Porto is home to some of the best food in Portugal. In addition to being the birthplace of port wine, it is known for its fresh seafood offerings, which can be found in many great restaurants throughout the city. I visited Porto and had a chance to explore its culinary delights. Here are some of my favorite places I dined while in the beautiful Portuguese city. I highly recommend them for a great bite to eat!
This riverfront restaurant is named for one of the country’s most popular foods, Bacalhau. It is codfish and there are reportedly hundreds of different ways of preparing it. I ate my fair share of it cooked in different ways during my time in Portugal and I must say, my fav was the bacalhau fresco served here. (I liked it so much, I went back for more!) It is made with onion and egg yolk and served with a potato side that is something of a fry and potato au gratin combination. My husband had an oxtail dish, which, in true wifey fashion, I had to steal some of. It was ridiculously flavorful, juicy, and tender! The restaurant is small and intimate with an elegant yet casual atmosphere. There is also limited outdoor seating available that offers diners great views of the Douro River and Dom Luis I Bridge.
Grupo Desportivo Infante d. Henrique
This eatery is named after a local sporting group. It was recommended to us by locals as a good place to go for an authentic Portuguese meal, and it did not disappoint. I ordered the seafood rice, another popular Portuguese dish. The rice was cooked into a stew with shrimp, mussels, clams, and imitation crab meat, and served in the small pot it was made in. I’m not a huge fan of imitation crab meat; nonetheless, it didn’t detract from the deliciousness of the dish. We were served by the owner himself, who was so kind and friendly. We shared laughs despite the language barrier of our limited Portuguese and his limited English, and before we departed, he gifted our seven-month-old daughter a toy. Grupo Desportivo Infante d. Henrique is also located on the Cais da Ribiera, just a few doors down from Bacalhau.
Speaking of the Cais da Ribiera, while visiting Porto, you’ll definitely want to cross the bridge and check out what’s on the other side of the river. Vila Nova de Gaia is a city in the Porto District, and it’s where you’ll find the vast majority of the wine cellars. It is also here that I stumbled upon the GraniDouro stand. It offered a huge selection of frozen treats from which I chose a pina colada-flavored slushy drink. However, the highlight of this stand was the Nutella fartura. Farturas have been described as a combination of funnel cake and churros. They are indeed very similar to churros, so much so that one might not notice the difference between the two. But farturas are generally larger and softer. Filled with warm Nutella, mine was mouthwateringly delicious!
Fabrica da Nata
One thing you absolutely have to try during your Portugal trip is a pastel da nata. It’s an egg custard tart pastry that consists of a sweet and creamy caramelized filling inside of a flaky crust. They’re amazing and found all over. Fabrica da Nata is considered one of the best places to get them. You might also try their pasteis de bacalhau, or codfish fritters, to experience codfish in a different form. This one uses the dried salted codfish, which is mixed with ingredients like garlic, onion, and potatoes, and fried until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
I know, I know…you didn’t travel all the way to Portugal to eat fast food you can get at home. But hear me out. Number one, the Rustic Chicken can’t be found on the menu in the States. (It was also of superior quality.) And number two, this McDonald’s is considered by many to be the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world. I visited primarily to see it for myself, and I can verify that it is definitely the fanciest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen. So, if you’re not impressed by the food, then the chandeliers, art deco stained-glass windows, and pristine cleanliness might do it. McDonald’s Imperial also sells beer and has a huge menu of McFlurry flavors the average Miccy D’s simply cannot compete with.