Before we talk about Good Eats in Porto, let’s talk about how this year known as 2020, a.k.a. the year from hell, has kept the world sheltering in place. And, while so many countries are now breaking out and starting to move again, the US, is still tied down. Actually, we can travel to Portugal because we maintain our Portuguese residency, but neither one of us has the inclination to take on an international flight.
Scratching the Travel Itch
Even when all is right with the world, I hate to fly. The idea of having to get a Covid-19 test, wear a mask for seven hours (I can barely stand it for 15 minutes) and worry about everything I touch, and airborne aerosols, is a daunting thought and we’re not ready to take that on.
We’ve been trying to scratch the travel itch with backroad explorations throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Some days it satisfies, some days not so much.
Good Eats in Porto
More than anywhere, we miss our beloved City of Porto. We miss the stunning beauty, the wonderful people and we even miss the steep hills and cobblestones. Of course, we also miss the good eats. We definitely have our favorite restaurants. While I can’t describe the food as light fare, Portuguese food is amazingly good. Let’s see if I can get you drooling as I lead you along our favorite good eats trail.
Pedro dos Frangos
I don’t remember in which year we found Pedro dos Frangos, but it has become a tradition for us. Flights from the US to Portugal are usually red eye flights so we tend to arrive in Porto exhausted, but we don’t allow ourselves to sleep. Once we settle in to our accommodations, which is usually around 3:00 in the afternoon, we head straight to Pedro dos Frangos for chicken, fries and salads. It doesn’t feel as if we’re officially in Porto until we enjoy good eats at dos Frangos. It also helps that they serve all day, while many restaurants close between lunch and dinner hours. Even though dos Frangos offers a varied menu, we can’t get past our mainstay.
We first learned of Abadia Restaurant by scrolling through Rick Steve’s book on Portugal. We were living in Porto at the time and we wanted to branch out and find a few new good eats choices. Abadia did not disappoint and it has become one of our favorites. We always recommend it. Well-known by locals and tourists alike, we’ve been told by servers that on any given Saturday, Abadia will serve 1,500 meals. Suffice it to say we never go on a weekend, and during the week we go toward the end of the lunch hours. The service is wonderful, so attentive. White table cloths, attention to details and very reasonable prices set Abadia apart.
A truly authentic eatery, A Tasquinha offers the real sense of Portuguese culture. Everything from the ambiance, to the staff, to the food, it’s all there. We love it and we never miss an opportunity to dine at A Tasquinha. The first time we went, we had no idea what to order and our server didn’t speak a word of English, and of course we didn’t (don’t) speak Portuguese. The couple next to us were enjoying a dish of chicken and vegetables, with French fries and rice. We pointed to their dishes and said, “Por favor.” That did it, we were hooked. Truthfully, we’ve had a dish or two that didn’t quite suit our palates, but more times than not we’ve licked the plates clean.
Migalhas was found quite by accident. We just happened to be strolling along and came upon their menu board on the sidewalk. Why not? A lovely little bistro with friendly service, Migalhas is definitely a local favorite. While I don’t eat fish, Abi enjoys a well-prepared fish plate and Migalhas has never disappointed. The decor is modern and clean with Portuguese touches. As a side note, they do not accept credit cards, so have cash in your wallet. Like so many eateries in Porto, prices are very reasonable, especially by western standards.
I believe it was during our first visit to Porto’s riverfront, we discovered Ribeira Square. They were closed at the time so we waited until 7:00 p.m. to be seated. A few small tables are set just in front of the restaurant and offer views of the river. Our meals were delicious. Funny thing is, while we can highly recommend Ribeira Square, we only went the one time. With a varied menu, the food is very good and the setting is quite nice. The prices are reflective of the touristy waterfront.
Once we learned our way around Porto, we’ve chosen to eat among the locals, away from the tourists as much as possible. With that being said though, Ribeira Square – which is set in the actual Ribeira Square – is a lovely place to experience dinner at the riverfront, which is something everyone should do at least once when visiting Porto.
Let’s Talk Hamburgers
Let’s talk hamburgers, shall we? I remember vividly turning the corner near the center of Porto and letting out a little shriek of delight when I saw Steak and Shake had opened its doors in Porto. It was such a surprise because you rarely see US chain eateries in Porto. At this moment I can’t think of another single one, except for Starbucks, but I’m not sure that counts. Anyway, I was delighted!
Munchie The Burger Kitchen
We’ve tried several burger joints in Porto and one of the best we’ve found is a cozy little spot known as Munchie The Burger Kitchen. It’s a cozy burger bistro with tables both indoors and outdoors. Weather permitting, outdoor seating always gives a window on the world while enjoying a yummy burger cooked to order and stacked with one’s favorite toppings. At the time of our last visit, Munchie did not have a deep fryer so no French fries, but the chips are very good.
Restaurante do Molhe
One of our most favorite ways to spend a day is to ride the Metro to Matosinhos and walk back to Porto. It’s an easy 4 mile walk that follows the coastline. On a clear sunny day it’s the best experience. Right about the halfway point is our favorite brunch spot, Restaurante do Molhe. It’s an absolutely lovely spot to watch the waves break along the shore, while enjoying steak and eggs for brunch with Mojitos and beer.
Dessert and Coffee
If you’ve gotten this far and you are not yet actually drooling, let me tempt you with you a few of our favorite places for sweet good eats. Leitaria da Quinta has the best of Porto chocolate eclairs filled with sweet homemade cream. Fabrica de Nata, by far, has the best custard cups of goodness. And, although it is a European chain, Costa offers up a two-handled cup of coffee, or in my case hot chocolate goodness. Each of these delightful cafes sets the stage for lingering over a fantastic dessert, or just a cup of coffee. All across the City of Porto you’ll find similar desserts, but trust me, these three are the best of the best and will not disappoint.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely drooling and greatly looking forward to returning to each and every one of our favorite eateries when the world once again finds some sense of balance.
To read more about the wonders of Porto: