In recent years, the historic city of Porto on Portugal’s northwest coast has been gaining recognition as a gastronomic centre for fine dining and some remarkable cooking, but without the pretension that a diner might experience in top restaurants in other parts of the world.
In Porto and other towns across the country, food is a passion and service is efficient but understated, dishes will be brought to your table by waiting staff who are happy to share their knowledge about the produce and the menu, and knowledgeable sommeliers will love to explain the intricacies of Portugal’s world class wines.
As well as a lack of arrogance, Michelin starred restaurants in Porto come with menus that cost perhaps half of what you will have to pay in London, Paris or New York. Right now, Porto’s restaurant scene is enjoying a stellar time – there are two restaurants with two Michelin stars – The Yeatman and Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, and five restaurants with one Michelin star – Le Monument, Euskalduna Studio, Antiqvvm, Pedro Lemos and Vila Foz.
A sign that the country has established its own culinary style and identity is that Portugal has now been formally recognised in its own gastronomic right, rather than as a poor relation to Spain at the back of the guide, with the recently commissioned ‘Michelin Portugal 2024 Guide’. This year to be held in the Algarve.
As a country with more than 1000 miles of coastline, Portugal’s cuisine is strongly influenced by the sea and renowned far and wide for its fresh flavoursome sardines, crab, lobster and cod dishes.
Porto’s cafes and restaurants certainly make the most of the local seafood. But residents and visitors can also enjoy wonderful selections of cured meats and cheeses at Mercado Do Bolhão (Now completely renovated). Delicious local cooked recipes can be eaten in many tascas (informal Portuguese eateries once for the humble workers) tucked away on cobbled streets in the UNESCO-listed old town.
Along Porto’s waterfront, Ribeira is alive with busy welcoming local bars serving a popular cocktail of white port and tonic from the local region. The geographical location of Porto is the gateway to the verdant Douro Valley area, established as a great wine producing region.
The countryside here offers much natural diversity with fertile soil, terraced vineyards and mountains where pigs, sheep and cattle graze. From here comes the delicious pork and garlic alheira sausage and a rice dish with pork cooked in pig’s blood called sarrabulho.
Other famous street food delicacies that you can’t miss are the “Rissóis do Império”, the “Bifanas” from Conga and “Francesinha”.
And there’s more good news, if you’re a foodie and thinking you might like a piece of Porto real estate to call home, then here’s a perfect property:
Bonfim, Porto, Portugal – On the market at €700,000 with O&O Real Estate
This is an old-style traditional double-fronted Porto townhouse with four bedrooms and four
bathrooms and accommodation laid out over three floors plus an attic. The property comes with a garden, terrace, and private parking. The plot extends to 243 sqm with a useful additional plot of 237 sqm.
It is very rare to be able to purchase a recently renovated house with such excellent workmanship, using authentic local materials, that is in the heart of one of Porto’s most historic central areas. This property is located a few steps from the Church of Bonfim – a very important local architectural landmark. There are pretty cobbled streets, squares full of bars, traditional restaurants, cafes, and amenities within walking distance. Not only is the house in a desirable location, but has excellent accessibility, benefiting from great bus, metro, train, and road connections.