My mom and I went on a mother daughter trip to Portugal last month and we ate and drank ourselves incredibly merry. Porto was an absolute revelation. The food scene is incredible, the people are supremely friendly and the city is gorgeous. It’s the perfect food and wine lovers city. Every few metres there’s something delicious to sample. We promised ourselves not to use any forms of transport apart from our feet in a futile attempt to combat the calories going in! If you aren’t into a lot of pictures of food and wine- look away now!
Pictured above is Bacchus Vini– a divine little wine bar along the Duoro river. They do splendid wine and Port tastings served with generous cheese and charcuterie platters. We sipped under the sun until it was inevitably nap time.
When the clock strikes tapas time one of our favourite spots was UVA wine bar. It’s down a little alley and doesn’t look like much but the tapas was scrumptious. Try the ham and cheese wheel thingy. It’s amazing. They also have a superb wine list full of small production wineries and the staff are very knowledgeable.
Just an adorable 20 minute tram ride to Foz and you’ll have your toes in the sand and a glass of vinho verde in hand. Praia da Luz is a gorgeous beach restaurant with simple food, cold wine and live music. The service is non existent so if you get a waiter make sure you order enough to keep you going for a while! But it is a marvelous, relaxing way to spend the day.
The Mercado do Bolhão is a must visit. There’s the most divine husband and wife team that do wine tastings. Him and his wife don’t speak a word of English but between our terrible Portuguese and a lot of hand gestures from his side we had the very best experience. He gave us a few slices of cheese with our wine tasting. We told him how much we adored the cheese and wanted to know what it was called etc etc. Two seconds later he’s on the phone talking rapidly and tells us to wait. The kind soul called a friend and had an entire WHEEL of the cheese delivered to us at the market! We snacked on that cheese for two weeks! Pictured below is that devilish little wheel of queijo.
While we’re on the indulgence train… You cannot say you’ve truly experienced Portugal unless you’ve eaten Santini‘s ice cream. It’s just seriously better than any other ice cream i’ve ever had. Ever. And i’ve eaten ice cream in France and Italy and all over but holy guacamole you need to try this stuff. My favourites were the granadilla, vanilla and chocolate. Just wow.
This sweet treat deserves a special mention. The pastéis de nata gets all the glory but the Queijada de Feijão is where it’s really at. This sweet bean pastry has a buttery almond and white bean filling and it’s all encased in a million layers of puff pastry. It’s a winner and I NEED to learn how to make it.
To add to the list of things I want to learn to make is tomato rice. I’m sure you’re thinking what is so special about tomatoes and rice? This dish tastes like pure love. It tastes like the warmest hug from every vovo in Portugal. It is much looser than a risotto. A lot more stock is used but the rice is still kept perfectly al dente, not mushy. We discovered this pot of love at one of our favourite spots: À Parte Restaurante. This and their Bacalhau à Bras were two of the yummiest things I have ever eaten. Bacalhau à Bras is a very traditional dish of shredded salt cod, potatoes, onions and eggs. And it’s always topped with olives. The potatoes are grated and then fried crispy before everything is mixed together and then baked in the oven. This recipe will be hitting the blog soon because it’s something everyone needs to experience!
What you really don’t need to experience is the seafood soup at The Majestic Café. It’s a tourist trap, over priced and the food isn’t very good. So if you want to go there to take some pics (it’s very pretty) rather order a G&T and do some people watching instead of eating.
Café do Cais is a great spot along the Duoro River for wine sipping and tapas nibbling. Their blistered Padrón peppers are melt in the mouth delicious. And my favourite part? They serve their coffee with a cinnamon stick! How divine!
Above all else- if you visit Porto you have to try a Francesinha. It is specifically famous to Porto, it’s basically their official sandwich. The name means “little Frenchie.” It Porto’s version of the French croque. The bread is toasted super crispy and filled with layers of ham, linguiça and cheese. It’s finally served with a flavourful beer and tomato based broth that every chef puts their own spin on. The egg on top is optional much like the croque monsieur vs the croque madame, but it is highly recommended. I also suggest a Francesinha buddy- because you definitely need two of you to tackle one of these babies. The best one we had was from our favourite little cafe just below our apartment, Cafeteria Dona Antónia.
Porto is a magical city. If you ever have the opportunity to visit… do it! I cannot wait to go back. But first gym. Lots and lots of gym.