City centre eats and drinks
Gastronomes and oenophiles are in for a treat in Porto as the city and its surroundings have long been a paradise for food and drink lovers.
For the city’s residents, eating out is an everyday, largely inexpensive pleasure and, as such, there is a cornucopia of restaurants, cafés, bars and terraces almost everywhere you look in the city. And since Porto is Portugal’s second city, there is a truly international flavour to enjoy alongside the traditional Portuguese cuisine.
While meat and seafood tend to dominate the menus, there is a growing number of outlets that cater for newly emerging, health-oriented eating trends as well, so those with specific dietary requirements won’t struggle to find something to their tastes too. Here are some of our favourite eateries in the city (and beyond).
Steak lovers are well catered for in Porto and top of the list is KOB (Knowledge of Beef) by Olivier, part of the Olivier da Costa chain or restaurants. Choose from the finest cuts of meat from Portugal, Spain and around the world, including Argentina, USA, Japan and Australia. Opened in 2019, this is a cool, cosy and sophisticated eatery in the heart of the city that’s a must for meat lovers.
Sophisticated décor, outstanding food and great service combine at Nogueira’s, located just around the corner from KOB. Bringing together the finest meats, selected seafood, unique cocktails and a cool, cosmopolitan vibe has been a winning formula since it opened. We recommend the picanha and entrana cuts from Nogueira’s thoughtfully composed menu.
If your meat cravings are more basic, head to the Miragaia district and take a table at Belos Aires restaurant, where you’ll find some of the tastiest steaks in town alongside other Argentinian dishes. Here you dine in simple, tasteful surroundings, enjoy friendly service and can sample a great range of Portuguese and Argentinian wines to accompany your meal.
For traditional Portuguese fare served in an informal atmosphere at very reasonable prices, you can’t beat Casa Guedes Tradicional in Praça dos Poveiros. Famous for its Pernil roast pork sandwiches, a Porto speciality, Casa Guedes serves other sandwiches including Francesinhas, which you can wash down with quality, affordable wines.
But for the best Francesinha in town, you need to head around the corner to Brasao Coliseu. This gargantuan sandwich dates back to 1953 when a local from Porto returned from travelling around Europe and wanted to adapt the Croque-Monsieur to more Portuguese tastes. The resulting dish consists of bread, wet-cured ham, smoked and fresh sausage, steak or roast meat, melted cheese and a fried egg swimming in a spicy tomato and beer gravy. This place is extremely popular and booking is essential.
If you’re on the hunt for more exotic flavours, another from the Olivier stable may well fit the bill. Yakuza in Porto is one of five similar restaurants and offers diners traditional Japanese dishes such as sushi and sashimi with the signature Olivier twist. It’s on the pricier side, but the décor, atmosphere and outstanding service mean the overall experience is worth it.yz
Lovers of Italian food are spoilt for choice in Porto, a city that perfectly complements the spontaneity and flair that characterises the cuisine. One of the best examples in the city is Obicà, part of the international chain, which offers traditional Italian dishes, pizzas and pastas made with the finest ingredients. The downtown location, outdoor terrace, great service and value for money make this place one of the best Italians in the city.
Just around the corner from our guesthouse is Okra, the place to go in Porto if you’re looking for the best wood-fired pizzas. Its huge windows flood the cool, designer interior with light during the day, while it takes on a cosier ambiance in the evening. Good starters, sumptuous desserts (especially the chocolate mousse) and a fine cocktail list add to the experience, but the real stars are the pizzas: light, crispy dough, fresh mozzarella and inspired flavour combinations make Okra a pizza-lovers dream.
La Cocina Mexicana is your thing, Porto has some superb options that will tantalise your tastebuds.
Created by the same team as Utopian Hotels, the outstanding Sicario Taqueria Mexicana in Matosinhos was Restaurant and Bar of the Year in the Portugal Prestige Awards 2020/21 – and with good reason. Feast on street food snacks or traditional Mexican fare (including vegetarian and vegan options) all washed down with fantastic cocktails, mocktails or tequilas.
Closer to the hotel is Frida, which is perfect for those seeking the true gastronomic Mexican experience. Paying homage to the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the owners have imprinted their artistic outlook on the décor and the menu, which offers traditional and contemporary Mexican flavours alongside a varied range of drinks to accompany the dishes. We particularly recommend the enmoladas and the margaritas.
Step through the doors at Boa Bao and it’s like you’ve just walked into an Asian food market that would be more at home thousands of miles away. Part of the successful international chain, Boa Bao in Porto takes you on a journey through Asian cuisine in surroundings that contribute to the overall experience. While the service can be patchy, this is the best place in town for an authentic Asian culinary adventure.
It’s thirsty work making your way through all that Porto has to offer, but thankfully you won’t have to travel far to find the perfect drinking place. From cool, sophisticated bars to bustling taverns and terraces, Porto has a rich and varied choice of venues where you can slake your thirst. Here are a few of our favourites.
Just off the Rua do Cedofeita, Monarca is a warm, cosy bar with a great terrace in a fantastic location and with friendly staff. Stylish without being over the top and with occasional live music, this is a terrific place to relax and unwind in the evening.
Something of a Porto institution, Base is a relaxed, open-air bar in the Praça de Lisboa that serves a wide range of cocktails, wine, beers, cider and coffee. Although service can be slow, especially when it’s sunny and the place is crowded, the ambiance is amazing and you get great views of the Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos.
Just over the river in Vila Nova de Gaia is the Yeatman Hotel. While many flock there for its Michelin-starred cuisine, you don’t have to eat here to experience a taste of the high life. Instead, head for the terrace where you can sip cocktails while viewing the spectacular sunset that seems to turn the Douro river gold.