The best traditional restaurants in Porto

Food & Wine

August 28, 2018
sara riobom blogger portoalities

Written by Sara Riobom

Written by Sara Riobom

sara riobom blogger portoalities

I organize private tours in Porto

private tours porto

Check this page for more information or send an email to sara@portoalities.com.

As Der Spiegel quite rightfully wrote, Porto is being flooded by tourists which is phenomenal for the local economy, but it also brings its downsides, such as an up rise of tourists traps.

This is the main reason why I think it is my moral obligation to write about the few surviving traditional restaurants in Porto, hoping that you might like them as much as we do and contribute to its survival.

A few things before we dive into the amazing world of the traditional restaurants in Porto:

  • Don’t expect vegetarian / vegan / gluten free options in traditional restaurants in Porto. Out of courtesy they might come up with an omelet or with a fresh salad to accommodate your dietary restrictions – but then again you will not really be taking advantage of eating in such restaurants, would you? Therefore if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, I strongly recommend you to stick to the restaurants mentioned of our Survival Guide for Vegetarians, in order to avoid having a disappoint meal.
  • These are traditional restaurants in Porto, so don’t expect to find proper English menus. Instead, make sure you are patient enough to use google translator and creative communication techniques with the waiters!

Before reading this article: have you already decided where to stay? If not, read my article about the Best neighborhoods to stay in Porto! There I give you plenty of recommendations of great hotels and apartments in Porto.

With this in mind, it’s time to unveil the best traditional restaurants in Porto:

O Ernesto

Rua da Picaria, 85

traditional fish chips ernesto porto

© TripAdvisor

best traditional restaurants porto ernesto

© TripAdvisor

I’ve been going to Ernesto since I am a little girl, to eat hake fillets with my family. In fact, Ernesto is one of the few Portuguese restaurants that has been part of the families from Porto from generation to generation.

The restaurant’s menu consists of the traditional Portuguese flavours couple with daily dishes that depend on the day of the week:

  • Monday: bacalhau à Gomes Sá (traditional codfish dish from Porto) and coelho assado no forno (roasted rabbit)
  • Tuesday: tripas à moda do porto (beef’s stomach cooked in a stew with white beans, carrots and cumin)
  • Wednesday: filetes de pescada com arroz de feijão, de grelos ou de legumes (hake fillets with vegetables’ or beans’ rice)
  • Thursday: filetes de polvo com arroz do mesmo (octopus fillets) and cozido à portuguesa (amazing Portuguese dish with different types of meats and sausages served with rice, potatoes and boiled vegetables)
  • Friday: arroz de pato (roasted duck rice)
  • Saturdays: rojões (pork cubes cooked in pork lard) and cabrito assado no forno (baby goat cooked in the oven, it’s to die for!)

There are those who recommend Ernesto’s famous fruit salad to finish off the meal, but I prefer a burnt crème brûlée. It never fails to amaze me!

How to get there: Aliados metro station is a 5min walk away.

Cozinha do Manel

Rua do Heroísmo, 215

roasted meat cozinha do manel porto

© Cozinha do Manel Facebook

famous portuguese traditional restaurant porto cozinha do manel

© Expresso

One of the most traditional restaurants in Porto is hidden in Bonfim, the neighborhood that divides the tourist area from the the oriental part of the city. I’m talking about Cozinha do Manel, a restaurant that has been cheering Porto’s palates for the past 30 years.

Cozinha do Manel is one of the most welcoming traditional restaurants in Porto: you enter through a narrow hallway, from where you can take a sneak peek at the delicious desserts displayed on the fridge. The hallway gives access to a cozy dining room, covered in granite and tiles.

The starters are simply to die for: alheira assada (traditional Portuguese sausage) from Trás os Montes and queijo da Serra (soft sheep cheese) are a mandatory presence at my dining table.

As main dishes I recommend cabrito assado no forno (baby goat cooked in the oven – you need to order it with at least two days in advance!), arroz de pato (roasted duck rice) and vitela assada (roasted veal – even though, to be honest, it always feels a bit rubbery). If you prefer to go for fish, then I highly recommend to try bacalhau assado no forno (oven roasted codfish) or hake / octopus fillets.

You should not leave Cozinha do Manel without trying its fabulous rabanadas – the Portuguese twist on French toasts -, served throughout the entire year.

How to get there: Heroísmo metro station is a 5min walk away.

Adega do Carregal

Travessa do Carregal, 102

traditional rice chicken porto adega do carregal

© Expresso

top traditional restaurants porto adega do carregal

© Expresso

I ate my very first rojões in Adega do Carregal, a couple of years ago. Even though I am not a huge fan of this traditional Portuguese dish, that consists of pork’s cubes cooked in pork lard, I couldn’t resist to try one of the famous dishes at one of the best traditional restaurants in Porto.

At Adega do Carregal I recommend you to try the codfish dishes as well as posta à mirandesa (an amazing steak with a olive oil & vinegar sauce). There are always daily dishes like the infamously good tripas à moda do Porto (beef’s stomach cooked in a stew with white beans, carrots and cumin) and anho assado no forno (roasted lamb).

The service is very attentive, without fake pretentiousness; we’re at home.

How to get there: Aliados metro station is a 10min walk away.

Garfada do Ouro

Rua Senhor da Boa Morte, 84

This is one of the well-kept secrets of Porto: Helder, one of the former owners of the amazing restaurant O Carteiro, fell in love with an Italian woman and they both created a new project that rescues the concepts of sustainable food using local, seasonal and biological ingredients.

Helder opens the doors if his house – and what a house, located in Foz Velha – every Tuesday and Thursday night.

They are often wonderful events for meeting new people, but it is also a good place to have private dinners with friends or business colleagues.

You have to subscribe to attend these amazing dinners so there is no point in showing up unannounced. To book your place, send an email to geral@garfadadoouro.pt. The dinners cost € 60 / person, which include all dishes plus wines. Do not forget to use the code PORTOALITIES5 which gives you a discount of 5 € / person on your meal.

In order to have dinner at Helder’s place just send an email to geral@garfadadoouro.pt to check his availability.

How to get there: take the tram Line 1 until Ouro. The house is a 2min walking distance.

Badalhoca

Rua da Picaria, 26 | Rua Dr. Alberto Macedo, 437

best sandwiches traditional-restaurants porto badalhoca

© Expresso

Purists will have to forgive me, but the way I see it, one could not miss Badalhoca in this list of best traditional restaurants in Porto.

It is true that Badalhoca is not quite a restaurant, it a down-to-earth tavern where we lay our appetite in smoked ham sandwiches and small plates of pork liver baits or octopus cooked with green sauce. Always watered with a tap Super Bock – the traditional beer from Porto-, as if we order a soft drink we are greeted with a bell ring that will embarrass you in front of everyone. It’s really worth going there!

How to get there: For the downtown location,  Aliados metro station is a 5min walk away. For the other location, take bus 502 (direction Matosinhos Mercado) until Gomes da Costa bus stop. The restaurant is 6min walking distance.

O Gaveto

Rua Roberto Ivens, 824 | Matosinhos

steamed clams seafood restaurant gaveto matosinhos

© Gaveto

main room gaveto best seafood restaurant porto

© Gaveto

O Gaveto is undoubtedly my favorite restaurant in Porto. It helps the fact that fish and seafood always have primacy on my table and that Gaveto serve both in an irreproachable way.

In this beautiful (almost) seafront restaurant, I strongly recommend you to try the amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (steamed clams with a garlic and white wine sauce – who would have guessed that such a simple dish could be so delicious!), the monkfish rice and the pièce de resistance, the seafood açorda (bread stew with seafood and loads of spices).

In my opinion Gaveto is also one of the most interesting traditional restaurants in Porto as it has a superb wine list, making it a mandatory stop for wine lovers like myself.

How to get there: Matosinhos Sul metro station is a 5min walk away.

O Buraquinho

Praça dos Poveiros, 33

traditional portuguese blood sausages buraquinh porto

© Zomato

buraquinh underground traditional restaurant porto

© Buraquinh Facebook

Another controversial option on this list of the best traditional restaurants in Porto is Buraquinho, an impeccable tavern in the Bonfim neighborhhod.

The reason that makes me come back to this tiny room in a basement, practically without ventilation and with very few tables available, is the honesty of the flavors served: the combinados dishes (tiny plates filled with different types of Portuguese sausages and cured meats, alheira com ovo (Portuguese sausage served with a fried egg on top), mushrooms sautéed in white wine make out for a meal shared among friends.

At Buraquinho, I only regret the absence of a proper wine list and a couple desserts, which would prolong my stay in this secret corner of Porto.

How to get there: metro station 24 Agosto is a 5min walk away.

Manuel Alves

Avenida de Fernão de Magalhães, 782

traditional portuguese dish porto manuel alves

© Manuel Alves Facebook

traditional food porto manuel alves

© Manuel Alves Facebook

Hidden from the tourist sights, in the Paranhos neighborhood, is one of the best traditional restaurants in Porto, Manuel Alves.

The menu of this restaurant is very diverse, consisting of countless fish options (baked shrimp and cod are always safe bets) and meat (we particularly like the veal medallions and the roasted beef).

How to get there: Campanhã and Estádio do Dragão metro stations are both a 15-minute walk away.


Now, being the considerate blogger I am, thinking ahead of my readers’ needs is my motto. And so with that in mind, I decided to give you some tips of what to do after you’ve had your wonderful and filling meal! Onwards then, travellers, and learn the best (and cheapest!) ways to discover the city:

One way is to get a combo ticket that allows you to visit Calém Port wine lodge followed by a Port wine tasting while watching a Fado show. This allows you to save A LOT of money as a visit to a Port wine lodge costs 15/18€, and a Fado show with dinner costs around 30€/person. By getting this online combo ticket for the Port wine lodge + Fado show you pay only 21€ – this is really cheap, people!

You can get the whole package with this ticket of a city train tour, river cruise and wine cellar visit. It is a great combo if you want to get the most of a single day and it’s very cheap – only 22€. I absolutely recommend you buy the combo ticket because if you buy separately you will be paying double that price (over 40€). If water is not really your thing, you can get a similar experience by getting a ticket to the magic train tour and Port Wine tasting.

Another great deal is to get a combo ticket for the Hop On Hop Off Bus, river cruise and Port wine cellar for 25,20€. This is incredibly cheap because the river cruise costs 15€, a visit to a Port wine lodge around 15/18€ and the Hop on Hop off Bus around 18€ / day. Save yourself some bucks by getting this online ticket.

Enjoy the city!

Extra: Go on a private tour in Porto

private tour porto

The best way to get to know Porto is to go on a private tour with me!

Check this page to learn more about my tours in Porto, or simply send an email to sara@portoalities.com. I will shortly get back to you with a tailor made tour designed specifically for you.

It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto!


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2019-06-29T23:11:40+00:00August 28th, 2018|Food & Wine|0 Comments
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