If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we spent the month of October 2023 in Portugal. We visited Setubal, Evora, Santarem, Espinho and Porto. A few places were new destinations for us and we’ll be writing about them and offering highlights, photos and travel tips. For Espinho and Porto, we’ll be updating our previously published content and sharing the best of our travel tips.
- As of October 2023, the content of this post has been updated and republished.
Good Eats in Porto
More than anywhere, we love the City of Porto. We enjoy the stunning beauty, the wonderful people and we even like walking the steep hills and cobblestones. Of course, we also love the good eats. We definitely have our favorite restaurants. While I can’t describe the food as lite 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.
An 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 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.
For a truly authentic Portuguese meal, in a comfortably cozy dining room, O Buraco will check all the boxes. The staff is friendly, the food is delicious and the ambiance is perfect. It’s like having a home-cooked meal in your Portuguese grandparents home. Yes, it’s that good. Our friend, Nuno, of Casa Natal pointed us in the direction of O Buraco a few years ago, and it never disappoints. This one, is not to be missed.
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.
Pregar – Best Burgers in Porto
We’ve tried several burger joints in Porto and one of the best we’ve found is a cozy little spot known as Pregar. It’s a cozy burger bistro with tables both indoors and outdoors. (2023 – Metro construction has taken their outdoor seating, temporarily.) 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. The staff is attentive and friendly, prices are reasonable. If you’re craving a burger, and really who doesn’t love a good burger, Pregar is the place to satisfy those cravings.
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 a nice 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.
Coffee, Breakfast and Dessert
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. The hot chocolate is thick and creamy, and they make a good cup of cafe Americano.
Fabrica da Nata, by far, has the best custard cups of goodness. Fabrica also makes a yummy ham and cheese quiche for a lite breakfast, as well as sandwiches ready to eat or take away. 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 two 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 sooner than later.
To read more about the wonders of Porto: