Eating and drinking are two of our favorite things to do on vacation and I always take the challenge seriously, since we only have a limited amount of time to check out new places, so planning ahead is a given.
Porto is a great city, full of top-of-the-line food experiences. There are tons of places to eat and drink in Porto. But take it from me — there are too many options to randomly pick. Here are some of the best eating and drinking experiences in Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia that I highly recommend incorporating into your plans. This is all the thought you’ll need to put into the culinary side of your trip.
There’s really no better way to experience the food and Port wine of this city than on a food tour with Eating Europe. I’ve been on many of their tours and each one has been incredible. Their Porto Food & Wine Tour is a combination port wine and food tasting journey in the Vila Nova de Gaia village of Porto, where all the major Port houses are.
You might also like: Fun Things to do In Porto.
Want to start planning a trip to Porto? Check out these tours your can book in advance through GetYourGuide.com:
Where to Eat and Drink in Porto, Portugal
Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant
Gastronomic Restaurant at the Yeatman Hotel
The Gastronomic Restaurant at the Yeatman Hotel has earned one Michelin star for the creative cooking directed by Chef Ricardo Costa. Located up on the hillside of Vila Nova de Gaia, the restaurant has a fantastic view of the city from its lovely dining room and outdoor terrace. Being a Michelin Star restaurant, you can be sure the experience will be luxurious and sophisticated, and the food will be gourmet, with creative and delectable use of local ingredients.
The chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings is the only way to go, as you’ll likely only dine here once and you’ll want to try the most creative dishes the chef is putting out. (Check out the Yeatman Hotel on Trip Advisor. It was the most incredible hotel!)
Visit a Top Portuguese Chef's Restaurant
DOP by Riu Paula
I always like to visit the restaurant of one of the city’s most acclaimed chefs. Usually, this gives you a good sense of the gourmet dining scene and a chance to try what is considered some of the best fine dining food in the city. In Porto, that is Riu Paula’s DOP.
At DOP, Riu Paula features the classic flavors of Portuguese cuisine in traditional dishes. He owns another restaurant called DOC in the Douro Valley that focuses more on modern techniques and dishes. We didn’t choose the tasting menu, but instead opted to create our own by selecting off the a la carte menu. We had so many great dishes that it’s hard to choose what was my favorite, but some stand outs were the octopus carpaccio and mushroom risotto with crispy duck.
Eat on the Waterfront
RIB Beef & Wine
When you arrive in Porto and start discovering the city, you’ll quickly zero in on the waterfront area, where you’ll see many of the Port houses beckoning from across the water in Vila Nova de Gaia. This is one of the most coveted spots in town, and you’ll definitely want to linger here for a while. You can do that at RIB Beef & Wine restaurant at the Pestana Vintage Hotel, which also happens to be one of our top hotel recommendations in Porto. It has one of the best spots on the waterfront.
The restaurant and cocktail bar occupies part of a block of 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings that have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The restaurant’s main focus is aged beef, like the Tomahawk Irish Black Angus and Chateaubriand. You can sit outside and enjoy the views and the people watching, or you can sit inside the lovely restaurant. I hear their bartender is really great at making cocktails. I didn’t have one – I stuck with the amazing Portugal wines.
Taste Some Portuguese Specialties
Bacalhau – Salt Cod
Bacalhau is a traditional Portuguese dish and you’ll find it on most of the restaurants in town. Some restaurants are entirely devoted to the salt cod, like the place called Bacalhau on the Ribeira in Porto, where it’s the only thing on the menu. They have a wonderful view, are situated right on the waterfront and will make you feel like you’re getting the authentic Porto experience.
The cod is cooked in many different preparations. If you have time, try a couple! It’s not overly salty, and is often served with fried potatoes or roasted vegetables. No matter which preparation you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
There’s no other sandwich that’s quite so well known around Portugal as the Francesinha. A messier and tastier version of a Croque Monsieur, the Francesinha was created in Porto and continues to be one of the most loved sandwiches in the city. It consists of bread, layered with pork, ham and steak, then topped with melted cheese and a tomato and beer gravy.
It’s often served with fries and the local beer, Super Bock. Like the salt cod, there are dozens of places around town to get a Francesinha, but perhaps the most authentic experience is at Cafe Santiago, a no-frills cafe in downtown Porto.
Sample the Port Wine
Portologia: a Cozy and Welcoming Wine Bar
Not that there isn’t enough places along the waterfront to try port wine, but sometimes you want a place where you can sit down and relax in a cozy wine bar instead of standing at a tasting bar. For this, you’ll want to stop by Portologia located at 46 Rua de Sao Joao in Porto.
This is the place to try a bunch of the small local Port producers that don’t necessarily have a tasting room. They have an extensive menu of options, but conveniently also feature flights of wine with small appetizers that pair well with the wines.
Taylor’s Port House
There are two Port wine houses that have restaurants, both with incredibly views of the Douro River and lovely outdoor patios were you’ll definitely want to spend your lunch hour when the weather is nice. Taylor’s Barao Fladgate Restaurant is located just up the hill from the waterfront Port houses. There is indoor and outdoor seating and a full menu for lunch.
Graham’s Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar is also open for lunch and dinner and has an incredible view to enjoy with your meal. The best part is that once you’ve finished your lunch, you can go on a tour of the Port house and see where the aging process takes place.
Some of our favorite port wine houses to visit were Graham’s port house, Taylor’s port house and Kopke port house. You can easily walk between these, and many more, in a day. Highly recommended!
Eat Fresh Seafood in Matosinho
Eat Fresh Seafood in Matosinho
One of the best places to get fresh seafood in Porto is in Matosinho, north of the city on the coast. There’s one street in Matosinho that is completely packed with seafood restaurants. Each has a make-shift grilling station set up outside their restaurant where they grill the fish to perfection. Take your pick of the fresh seafood that is on display and then have them grill it up with some salt and olive oil, and you have the best meal you can imagine. Pair it with some Caldo Verde or Fish Soup, some grilled potatoes and vegetables, and a great bottle of Portuguese wine.
There are many restaurants to choose from. The options can be overwhelming. Try Os Lusíadas. The name was inspired by a poem by beloved national poet Luís de Camões. You’ll find only the freshest, straight off the boat seafood on display at the front of the restaurant, so you can choose what you want to eat. I had barnacles for the first time here – amazing!
Address: Rua de Tomaz Ribeiro 257, 4450-297 Matosinhos, Portugal
So many fantastic options for where to eat and drink in Porto, Portugal! I hope you have a chance to try out every one of them. Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are easy to get around, so it’s not out of the question to hit up all of these places in a week-long trip.
Report back on where your favorite place to eat and drink in Porto is. Our growling stomachs want to know!
Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal
If you’re looking for a recommendation on where to stay while you’re in Porto, we’ve got you covered. We’ve stayed in numerous parts of the city and have found our favorites that we’ll return to again and again. Below are our top two. There’s really no reason to look any further. These are fantastic hotels.
- InterContinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas: Not only is this a gorgeous hotel, it’s in the most prime location possible in Porto for tourists. ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor. Book a stay on Booking.com.
- Pestana Vintage Hotel & World Heritage Site: Stay here if you want to be close to the water with easy access to Vila Nova de Gaia. ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor. Book a stay on Booking.com.
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.