If you want to try the best Porto food, head straight to the best restaurants in Porto. But which are they? Worry not, this post has you covered!
As more and more visitors have been flocking to Portugal’s shores in recent years, thanks in large part to the many travel awards the country has be winning, savvy travelers are discovering the gorgeous northern city of Porto and all it has to offer!
From the city’s incredible architecture, world-renowned wines and warm hospitality, there’s so much to love about Porto. But, it’s Porto’s vibrant foodie scene that’s a real surprise and wonderful discovery. Porto food is delicious!
Having visited Porto several times, I’ve decided to put together this guide, outlining all you need to know about Porto’s gastronomic offerings, and the best restaurants in Porto – what to try and where to try it!
The Best Porto Food And Wine
Along with having plenty of things to do, Porto is also a foodie’s paradise. A trip to this city is a culinary experience you won’t forget. Before you dig in, here’s some information to help you truly appreciate Porto food.
In this city, the food is influenced by its surroundings. You can expect to find a mixture of surf and turf, which is inspired by the nearby sea and mountains. Porto offers steamy soups and stews, fish, innovative sandwiches, and famed fortified wines.
There are so many delicious meals and wines you can try here; you might not be sure where to start. I’ve narrowed down a few local favorites to help you.
Francesinha means ‘little French women’ in Portuguese. This dish was inspired by the French croque-monsieur but tweaked to fit local preferences.
The francesinha is an open sandwich comprising layers of roast pork or steak, linguiça (garlic smoked sausage), melted cheese, and ham. It’s smeared with a rich tomato and beer-based sauce and topped with a fried egg. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, this carb heavy and surprisingly delicious dish is considered Porto’s most iconic dish – a Porto food you really need to try.
You can find it in lunchtime cafes all over Porto and in the best restaurants in Porto, as well as late-night eateries. Pair it with a glass of sparkling red wine for the best experience.
Looking for the best spot to try out this decadent dish? A few of the most well-known include, O Golfinho, O Afonso or Café Santiago. If you’re after a vegetarian offering, then be sure to head over to Lado B Café who make a mean vegetarian Francesinha too!
Bacalhau com Natas
The popularity of Portuguese cuisine led to Portugal’s inclusion on the list of countries with the best food. The bacalhau com natas may have had something to do with this country’s food fame.
Bacalhau, or salted codfish, is the favored fish in Portugal. It’s considered an irreplaceable national meal for some Portuguese holiday traditions, such as Christmas.
Baking it in cream (com natas) creates a rich-flavored masterpiece. The dish is prepared by boiling cod and adding diced fried potatoes. This is then generously topped with cream and baked.
If you’re looking for something lighter, I recommend trying petiscos. Petiscos are similar to tapas in that you can share them with friends. The word petiscos actually comes from the term petiscar, which means ‘enjoying little meals with friends’.
Petiscos are mini versions of larger plates. Because they are smaller than the main meals, you can order more of these plates and experience more flavors, without feeling stuffed.
Tapas na Boca, situated just around the corner from Porto’s iconic Livraria Lello bookstore in R. de Cândido dos Reis street, is a fantastic restaurant to try these Portugese tapas at – one of the best restaurants in Porto. Do make sure to book in advance though as they are very popular and during the busier months you will almost certainly be turned away without a booking.
Here are some examples of petiscos:
- Octopus salad
- Smoked ham and sausage
- Moelas (chicken gizzards)
- Pataniscas (codfish cakes)
Port wine is an iconic and traditional drink in Portugal. Birthed in the Douro Valley, this wine has a unique blend of over 52 types of Portuguese grapes.
Port wine is produced through a fortification process. Brandy is added to the wine, which helps to draw all the sugar from the grapes into the wine. As a result, this wine has a sweet flavor.
This makes it a brilliant wine to pair with a dessert. When in Porto, I’d suggest booking a wine tasting tour to support your palate’s education.
Pastel de Nata
Whilst the original Pastel de Belem may hail from Lisbon, the Pastel de Nata is somewhat of a nationality pastry delight and treasure and is certainly not limited to the capital.
One of my favorite cafés to buy these sweet and very addictive egg-yolk custard tartlets from, Manteigaria, also happens to have a large store in Porto. So, it’s definitely worth giving these crunchy, sweet tartlets a go. You will no doubt be leaving with a takeaway box to enjoy later!
If you plan to spend a couple of days in and around Porto and want to venture outside the city, then planning a day trip to Aveiro, only an hour by train, is a great day out.
Whilst here, in the city known as the “Venice of Portugal”, due to its tourist gondolas and canal, you should sample the local sweet delicacy known as Ovos Moles. This small encased sweet filled with egg-yolk custard (yes, the Portuguese love their custards!) is actually a protected delight and much loved throughout the country and as such worth a try when visiting the north of Portugal too!
The 6 Best Restaurants In Porto
If you’re planning on seeing a few places in Portugal, spend a few days in Lisbon for some hassle free activities before soaking up the food scene in Porto. It’s a great way of ensuring you see the different sides of this country – both fun and food.
When it comes to the food, there’s no better way to experience it than visiting the local restaurants. Here are a few of the best restaurants in Porto.
The Yeatman Gastronomic Restaurant
The Yeatman restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars – this preamble is already enough to convince you that this indeed is one of the best restaurants in Porto. It offers fine dining and imaginative traditional Portuguese cuisine. You can expect a vast selection of fish and fresh produce as well as many regional specialities.
The chef’s special tasting menu provides guests with the opportunity to mix and match dishes to their heart’s content so this is a great place to try Porto food. The restaurant boasts spectacular views of the Douro River and the historic centre.
Lado B Cafe
Lado B has an informal atmosphere and affordable prices. It’s located in front of the Coliseu (concert hall) in downtown Porto.
Lado B has a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in Porto, Portugal, for francesinhas. This cafe has even named one of its signature sandwiches ‘A Melhor Francesinha do Mundo’. Translated, this means the world’s best francesinha. It also features an extensive selection of wines and beers.
Mito is a relaxed restaurant situated in the Rua da Picaria neighborhood. The chef creates traditional Portuguese recipes that use local ingredients for some of the best Porto food. He also draws inspiration from the Mediterranean for his dishes.
The restaurant’s speciality is aged meats. It serves meals that are hearty, tasty and priced competitively – easily one of the best restaurants in Porto.
The cosy Petisqueira Voltaria is one of the best restaurants in Porto, Portugal. It’s located on the smallest street in the city. The restaurant serves original appetizers, traditional Porto food and delightful desserts.
The food is prepared the ‘home-made way’ as it’s cooked in a little kitchen with good quality ingredients. This is the perfect place to sample bacalhau com natas.
Elegant yet laid back, O Comercial is a popular place for business people and tourists alike, and one of the best restaurants in Porto for sure. The restaurant is located in the city’s stock exchange, or more accurately, in the Palácio da Bolsa – a popular and beautiful attraction in Portugal.
The restaurant faces the Douro river and serves food that embodies progressive Portuguese cuisine. The menu offers meals that are traditionally Portuguese but cooked with new techniques and methods.
Renowned for its elegant cakes, pastries and delectable sweets, Miss Pavlova is also a fantastic brunch spot, not to mention one of the best restaurants in Porto.
A hidden gem in Porto, you may miss this eatery if you didn’t realize you need to first enter through a boutique shop before reaching the restaurant at the back. Head through to the funky, enclosed courtyard in the back.
When we visited, we opted for their eggs benedict and complimented our meal with a bottle of bubbly. Needless to say, we were not disappointed, although we did get somewhat tipsy thanks to the sparkling wine!
Porto Food Markets
Aside from restaurants, another answer to the question of ‘where to eat in Porto’, is at the bustling food markets. If you’re looking to buy appetizing local food, there are plenty of markets to explore.
Here are three options:
- Mercado Bom Sucesso: With over 40 food stalls, you’ll taste your way through several specialities from different regions of Portugal. There are snacks, cheese, chocolates and gin served at the market, ready for sampling.
- Mercado Beira Rio: If you head across the famous Dom Luis I bridge to the Gaia riverfront, you’ll be able to visit the on-trend Mercado Beira Rio market that offers up a range of produce to buy, food stalls to taste at as well as a selection of drinks too.
- Bolhão Market: This market offers flowers, fish, meat, and fresh produce. It has a wealth of character and is a great place to rub shoulders with the locals while sampling the best Porto food.
The Best Porto Food Tours & Experiences
You’ve had a look at the best restaurants in Porto and at the city’s food markets. Now, let’s take a look at some authentic culinary tours and experiences. What better way than to treat yourself to a foodie tour or experience to get hands on and learn of Porto’s vibrant food scene from local guides who know it best!
Porto Food and Wine Tasting Tour
Take a fantastic walking tour of the city centre and sample mouthwatering Portuguese dishes and delectable wines. This tour takes you to a number of different locations to try traditional food. The tour ends with an incredible fish dinner with wine from Douro Valley.
Your local guide will talk to you about the city’s landmark monuments. You’ll also learn about the food and drink culture of the locals, firsthand.
You can book the tour here.
Porto: Delicious Food and Wine Walking Tour
This walking tour will take you around the city and introduce you to new flavors. You’ll taste Portuguese cuisines, such as bifana, port wine, coffee, bacalhau, and scrumptious pastries.
As you indulge in the culinary delights, you’ll also gain insight into this marvelous city and its people. You’ll dive into its cultural heritage while enjoying plenty of local tastings.
You can book the tour here.
True Flavors of Porto: Private Tasting Tour
If you’re looking for authenticity and tantalizing food, this private tasting tour is for you. Discover the city’s best local eateries and enjoy up to 10 food tastings. Together with a knowledgeable local guide, you’ll see the real side of this region.
Visit a grocery shop, where you can taste a traditional combination of quince, cheese and marmalade. Next up, try ‘fruto seco’, and Portuguese sweet and savory pastries. The tour continues in this fashion and then finishes traditionally with a glass of rich and full-bodied port wine.
You can book this tour here.
Tour the Douro Valley: River Cruise, Lunch & Wine Tasting
Calling all wine aficionados. Want to sample the very best of Portugal’s wines, then why not considering booking a day trip river cruise to the Douro Valley.
A cruise down the Douro River not only allows you to admire the gorgeous rolling hills and scenery of Portugal’s most loved wine country, but you’ll also get to stop at two wineries and sample a few Portuguese wines; not to mention you’ll also get to savor a traditional Portuguese lunchtime meal too!
You can book this tour here.
Conclusions On The Best Porto Food
Whether you are visiting Portugal specifically for its food and wine scene, or not, Porto and the north of Portugal will certainly not disappoint by way of culinary offerings.
Enjoy the bold flavors of the region’s Port wine or try the fresh and bubbly Vinho Verde (Green Wine), be sure to give the Francesinha a try, share some Petiscos and taste your way through all the delectable treats and sweets that Portugal is known for.
Make sure to read my other posts about Portugal:
- 21 Incredible Things To Do In Lisbon That Are Totally Hassle Free
- 17 Great Day Trips From Lisbon
- 10 Fantastic Day Trips From Porto
- The Best Places To Visit In Portugal
This post was written by guest author Marco Santos. Born and raised in South Africa, he writes at Travel-Boo. Together with his partner he moved to sunny Lisbon over 3 years ago. With an absolute love for Europe, he is on a mission to rediscover his own Portuguese heritage along the way. Marco has set out to blog and share his passion for traveling through and exploring both Portugal, Spain and throughout Europe, through his blog Travel-Boo. You can also follow him on Instagram.
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