Porto, Portugal: where locals eat and drink
Discover our pick of where to eat and drink in Portugal's elegant second city, including local hotspots, chef favourites and new openings, plus a spotlight on a foodie neighbourhood
Looking for restaurants in Porto? Want to know where to eat in Portugal's northern city? Our local and in house experts share their insider tips for the best restaurants in Porto, along with where to find the best pastéis de nata (custard tarts), sandes de pernil (pork sarnies) and port houses. Now check out our foodie guide to Stockholm, Sweden.
olive's top 10 must-visits for foodies in Porto
We've included insider information about what to order where below, plus plenty more places to visit, but for those who want a quick insight into our favourite spots in the city, here is our pick...
The no-frills meal: Gazela
The bakery: Manteigaria
New chef hangout: Cozinha Das Flores
The hottest seat in town: Taberna dos Mercadores
Where the locals really eat: Augusto
The tour worth booking: Taylor’s port house
The table with a view: My Coffee Porto
The brunch spot: Rosa et Al
The food market: Mercado do Bolhão
The microbrewery: Catraio
Local neighbourhood spotlight: Bombarda art district (NW Cedofeita)
Base yourself in Porto's arty network of cobbled streets brimming with independent shops, tavernas and bars. Book a room at boutique hotel, Rosa et Al, away from the tourist crowds but still within walking distance of the must-visit sites. Relax over breakfast in the hotel's walled garden, pop next door for coffee at Senzu Coffee Roasters or mooch up the road to popular brunch spot, Hakko. Browse the neighbourhood's galleries before seeking out sunny terraces to soak up the lively atmosphere – an olive tree provides shade for locals catching up over a glass of wine at Aduela, while Restaurante a Taska serves a great-value set lunch of hearty Portuguese traditional dishes under the jacaranda trees, which bloom bright purple during the spring months. No-frills bistros in the quieter residential streets include Adega Do Carregal and Lareira – Baixa, or chef Pedro Braga's Mito has a fancier feel for contemporary sharing dishes. Hole-in-the-wall Generosa Pão e Pizza churns out hunky cinnamon rolls and pizza slices all day, to provide sustenance before an evening of wines by the glass at local hub Genuíno wine bar.
Where to stay in Porto
Rosa et Al Townhouse
This six-room hotel is a lesson in boutique design. Rooms blessed with original wooden floorboards, cornicing and sash windows that lead to balconies are made even more beautiful with claw-footed baths, contemporary furniture and local art. There's a trendy food shop that doubles with a reception desk. For breakfast and brunch, 50 jars of tea (some made with herbs from the garden) cover a large serving table; you can choose your own Portuguese tinned cod or sardines; and there’s a dinky walled garden out back where you can sit around tiled tables, eating eggs with spruced-up sides and drinking freshly squeezed orange juice in the sunshine.
Doubles from £111, check availability at booking.com.
Our pick of Porto's best restaurants, cafés and bars
Fans of Lisbon’s cult custard tart shop, Manteigaria, will be pleased to know that Porto has its own branch now. Watch chefs work with spirals of butter and pastry (the kitchen walls are made entirely from glass), transforming them into crisp wheels that are then filled with cinnamon-spiked custard. Stand at the counter and down an espresso, or head to the adjoining minimalistic canteen to savour your tart with a glass of port.
A Casa Guedes – for sandes de pernil (Portuguese pork sandwiches)
Queue alongside locals for this traditional tavern, if only for the crunchy bread rolls stuffed with juicy roast pork leg and a one euro glass of Portuguese wine (try the ever-so-slightly-sparkling vinho verde). Perch on one of four stools at the tiled counter and watch your roll come to life: the bread is cut and filled with a thick slice of cheese, then passed down to the tavern owner, who carves the pork and heaps slices of the stuff directly into your sandwich, with plenty of roasting juices. There’s a patio around the side for sun worshippers. facebook.com/a-casa-guedes
Flor dos Congregados – for traditional tavern vibes
At Flor dos Congregados, every dish is cooked with passion. Try the terylene sandwich, a double-layered roast pork and ham affair that takes a full day to cook; or a slice of sericaia cake (a kind of egg pudding) and a glass of chilled port. 11 Travessa dos Congregados, 00 351 222 002 822
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O Paparico – for fine dining with locals
At O Paparico you have to knock on the door as you would at a friend’s house. Exquisite presentation and sophisticated cooking hint at Michelin aspirations, that locals kept secret as long as they could. Try the octopus ceviche with olive oil, onion and coriander.
Clamber up the steep, cobble street on the Gaia side of the Douro river (accessed by crossing the Luís I bridge) to reach Taylor’s port house and its peaceful, rose-filled courtyard. Pull up a chair (mind the resident cockerel, who likes to make his voice heard occasionally) and order the Introduction to Taylor’s tasting flight – five ports ranging from simple white to easy-drinking LBV, brown tawny (popular amongst Brits) and a sought-after 20-year old vintage. taylor.pt
Sol e Sombra Bifanas – for bifana sandwiches
You probably won’t be able to order anything specific at this bar, perched on one of Porto’s many hills, unless you speak fluent Portuguese. But trust in the warm owner. He’ll bring you seriously cheap bifana bread roll sandwiches, filled with pork steak and cooking liquor – which simmers happily in the window, luring customers inside – flavoured with garlic, chilli and secret spices. Bacalhau (croquettes of salted cod) are pre-made and served cold, and even if you ordered a round of vinho verde (like we did), or bottles of Super Bock beer, you’d still have change from a €20 euro note. Look out for the caracóis (aka Portuguese snails), too! facebook.com/Sol-e-Sombra-Bifanas
Taberna do Largo – for pre-dinner drinks and snacks
At modern drinking hole Taberna do Largo, the menu takes you on a journey through Portugal via some of the country’s best small-scale producers. Local wines, cheeses, meats, olive oils and even teas are covered... order a Porto tonico while you choose. 69 Largo de São Domingos, 00 351 222 082 154
Cafetaria da Bolsa – for a traditional Portuguese meal
With an unassuming frontage, other than a blackboard with that day’s specials, this small, family-run restaurant is the perfect spot if you want simply cooked fish and seafood at great prices. The tiny open-plan kitchen occupies one corner of the room, and from it comes giant prawns, still in their amber coats of armour, which arrive fighting for space on giant plates alongside hunks of garlic and bay leaves. Sweet clams, clattering in their pretty ivory shells, come cooked in garlic, chopped herbs and olive oil. Try the sardines, grilled and tender, with new potatoes, grilled peppers and onions, and chips on the side (because if you can’t double carb on holiday, when can you?). And, for something a little more unusual, try the salted codfish mashed with potatoes, boiled egg, black olives and plenty of herbs. Largo São Domingos 23, 4050-253 Porto
If you’ve already sorted your accommodation, it’s worth soaking up Rosa et Al’s chic and cosy vibe over brunch. 50 jars of tea (some made with herbs from the garden) cover a large serving table; you can choose your own Portuguese tinned cod or sardines; and there’s a dinky walled garden out back where you can sit around tiled tables, eating eggs with spruced-up sides and drinking freshly squeezed orange juice in the sunshine. rosaetal.pt
PROVA – for wine
There’s more to Portugal’s wines than port. Explore the distinct qualities of each of the country’s wine regions at this cosy bar, kicking off with a glass of dão and a carefully paired selection of cured meats. prova.com.pt
Cantina 32 – for a trendy dinner
This laid-back restaurant is popular among young, trendy locals, with two sittings (one at 8pm, the other at 10pm to reflect the Mediterranean way of life) around large communal tables and smaller spots for two or four people. Start with fresh, warm bread and banana butter, before diving into large terracotta sharing dishes, including roast octopus with sweet potatoes. There are modern twists on classic Portuguese plates, too – try fresh pink tuna with pineapple, seafood and chorizo stew, and cheesecakes disguised as plant pots. cantina32.com
Padaria Ribeiro – for traditional bakes
Get some energy for sightseeing along Porto’s cobblestone streets with breakfast at Padaria Ribeiro, open since 1878. Order the pirilampos (little worm-shaped crunchy biscuits), or a lanche – a sandwich-like snack filled with ham, sausage and bacon. padariaribeiro.com
The 19th-century Mercado do Bolhão dazzles with fruit and veg, cured hams, regional cheeses and freshly caught fish. Take a break at Bolhão wine house and snack on smoked ham from the butcher across the hall, sardines from the nearby fishing village of Matosinhos, and a glass of Moscatel do Douro. 1 Loja, 00 351 222 009 975
Tavi – for donuts an sunsets
The juxtaposition of the Douro river and the Atlantic ocean make for some spectacular sunsets, especially in the Foz district. At the Parque da Cidade, this bakery is famous for its bolas de Berlim (custard-filled donuts) and ocean-view terrace. confeitariatavi.com
Tascö – for pestiscos (tapas)
With its stylish décor, great music, top-notch staff and traditional Portuguese food, this bar is wildly popular. Petiscos – tapas-like portions of larger dishes – are the thing here. Try the pataniscas (similar to a frittata, with cod or octopus), or moelas (stewed gizzards in a spicy tomato sauce). soldoutarena.com
Written by André Apolinário in 2016. Updated by Alex Crossley in August 2023 and Laura Rowe in March 2019
Photographs by Getty, Alex Crossley and Laura Rowe