For many tourists, a trip to Portugal begins and ends in Lisbon, but it would be a mistake for hungry travelers to overlook Porto, the capital’s food-loving cousin to the north. The city is known for its enthusiastic eaters and prime location between the Atlantic, Douro River, and mountainous countryside, all providing abundant ingredients both from land and sea. Residents are nicknamed Tripeiros after Porto-style tripe, which comes in a rich stew of beans, sausages, and vegetables. But the city’s most famous dish is francesinha, a humongous sandwich with layers of sausage, ham, steak, and melted cheese — sometimes with a fried egg to top it all off. During summertime, grilled fish, fried octopus filet with rice, and many glasses of wine (Portuguese drinks consume the most wine in the world per capita) are the excuses to gather friends and family around the al fresco table to enjoy prized recipes passed down for generations.
The city has excitedly welcomed visitors from around the world, spurring new natural wine bars, fancy cocktail bars, and bakeries at every corner. At the same time Porto has maintained a remarkable connection to its gastronomic heritage, making it feel increasingly cosmopolitan without losing its provincial essence. Between the city’s seafood-focused marisqueiras, neighborhood tascas (casual places for a snack or an affordable meal), and contemporary restaurants mixing modern touches with traditional ingredients and techniques, finding a great meal couldn’t be easier.
Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer living between Brazil and Portugal. He is the author of the book The Food Revolutions.Read More