Porto: a weekend away in foodie paradise

Saturday, 8 December 2018 Porto, Portugal

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise Good lord, my holiday in Porto with Jack feels like a lifetime ago. We went away for my birthday for a few days in June. Honestly, the level of procrastination I've had about this post is frankly ridiculous. I really love writing travel posts, but for some reason when it comes to putting them together it feels like a mammoth task which stops me just getting the hell on with it.

Porto was a seriously pleasant surprise for us, especially in terms of food and drink. We love cooking together (and he's a very good baker too) and trying lots of different cuisines, and we were honestly blown away by Porto's food and drink scene. We tried so many amazing dishes and I drank a lot of house wine with it.

It's a gorgeous city, framed by the impressive Dom Luís I bridge bringing together both sides of the Douro river. It's characterised by the endless rows of orange roofs and ceramic-tiled buildings (a style known as azulejo), vibrant and totally unique from one another. It has an edgier feel to it than Lisbon, and the value for money was significantly better, perhaps because Porto is still a less well-known city compared to the capital. 

In this post I'll chat about some of the amazing dishes and drinks you need to try in Porto - for us it was the ultimate foodie paradise.

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so let's start there. As soon as you wake up, get dressed and run down to the Confeitaria de Bolhão for a soft, buttery pastry and a fresh coffee. Never before have I returned back three days in a row to the same place for breakfast, but me and Jack were hooked! It got so bad that we started recognising other returning customers.

You must absolutely try the pão de Deus, otherwise known as bread of the Gods. This golden pastry is soft, buttery and topped with sweetened coconut and lots of icing sugar. As you can imagine, it's messy to eat but so so worth it. It has the texture of a soft brioche roll and it was really filling too.

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise
Once you've had some time to soak up the city (I'd encourage wandering around on foot as much as possible, it's so beautiful and you don't want to miss anything!), it's time to hunt down Porto's most famous dish. Nope, I'm not talking about the pastel de nata! It's all about the Francesinha in this pretty city. 

We actually hadn't heard anything about them until we arrived, and they are everywhere. Imagine a sandwich, layered up with steak, ham and sausage, covered in melted cheese and served in a tomato and beer-flavoured sauce. Yeah, it does sound bloody bizarre and I'll be honest, it looked crazy in person too. Mine also came with an egg on top and I've never felt so full in my life but the slight sharpness of the sauce and the egg yolk helped to cut through the heavy feeling of all the meat and cheese.

To say we needed the walk off lunch was an understatement! Really, you can't visit Porto without trying them at least once. We had two...

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise
Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise

When we weren't eating or drinking, we spent most of our time walking and seeing Porto from lots of amazing viewpoints. This was one of my favourite views, as you leave the Ribeira area to reach the new town. So many steps and beautiful alleyways - it felt like a true staircase city! 

Alas, I digress. Back to the fooooood. We were a little stumped when it came to dinner, but we were over the moon when we found out there was a hugely popular restaurant, O Buraco, more so with locals than with tourists, which is always a good sign. And to find out it was right across the street from our hotel? So ideal. So ideal in fact, that we came back twice (interesting pattern we got into with this holiday...).

The restaurant was modest-looking on the inside, but we always had a warm welcome from the owner and were given plenty of time to soak up the huge menu. The first time, we had some really tasty traditional dishes such as bacalhau, dried and salted cod, a staple of Portuguese cuisine and lots of seafood.

The second time however, we were seriously intrigued by the arroz de pato, duck rice. Jack and I love anything with duck, so were really excited to try the Portuguese take on it! It was amazing and unlike anything similar I'd had before. Unlike normal rice dishes, this was crispy and sweet, and finished off with juicy duck all across and a sprinkle of cheese. We spotted the dish in lots of places across the city so it shouldn't be hard to find.

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise
Fish and seafood lovers are in for a serious treat in Porto - we ate so many great value fish dishes and it always makes me sad to come back to the UK when it's so expensive here. Out of everything we tried I would highly recommend the arroz de marisco at Bulha, otherwise known as seafood rice. The waiter let us know it would be a longer wait for the food due to the cooking of the broth but it was completely worth it. 

I'm not proud of the quality of this photo but this was mainly because I couldn't wait to eat! This was jam-packed with squid, octopus and prawns and I could've drank the broth on its own if I was feeling particularly uncivilised. If Jack and I are having a particularly good meal, we don't often have to speak to each other, and very little was said as we devoured the lot. 

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise

Now, I haven't yet talked about drinking in Porto, which is a whole other avenue but I'll sum it up nicely: get on the wine and port for god's sake. It's cheap and amazing quality, because Porto is incredibly close by to the Douro valley, a world-famous wine producing region.The Douro river runs through the city. In most places, you can get a glass of house wine for around 2 euros, an absolute bargain!

Porto is more famous for its ruby red Port, produced in the same area, and I'd recommend trying this too. Before we came to Porto, however, we had no idea there were so many other varieties of it, and if you're a fine of sweet wines, I wouldn't miss trying them out! There's hundreds of port tasting experiences dotted around the city, in particular on the other side of the river, across from the Ribeira. We had the chance to taste 15-year-old and 25-year-old ports, and they were incredibly indulgent but delicious all the same.

Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise
If sweet wines aren't your thing, I would encourage you to order a porto tónico. It's more like a gin and tonic or Apérol Spritz, fizzy and incredibly refreshing compared to port on its own. It has a slightly sweeter taste but it was the perfect aperitif before we headed to dinner for the evening.

And of course, it looked incredibly beautiful in the glass, which always helps.

Porto was a huge surprise to us with so much amazing food and drink to try. If you're looking for a pretty, walkable city with incredible foodie appeal, Porto is your paradise!

Thanks for reading! Have you been to Porto before? What amazing food have you had in Portugal? Tell me about it below.

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Porto: a Weekend Away in Foodie Paradise


  1. Ah Porto, my lovely home, my amazing city. Francesinha is a really heavy dish but oh my I eat it in every single birthday party xD Usually students go to 'group restaurants' and eat it with lots of bear xD

    1. I was gonna say it's certainly a treat dish! I can't wait to have it again some day

  2. I've never heard of Porto, its beautiful! Adding this to my list of places to visit in the future, thanks for sharing!

    Fran | www.franciscarockey.co.uk

    1. So glad you must! It's such a beautiful city :)


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