If you read our post on Porto's francesinha, you'll know that Tripeiros (Porto natives) like their food. And in my 2 and a half days of eating and drinking in and around Porto, I can see why.
Sorry, a Tripeiro?
Tripas á modo do Porto
Tripeiro is the name given to a Porto native and basically means tripe eater… if you're not such a big fan of tripe (I have to confess, i'm not!), it might not sound like the most appealing of nicknames but actually, the nickname celebrates the Porto people's patriotism when in the 15th century, the Portuguese King at the time went off to conquer other lands and leaving from Porto, he and the men on his ships were given all the best meat to take with them whilst the locals fed on what was left behind - tripe. If you do like tripe or just feeling a little adventurous for something new, look out for Tripas (tripe with white beans) on menus… it's a Porto favourite. I'll just have to try it next time! I think a Francesinha is likely to be more palatable for most tastes!
To help it all go down… Coffee
A real coffee booster!
There's lots that i loved about the food in Portugal. And it starts off (or finishes off!) with a good cup of coffee. The portuguese love their coffee, which, generally comes as an espresso (or what they call a cimbalino) - and it's super strength stuff. I like my coffee strong and this was certainly that! Bearing in mind it actually tastes good (intense good!) and not like some coffee flavoured dish water, it's amazing that it's very unlikely you'll pay more than 70 cents for it! Even on the top end at places like the most famous café of them all - Café Majestic, you'll get a great cup of coffee for €2. Drink a coffee in the morning, another after lunch and again after dinner and drinks (they like big portions in Portugal so it'll help save you going into a food coma and get you to wherever you're headed next)
Just a quick note on Café Majestic - as all I did was manage a sneak peek… outside of the different types of food Porto celebrates, Café Majestic is a Porto icon. You might not get the feeling you've stumbled upon something special in the sense of it being a totally locals sort of a place. It's very touristy but it's also really as beautiful as they say it is. Looking like it's come straight out of Paris, it's all art nouveau and feels very grand. I reckon it's definitely worth a stop for a coffee to soak up the olde world atmosphere. I hear, however, that they also do a mean francesinha...
Café Majestic Rua Santa Catarina 112 4000-442 PORTO Phone: +35 1 22 200 3887 www.cafemajestic.com
Lunch bargain and a car on the wall
Interesting decor at Galeria de Paris
I met up with fellow couchsurfer, Ula, who was also up for exploring beautiful Porto and as she'd been there before and loved a place a previous couch host had taken her (don't you just love getting recommendations!), we decided to try it for lunch. Located on one of three small streets that lie parallel to each other and in the Clérigos neighbourhood of Porto, is Galeria de Paris. A large café and bar that'll make you go wow as soon as you go in. It's a different kind of wow to the one you'll undoubtably say walking into Café Majestic but it's a wow nonetheless. Decorating the walls and all around you are all sorts of random and vintage looking items from old thermoses, radios, sewing machines and even a whole car.
At lunch, they serve a a buffet where you can pick from several mains, along with rice or potatoes as well as quite a large salad and vegetable selection. We both had to ask the server to give us smaller servings as, like I said, they like their servings big here! She also very kindly answered our questions about the food and gave us a recommendation. Food along with a plate of fruit, a drink (including beer) and a coffee come up to €5 (I can totally see how London can easily beats Porto in terms of expensive cities!).
Carne a Alentejana
I had the Carne de Porco à Alentejana which is a pork and clam stew and was delicious!
Galeria de Paris, like other cafés and bars on these streets are also thriving come the evening (note that the Portuguese like to go out late so don't be surprised to find places fairly empty before 11… or even 12!).
Another Porto food must - anything with cod!
The sea in Portugal is full of sardines and they're particularly popular during the summer months (especially at the festival of Sañ João, Porto's biggest event of the year) but surprisingly popular is pretty much anything with cod (or bacalhao in Portuguese). Surprising because it's not generally found in the sea around here. This perhaps explains why you're more likely to find it dried and salted!
Different kind of Pimms o'clock
Pimms Rua do Infante Dom Henrique 95 Porto Tel +35 1 222 015 172 www.pimms.com.pt/
My friend, Ricardo, took us to one of the lunch spots he likes to go to - Pimms. This place does cool white and manages to still be warm. We ate outside but popping in to the loos meant I got to see what it looked like inside and it really is all white! And it's beautiful. We all ended up with the menu of the day which was a cod meal, cream of carrot soup to start with bread and a coffee (of course!). Menus of the day (or you might see it as 'prato do dia') is a great option for a bargain lunch. I can't imagine you being left hungry after having one!
Here's my cod - served with potatoes and dressed with red peppers and a yummy sauce (not quite sure what it was but it did remind me a lighter version of the sauce that goes with a francesinha…).
Because they like bread and meat
A bifana for brekkie
And well, so do I! I couldn't not mention the Bifana - stewed pork marinaded 'til it's super soft in a warm crusty roll. Melt in your mouth delicious and super cheap! It's their version of fast food and so very tasty. You'll find it served in most places - much like the francesinha and for not much more than a €1.
Even in my short time in Porto and despite the city's small size, there are an impressive array of options. You've got grandiose and belle époque, to sleek and ultra contemporary (like the Ar de Rio) as well as more traditional and casual dining places. I already have a long list of other places I want to try (as well as go back to) on my next trip to Porto...
If you don't fancy walking Porto's hills but still want to enjoy the range of food and sights on offer all around the city and beyond, you can find some useful information about parking here. If you haven't booked your Porto car hire yet, what are you waiting for?
Reasons we love Porto
See what else we found and loved in Porto
Oh so beautiful Porto
Euro 2012 with a Francesinha in Porto
The not-port drink to drink when in Porto
Get clued up on Porto Airport and Porto car hire...
Arriving into Porto Airport
Collecting your car hire from Porto Airport
Travelling onwards from Porto Airport
Returning your car hire to Porto Airport
Departing from Porto Airport