium to your plate. Start with stuffed sapateira crab (sweet, delicate crab meat in cream sauce), followed by clams bulhão pato-style (cooked with white wine, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and cilantro). Don’t miss the blue lobster with brothy rice, a rare local delicacy turned into a homey recipe.

An L shaped bar set with place settings and wine glasses in front of two fish tanks full of lobsters in a sleek dining room with low lighting
Lobster tanks and the bar at O Gaveto
O Gaveto [Official Photo]

There’s more to this Nordic-style cafe than paper lanterns and pour-overs. The all-day eatery serves an organic, local, vegetarian menu, driven by the seasons and the kitchen’s creativity. The options include salads, sandwiches, Turkish eggs, fish and chips, cakes, and much more, all perfect to snack on as you sit by the windows watching life pass by on the street outside. For dinner, the venue pivots to a pop-up izakaya concept with Japanese snacks, such as chicken karaage, butter soy salmon, and other dishes.  

This neighborhood tasca serves comfort food drawn from the owner’s heritage in Trás-os-Montes. The daily rotating menu might feature regional dishes like breaded pork with roasted potatoes, massa à lavrador (meaty stew with pasta and red beans), or caldo verde (potato-kale soup). With its casual furnishings and checkered tablecloths, the restaurant in Carregal Garden feels like a special local hideaway far from the tourist crowds.

This craft brewery, originally from Lisbon, opened a branch in Porto with one of the city’s most beautiful riverscape views. Facing the stepped gardens of Jardim das Virtudes, you can admire the Douro River and Port wine cellars from above, while enjoying a beer at one of the brewery’s outdoor picnic tables. There are more than 15 different taps, and the food menu offers one of the most locally famous fried chicken sandwiches and plenty of vegetarian options, such as grilled mushroom skewers and grilled cheese curds. DJs and musical performances liven up the evenings.

In a city historically known for its Port wine, the number of good wine bars (with great food) has only recently improved. In a casual, cozy space on Miguel Bombarda Street, known for its art galleries and studios, Genuíno joins the trend with a sharp wine list focusing on organic and natural winemakers, mainly from Portugal, along with comforting yet creative dishes. The menu changes weekly — think cod fritters, Scotch egg, steak tartare, spinach pancakes — as do the wine options. Brazilian owners Gabriela Johann and Gustavo Schmidt just partnered with baker Jorge Mariano to open a sister pizzeria project next door, Generosa.

Go past the tall bar stools and sidewalk tables to find a lively, green terrace with communal tables, an outdoor hideaway ideal for anyone willing to enjoy Porto’s hot, windy weather. The beer selection, which focuses (though not exclusively) on Portuguese craft breweries, absolutely justifies a visit, and you can pick up a few bottles from the shop to drink later. Catraio often welcomes visiting chefs and pop-ups to pair with whatever is on tap. Look for local breweries like OPO 74 Brewing Co. and Bendita, as well as options from Catalonia and the Basque Country.

A glass of beer on a coaster on a cement surface with the name of bar Catraio stenciled on the glass
A glass of beer at Catriao
Catraio [Official Photo]

Porto is still a city full of working-class eateries, locally known as tascas (or “tascos”, as local people call them). Opposite Praça de Carlos Alberto, Casa Expresso has hung on for decades serving the same dishes: rojão (chunks of pork marinated in garlic and white wine) sandwiches, beef liver with onions, deep-fried cod escabeche, and daily specials accompanied by boiled potatoes and fresh salads. Order a pitcher of the house wine to wash down your meal.

Nuno Mendes, a London-based Portuguese chef with a prominent career abroad, is back in his native country to oversee his first-ever project in Porto, which has become one the the most sought-after seats in the city. Cozinha das Flores, nestled within Largo de São Domingos (in Porto’s historic center), boasts an open-fire kitchen in the middle of the room, which produces dishes such as veal with tender onions and bone marrow, or smoked giant squid from the Azores with a stew of chickpeas and cold tripe. Mendes also serves creative takes on traditional Portuguese dishes, such as turnip pastéis de nata with caviar or a pão-de-ló (sponge cake) with shrimp.

Three small slices of sponge cake topped with sliced saucy shrimp.
Pão-de-ló with shrimp.
Rafael Tonon

Argentinian chef Mauricio Ghiglione brings the smoky flavors of his homeland to the parrilla (grill) at Belos Aires, now at a new location in the buzzy Baixa neighborhood. He incorporates Portuguese products, such as sea bass with carrots and thyme, but the real highlights of the menu are the meats, especially the chorizo and rib-eye. If you come craving Argentinian classics, know that Ghiglione also prepares amazing empanadas and a dulce de leche flan that is to die for.

At Mito (which means “myth”), chef Pedro Braga proves that it is possible to make haute cuisine at affordable prices. His relaxed, no-frills restaurant is located in the hip Rua da Picaria neighborhood. Tucked in next to trendy venues, Mito offers dinners featuring dishes that are both inventive and hearty, as well as lunch on Saturdays. The chef utilizes traditional Portuguese recipes and local ingredients, but he also looks to other cuisines for inspiration in gnocchi and tapioca, among other global tastes.

Torto is one of the new venues helping the cocktail scene in Porto to flourish. The bar is located in a Neo-Mudéjar style building from the early-20th century, while the neon-decked interior feels slightly more Brooklyn-industrial in style. Head bartender João Mendes’s menu features world-class cocktails to please all tastes, including whiskey-based batch cocktails served on tap. There are also ingenious creations, such as Capeta 199 — cachaça, falernum, banana, macadamia nuts, and makrut lime — and the Picante Gang Gang, with tequila, Espelette pepper, green Chartreuse, and roasted bell pepper.

The Royal Cocktail Club is situated in the touristy Baixa neighborhood, set in an old bankers’ union building, with an elegant interior decked out in wood, marble, and bronze. The cocktail list is modern and creative, thanks to head bartender Carlos Santiago and his team, who create drinks like the Mozzafiato (Remy Martin, Calvados, and Madeira wine) and the Lady D (tequila, hibiscus infusion, orange blossom, and mint). In the basement below the main room, you’ll find a private room with another bar exclusively serving signature cocktails.

In the luxurious, wine-focused hotel of the same name in Vila Nova de Gaia, you’ll find the two-Michelin-starred Yeatman restaurant. Under the command of chef Ricardo Costa, the restaurant serves two tasting menus, one standard and one vegetarian. The options encompass traditional flavors of Portuguese cuisine with modern flair and seasonal produce, including fresh seafood and fish from the Portuguese coast and porco preto (black Iberian pigs, an Indigenous Portuguese breed). The wine pairings are predictably fantastic, drawn from a cellar packed with rare bottlings. If that weren’t enough, every meal comes with a stunning view of the Douro River and the Porto skyline.

Situated in a narrow alley just off the frenetic streets of the riverside area, Taberna dos Mercados serves traditional regional dishes to about 20 lucky people, so be sure to book a table in advance. Order a bowl of seafood açorda, a popular bread soup made with prawns, clams, and cockles, or the Portuguese cozido, stewed lamb with potatoes and greens. The wine list favors bottles from the nearby Douro Valley.

Visitors can’t leave Portugal without picking up some tins of fish, a beloved staple of the everyday Portuguese diet since the mid-19th century. The preserved fish travel beautifully, and they come in handy when trying to make dinner from an empty pantry. Conservas e Petiscos (formerly Loja das Conservas) is the best place to stock up on the iconic staple. The store arrays horse mackerel, anchovies, eels, and much more in colorful tins from every region of the country. If you want tuna from the Azores, octopus from Algarve, or local sardines, you’ve come to the right place.

Pastelaria Moura, based in Santo Tirso, opened a branch in Porto to sell its most famous sweet: the jésuita, a triangle-shaped puff pastry topped with meringue, named for the outfits worn by Jesuit monks. The shop also offers an array of other Portuguese pastries, such as fatia de laranja (a flavorful orange pudding), custard eclairs, and pastéis de nata (of course).

In a charming retro building with tile flooring and stone walls, chef João Cura recreates recipes from childhood memories while adding inventive, modern touches. Look for roasted pig head terrine or young goat oven rice with giblets. The tasting menu encompasses 10 courses for 80 euros ($88), but there are a la carte options too.

A thick rectangle of terrine topped with chopped nuts and flowers sits on a white plate parallel to a long, thin streak of sauce
Pig’s head terrine with pickles and apple
Almeja [Official Photo]

This lively venue merges Japanese cuisine with the minimal, casual atmosphere of a Portuguese tasca. Chef Ruy Leão offers sushi and hot share plates inspired by izakaya fare. He makes use of local fish, such as mackerel and sardines, and the rest of the daily catch. Winners from the hot dishes include eggplant roasted in miso and okonomiyaki.

A round stone-looking plate with thin slices of fish topped with a colorful barrage of herbs, sauces and other garnishes
Tuna sashimi
Ruy Leão

Cachorrinho is the Porto answer to the hot dog. Thin crusty bread is stuffed with fresh sausage, grilled, brushed with a spicy sauce (often made with piri piri and butter), and cut into bite-sized pieces. A lot of restaurants offer newer takes on the simple dish, but stick with tradition at Cervejaria Gazela, a legendary snack bar opened in Praça da Batalha in 1962. Be sure to order some french fries and a fino (tap beer) to go alongside.

Several plates of cachorrinhos (hot dogs stuffed in chopped bread with cheese) sit on a kitchen counter
Cachorrinhos
Cervejaria Gazela [Official Photo]

Head to O Buraco (the Hole), a beloved downtown Porto restaurant, to find well-made local dishes, such as the iconic tripas à moda do Porto (Porto-style tripe stew) and delicious veal pie. You may notice some of the beautiful dishes flying out of the kitchen are not listed on the menu, so be sure to ask the waiter for the daily specials, which often include gems like duck rice and fried cow liver with caramelized onions.

A piece of Porto heritage since 1914, the Mercado do Bolhão opened its doors again in 2022 after four years of renovations, allowing vendors to return to the stalls where their parents and grandparents once worked. The historic Beaux Arts-style building in the city center houses 81 stalls and 38 stores, which sell a mixture of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, charcuterie, tinned fish, cheese, and flowers. There are also modern coffee shops and newer restaurants, such as Culto ao Bacalhau, where you can taste many preparations, including desserts, made with codfish, one of the most significant symbols of Portuguese gastronomy.

Like many cities worldwide, Porto has been overrun with bakeries offering sourdough bread since the pandemic. In the Marquês neighborhood, Brites goes beyond crunchy loaves, with golden croissants and kouign amann, soft focaccia, and sweet pastries, which tempt passersby from a window to the street. Don’t miss the bolas de berlim, a doughnut-like pastry filled with a sweet custard.

Hidden in the basement of a building amidst the buzz of Rua de Santa Catarina (the main commercial street in Porto), Gruta is a rare find for good food and attentive service. Follow the ramp strung with lights down to the charming dining room with stone walls. Fish and seafood are the stars of the menu, which also includes lots of vegetarian options. Start with the fritto misto di mare (crispy golden soft shell crab, squid, and prawns) and a refreshing zucchini salad, followed by codfish confit with pea puree and green vegetables. Or go for the moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew with cassava porridge, which highlights the culinary roots of head chef Rafaela Louzada, who left Rio de Janeiro for Porto.

Shrimps perched atop a bowl of stewy rice.
A dish at Gruta.
Rafael Tonon

In Portuguese, “apego” means a great feeling of affection. Chef Aurora Goy lives up to the name, infusing every dish with affection, but also technical skill, original ideas, and elegant execution. The stone walls, soft light, and long, bistro-style banquette give the place a cozy atmosphere that pairs well with the Portuguese-accented French cuisine coming out of the small kitchen. Goy’s creations are simple in concept but complex in flavor, with options like pork with tonnato sauce, fennel, celery, and buckwheat, or mackerel filet accompanied by toasted lime mayonnaise. For 60 euros ($66), the tasting menu gives you a chance to enjoy five dishes from snacks to desserts.

More than a food staple, rissol is a symbol of the popular culture in Portugal. The half moon-shaped savory snack is everywhere, from bakeries to restaurants, and it inspired Alexandra and Louis Druesne to open this French-inflected vintage-looking venue overlooking the charming Jardim de São Lázaro. After stints at fine dining restaurants in Paris (where they met), the couple elevated the beloved delicacy using organic flour and ingredients from the best producers in the country for the fillings. Traditional flavors include beef and fish, alongside more adventurous takes, like Thai green curry or truffles. Beyond rissóis, they also serve a delicious tomato brothy rice, french fries, salads, and other accompaniments. 

Two plates of turnovers with a bowl of fries and a bowl of soupy tomato rice.
Rissóis, tomato rice, and fries.
Rafael Tonon

Finding a good cup of specialty coffee is not an easy task in the city. But Combi Coffee Roasters makes the mission easier for those walking through the Bonfim neighborhood, where this airy cafe is tucked. The pioneer shop serves various beans roasted in-house from countries like Brazil, Ethiopia, and El Salvador, prepared in different methods (V60, Aeropress, espresso). The food on offer is limited, but there are always dense chocolate brownies with salted caramel and fresh pastéis de nata in the countertop display.

Vasco Coelho Santos is one of the best chefs in Porto and a prominent cook-turned-businessman with restaurants spread out across the city. After stints at Mugaritz and El Bulli, the chef returned home to open this high-end restaurant, which remains his best-known brainchild. The intimate, Michelin-starred restaurant is built around a chef’s counter, which gives diners the feeling of being invited to a talented friend’s home. The chef and his young team incorporate Asian flavors and techniques, but the focus remains on Portuguese produce and dishes rooted in tradition.

In Porto, the francesinha is like soccer or religion: Everyone has their preferences, and it’s better not to discuss personal tastes in unfamiliar company. This cafe, named after the famous local sandwich, serves one of the best recipes in town — though it rarely makes the most popular lists, fortunately. The sausages (mortadella, ham) come from good suppliers, the steak is served medium-rare, and the dense, coppery sauce brings subtle flavors of tomato and beef. If you still have some room, try owner and chef Fernando Cardoso’s version of the prego, another popular local sandwich, here layered with tender beef, cheese, ham, and pickles on slightly crunchy bread.

This classic restaurant opened in the 1980s to serve traditional local recipes, such as Porto-style tripe, fried sardines, and hake filets with Russian salad. The place has only gotten better with time. That’s because Rogério Sá, owner and head cook, spruced up the space in 2019 with fancy furniture, nice dishware, and an al fresco dining area, all without losing its character. Don’t miss the deep-fried octopus filets with rice, a classic dish in Porto.

This family-run establishment has been serving wood-fired fare since 1985. The counter is the best place to taste the excellent food coming out of the kitchen, but there are set tables for larger groups as well. Start with cod fritters and local presunto (cured ham), then move on to mains such as veal and potatoes roasted for hours over wood. Finish with rabanadas (French toast) or creme do céu, which consists of mousse, biscuits, and creamy egg custard.

A counter with decorated illuminated tile beneath the bar and attached bar stools, a well stocked bar with pots hanging above, a tile floor, walls decorated with framed art, and baskets hanging from the exposed wood rafters
The counter, the best place for a meal
Sara Vingadas

Just across the street from the Campanhã railway station, O Astro is a must-stop for a snack before or after a train trip. Since 1979, the venue has served one of the city’s most famous bifanas, a simple pork sandwich ubiquitous in Portugal. In Porto, the sandwich has its particularities: The thin slices of pork shank are cooked in a spicy and intense red sauce (instead of just grilled) before filling a crusty bread roll. As Portuguese traditions go, a glass of beer on tap is the best pairing. Astro is also recognized for other recipes, such as caldo verde (a stew of potatoes, greens, and chorizo) and papas de sarrabulho (a porridge made with braised pork, chicken, pork blood, lots of cumin, and cornmeal for thickening). No one leaves this casual snack bar without fingers sticky with red sauce.

A small sandwich on a plate beside a glass of beer, places on a marble counter in front of a marble tiled wall.
A bifana and a tap beer at O Astro.
Rafael Tonon

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