Fine dining in Douro Valley

Douro Valley

May 25, 2016

Portoalities On The Road: Douro Valley

Portoalities On The Road: Douro Valley

Visit the Douro Valley is quite an experience, from wine tasting in the finest vineyards in the region, to the recreational activities (rather than drinking Port wine!).

I couldn’t finish my itinerary in the region without writing about two best restaurants in the Douro Valley. They are completely different but are both amazing for fine dining in Douro Valley.

Lunch: DOC

Cais da Folgosa, Estrada Nacional 222 | +351 254 858 123

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DOC has been surprising the Douro Valley since 2007, by the hands of the talented – and internationally recognised – chef Rui Paula . At riverside, with a huge terrace that invites you for contemplation, DOC welcomed me with all the warmth and relaxation.

The menu of complex flavours, combines elements of Portuguese cuisine with unusual ingredients such as tupinambo, a tuber from Peru used during the 2nd World War, due to the shortage of potatoes.

And the cherry on the top: the amazing sommelier of the house, who so most wonderfully mastered the combination of exquisite flavours with Douro wines. Superb fine dining experience in Douro Valley!

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The written menu anticipated the festival of flavors that would follow. Starting with the welcome of the chef: the famous Portuguese “caldo verde” (green broth), encapsulated in a salty and very crunchy cookie. Delicious!

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Meat dish: milk lamb with tupinambo. Fish dish: grilled octopus with an olive oil infusion.

During lunch I had the pleasure to have a conversation with Rui Paula himself, who explained me the origin of this project. “When I first came here, the Douro Valley didn’t have great gastronomic traditions, despite the excellent wines. So I dared to diversify the culinary offerings of the region, taking in good products and giving them a new look. Always celebrating with Douro wines, of course!”.

We also spoke of his most recent projects: DOP in Porto, and Boa Nova in Leça da Palmeira. But I’ll talk about them in future posts, mere excuses to revisit the art of Rui Paula. Congratulations, Rui, for the excellent work and for providing an unforgettable fine dining in the Douro Valley!
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Dinner: Castas & Pratos

Rua José Vasques Osório, Peso da Régua | +351 254 323 290

P1100873My experience at Castas & Pratos was faultless. Starting with the space, built on a former railway’s warehouse (the terrace is constructed in an old container!), which invites to the intimacy of a dinner for two or a fun group dinner.

Versatility, in Castas & Pratos’ dishes, is one of the reasons why I consider it one of the best restaurants in the Douro Valley: in addition to the restaurant and terrace, a wine bar with more than 30 wines by the glass. Fabulous for fine dining in the Douro Valley!

The menu highlights the beautiful Portuguese ingredients such as giant prawn from the Algarve coast to transmontanas “alheiras”, which are yellow sausages without pork meat (served with baby goat cooked in Port wine).
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And finally, a divine trilogy of citrus, which certainly will make me go back…:)castas1As my travels are made of people I would like to leave a special note of thanks to Luis, from Castas & Pratos, who most wonderful and passionately guided me on this wine & gastronomic adventure. He is a true ambassador not only to this restaurant, but to the Douro Valley region. Thank you so much, Luis!

Should I rent a car to go to the Douro Valley?

I’m all in for public transports when they’re a real alternative, but unfortunately that’s not the case in the Douro Valley.

Sure, it’s possible to catch the train to Régua or to Pinhão (the main cities in the Douro Valley), or you can take a boat cruise. But in order to get to the vineyards in the Douro Valley you definitely need a private transport, as the public ones are non existent.

Therefore, if you’re not planning a trip to the Douro Valley with a guide that can take you around (like myself), I strongly recommend you to rent a car. You can do it using this link, as it provides you with discounts above 15%.

Join me on a private Douro Valley tour!

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Instead of wasting time organising your day trip to the Douro Valley, just send an email to sara@portoalities.com with the date you want to visit the region.

I will create a Douro Valley tour that includes transport to & from Porto, tastings in the best vineyards in the region, lunch at a typical Portuguese restaurant and some surprises along the way 🙂

2017-08-31T09:27:22+00:00 May 25th, 2016|Douro Valley|0 Comments
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