The city of Porto is undoubtedly proud of its gastronomic heritage. With its Port wine cellars and its fresh seafood, the ‘Northern Capital’ has plenty to offer! But be warned: like in any tourist city, you’ll have to avoid tourist traps! You should therefore be vigilant if you don’t want to end up disappointed.
To help you out, Captain Ulysses — who is undoubtedly a great food & wine enthusiast — has selected a few delicious restaurants which he’s sure you’ll love!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Porto? Captain Ulysses warmly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Tips & recommendations to spot the best restaurants in Porto
There is nothing more infuriating than realizing that the restaurant on which you’ve selected is yet another tourist trap!
Here are some best practises to avoid unpleasant surprises:
- follow the locals : listen carefully to customers at restaurants. Are they speaking Portuguese? That’s a very good point! 🇵🇹
- don’t hesitate to think outside the box: tourists have an annoying tendency to all flock to the same place! And restaurants located in very touristy areas can often be quite disappointing. Better to move away from touristy spots, if only a little bit. In Porto, do not hesitate to leave the tourist district of Ribeira and look for a nice place to eat on the heights of the city, around the university. You will find countless little restaurants just waiting to be discovered!
- Be careful with appetizers: in Portugal, it is not uncommon for appetizers to be brought to your table: more often than not, these are chargeable. Although they’re very cheap most of the time, some ill-intentioned restaurateurs charge them at completely disgraceful prices! The prices of appetizers are often indicated on the menu: don’t forget taking a look before sitting down 😉
With these few tips in mind, you should be able to avoid most tourist traps and find delicious restaurants in Porto!
Where to eat in the center of Porto?
Affordable restaurants in the center of Porto
The choice of locals
To immerse yourself in local culture, head for the Café D. Fernando, located in the aptly named Rua da Alegria (“Street of happiness”), behind La Vie shopping center, a few steps from the Bolhão Market.
If this small Portuguese canteen frequented by construction workers and employees does not look like much, it offers tasty and hearty dishes at incredibly affordable prices: €5 for the lunch menu which includes a main dish + a drink (one beer/one bottle of water / ½ bottle of wine / a soda…)
Not to mention that service is very nice.
In short, this small restaurant is one of the Captain’s favorites in Porto and offers the perfect opportunity to discover another side to the city.
Address: Rua da Alegria 308, 4000-450 Porto
Prices : €€€€
If eating on the go tasty little fritters made with cheese, potato and cod seems like something you’d enjoy, head to the Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, a stone’s throw from the Clerigos Tower.
Let’s be frank: ‘authenticity’ isn’t exactly a key word here.
But that being said, the fritters are made in front of the customers, which is quite nice. And the cod/cheese/potato mix works very well, especially with a glass of local Port wine!
In short: if this little shop looks everything like a tourist trap, prices are quite affordable, the setting is cute and the fritters are delicious!
Address: Campo dos Mártires da Pátria 108, 4050-367 Porto
The Mercado do Bolhão
There’s nothing like a trip to the local market to discover local food and specialties! The historic Mercado do Bolhão is currently under renovation and will remain closed for the forseeable future, but in the meantime, a few shops/stalls have been relocated to the the basement of the La Vie shopping center, a few blocks away.
Although it’s quite small, the Mercado Temporário do Bolhão is perfect to eat on the go and taste local specialties (cheese, cold cuts, fresh fish …). If you’re staying in an appartment / Airbnb, you can even do your foot shopping here so you can cook at the appartment.
Otherwise, you’ll definitely find loval specialties to eat on the go: soup, sandwiches, cold cuts … Delicious!
Address: Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506 508, 4000-211 Porto
Mid-range restaurants in the center of Porto
Eating a francesinha in Porto
The francesinha is one of the region’s most famous specialty! Better be warned, it’s quite copious: a croque-monsieur of sorts, filled with fresh sausage, beef and ham, and generously topped with cheese and tomato sauce.
To tell you the truth, it’s not necessarily the Captain’s cup of tea, but it is a local specialty and it would be a shame not to try it while visiting Porto!
You will find francesinha in most restaurants, but can often be of poor quality. To try a good francesinha, Captain Ulysses recommends Café Luso, which has made it its specialty. The restaurant’s octopus and cod dishes are also really good (steer clear of their pizzas, however, which are not up to par).
Address: Praça de Carlos Alberto 92, 4050-526 Porto
A delicious stop in the Rua das Flores
In the heart of the historic center of Porto, the Rua das Flores is lined with countless shops and restaurants.
Among these, the Captain recommends one in particular: Restaurant À Parte. The restaurant serves tasty and unpretentious local dishes. On sunny days, the terrace is very nice!
Address: Rua das Flores 46, 4050-265 Porto
Slightly more high-end restaurants in the center of Porto
In the historic center of Porto
In the very center of Porto, a stone’s throw from the Rua das Flores, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends the Restaurant LSD (Largo Sao Domingos).
The food is fresh, delicate and delicious. The trio of cod is particularly memorable!
Not to mention the restaurant’s setting, in the heart of the historic center, is really pleasant. On sunny days, be sure to sit down on the terrace.
Be warned: the restaurant is very popular and located in one of Porto’s most touristy areas! You should therefore definitely go early or book a table in advance.
Address: Largo Sao Domingos 78, 4050-416 Porto
Prices: €€€€ — €€€€
The Captain’s favourite ♥
Farther from the city center, on the heights of Porto, Restaurant Apego is one of Captain Ulysse’s absolute favorites in Porto!
Located on the Rua de Santa Catarina, between the Bolhão Market and Marques metro station, this tiny little restaurant is a gem. The restaurant serves reinvented local dishes prepared with delicious seasonal products.
The Captain can only recommend.
Address: Rua de Santa Catarina 1198, 4000-457 Porto
Prices: €€€€ — €€€€
Where to eat in Vila Nova de Gaia, across from Porto?
To admire the view of the Douro
To admire the view of the Douro from Vila Nova de Gaia, Captain Ulysses recommends two panoramic restaurants nestled on the bank of the river:
- Uva by Calem
- Ar de Rio
Both serve local specialties in a stunning setting.
Address: Avenida de Diogo Leite, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia
Street food in Vila Nova de Gaia
To stock up on street food and taste delicious local specialties (including suckling pig!), head for the Mercado Municipal de Gaia.
This small covered market counts some thirty stalls, in the middle of which large communal tables allow everyone to sit and eat in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Tourists and locals alike meet over a pint of beer to watch a football game or simply chat away!
Address: Largo Sampaio Bruno 10, 4400-161 Vila Nova de Gaia
With a good glass of port wine
To sip a good glass of port wine while enjoying a gourmet meal, head for the VINUM Restaurant & Wine Bar, in the cellars of famous Port wine producer Graham’s.
After eating, it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to visit the cellars! To find out more in Captain Ulysses’ detailed article on the port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Address: Rua do Agro 141, 4400-003 Vila Nova de Gaia
Gourmet restaurant in Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto
If you’re a foodie and want to treat yourself to an out-of-the-ordinary gourmet experience in Porto, then Captain Ulysse can only recommend the restaurant of the famous boutique hotel The Yeatman (which, by the way, is an excellent place to stay if you can afford it!)
Awarded 2 Michelin stars, The Yeatman Gastronomic Restaurant offers a unique oenogastronomic experience based on local products and contemporary flavors.
Not to mention that the panorama over the Douro River and the historic center of Porto is quite simply stunning.
If you can’t afford to eat at the Yeatman, you you can always stop for a nice glass of Port wine while enjoying the view!
Address: Rua do Choupelo, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia
Where to eat in Foz do Douro?
If you’re staying in Porto long enough, it’d be a shame not to explore the district of Foz do Douro, to the west of the historic center.
It’s the perfect place to take a deep breath of fresh air on the oceanfront. And if you get a bit peckish while in Foz do Douro, Captain Ulysses can only recommend Praia da Luz Restaurant.
The restaurant serves fresh fish and seafood in an exceptional setting, right on the beach!
If you’re not in the mood for food, you can alway settle for a coffee or a glass of port while admiring the view.
Address: Avenida Brasil, Porto 4150-151
Prices: €€€€ — €€€€
For the foodies: food tours in Porto
Captain Ulysse hopes you will find what you are looking for among his restaurant recommendations in Porto. But if you are inveterate gourmets and this list is not enough to satisfy your insatiable appetite, the Captain recommends going on a a food tour of Porto.
The Captain recommends one tour in particular: food tour in Porto. A great opportunity to discover the tastiest specialties in the city! Enjoy!
Looking for tips to plan your vacation in Porto? You might find these articles of interest:
👉 A Guide to Porto: the best things to do
👉 Day-tours around Porto
👉 Visiting Porto with children
You can also find all of the Captain’s articles on Porto’s must-see sites and monuments here.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in Porto!
🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: there’s plenty to choose from. The Captain particularly recommends:
– youth hostels: The Passenger Hostel and Urban Garden Porto Central Hostel
– budget and mid-range hotels: Decanting Porto House and Porto Charming Hotel
– high-end hotels: NH Porto Jardim and The Yeatman.
🎟️ Activities: museums, monuments, guided tours, boat tours, excursions… there’s plenty to do in Porto! To avoid wasting time in endless queues, especially during high season, the Captain strongly recommends that you opt for skip-the-line tickets and book your activities in advance. You can book all your tickets and tourist activities on GetYourGuide and Civitatis.
⛵ Cruises: Porto is undoubtedly synymous with Douro! It’d be a shame to leave the “Capital of the North” without embarking on a Douro river cruise. If you’re only staying in Porto for a long weekend, the Captain recommends the six bridges cruise. If you have more time, then he highly recommends the Douro Valley cruise with wine tasting & lunch.
🎫 Citypass: valid from 1 to 4 days, the Porto Card includes unlimited access to city transport (including to get to/from the airport), free entry to 6 museums and a selection of discounts in museums, attractions, Port wine cellars and shops.
🚐 Transfers: you can take the metro at the airport to get to the city center (1/2 hour). But if you’d rather avoid public transport, you can also book a private transfer at very reasonable prices.
🚌 Local transport: you’ll probably quickly tire of Porto’s steeply sloping streets and might be tempted to take local transport instead of walking. The public transport network is convenient and easy to navigate. You can buy your tickets directly at metro stations and bus stops (be careful, you will need to take 1 Andante card per person).
You should also know that access to public transport is included in the Porto Card. Otherwise, sightseeing bus tours are great options to explore the city. You can also opt for a pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
When it comes to getting around Porto, you have plenty of other options: bikes, electric bikes, segway, tuk-tuk, train…
✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.