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5 x Porto for foodies

5 x Porto

for foodies

Porto has always been famous for its monumental beauty. But today, the city is making its name as a gourmet destination. With its port houses, wine bars, food markets, seafood restaurants and Michelin stars, Porto is quickly becoming the culinary capital of Portugal. iFly went on a tasting trip and selected five most delicious destinations.

Care for a taste?
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From tripe eaters to a culinary revolution

Porto's residents are also known as "tripeiros" or tripe eaters. In the Middle Ages, workers along the Douro river built the ships that set out to conquer the African city of Ceuta. The vessels were loaded up with the best meat, hearty food to feed the soldiers. The locals had to settle for the leftovers. This is how the traditional dish "tripas à moda do Porto" was born: tripe with sausage and white beans.

Over time, the Portuguese kitchen developed and today Porto is the epicentre of a real culinary revolution. And that’s about time because tripe isn’t exactly my favourite dish. Read here where to sample the best local cuisine.

Destination: Porto, Portugal
Population: 233.465
Location: 313 km north of Lissabon

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Mercado do Bolhão

Early morning visit to the fresh food market

Step back in time at Mercado do Bolhão, the wrought-iron market hall with two floors stacked with fresh fish, garlic, herbs, local cheeses, olives, bread, handmade sausages, smoked hams, fruit, vegetables and flowers. Vendors have been plying their wares here since 1914. Don't be surprised if you hear some cackling or crowing: a few stands sell live animals, such as chickens and gamecocks. 

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Kristijan Vucko / 500px

Some restaurants will cook the fresh products on the spot and charming wine bars offer samples of table wine and port. Make sure you stop by the deli A Pérola do Bolhão, which displays the loveliest art deco facade in all of Porto. The market is open on business days and Saturday mornings, and early mornings are the liveliest.

• Mercado do Bolhão, Rua Formosa 214, Porto

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Leitaria da Quinta do Paço

Inexpensive éclairs

Since 1920, there is one place where everyone goes to get the best eclairs: Leitaria da Quinta do Paço. Although a French invention, these elongated pastries filled with rich cream and finished with a chocolate, caramel or sugar glaze are a very popular treat in Porto.

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Prices are very modest: one euro fifty cents buys you a cimbalino (espresso) with an eclair of your choice. The pastry store also does a hopping business selling custard doughnuts, cakes, pies, ice cream, cheese, chocolate bars and batidos (milkshakes). Don't show up too late because at coffee time the lines can be fierce.

• Leitaria da Quinta do Paço, Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes

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    Tibor Bognar / Alamy Stock Photo

"With its port houses, wine bars, food markets, seafood restaurants and Michelin stars, Porto is quickly becoming the culinary capital of Portugal."

Majestic Café

Porto's grand café

Start the afternoon with a "porto sour", a cocktail made with white port, cognac, tonic and orange juice. Locals drink it like water. There is no better place to sample this refreshing concoction than at the historic Majestic Café. Admire the art deco interior from 1921 that once attracted Portuguese celebrities such as the actress Beatriz Costa, writer José Régio and philosopher Leonarde Coimbra. The owner knows how to milk the café’s rich history, so your porto sour will set you back a hefty sum.

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Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy Stock Photo

Other tasty items on the menu include rabanadas (the Portuguese version of French toast). This homemade dessert goes well with a glass of port. The Majestic Café is open from breakfast to late at night.

• Majestic Café, Rua Santa Catarina 112, Porto

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Restaurante Bacalhau

Fish for cod at Bacalhau

Bacalhau is Portuguese for dried cod fish, a favourite ingredient in Portuguese cuisine, and the house speciality of this restaurant. Try it traditionally stewed with onion and potatoes. Or in a soup with bread, egg, garlic and cilantro. Fried with rice, turnips and chorizo, or oven-baked with potatoes and fried egg.

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The menu is small but also serves other fish dishes, such as tuna and sardines, or foreign classics, like Spanish gazpacho or the Brazilian feijoada bean stew. This restaurant by the Riberira Wharf is very cosy (read: tiny). The few outside tables overlooking the river are highly coveted. Reservations aren't accepted so plan to arrive early.

• Restaurante Bacalhau, Muro dos Bacalhoeiros 154, Porto

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    Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau / Flickr

"The uncontested best hotel in town is The Yeatman, on the other side of the Douro, wedged between the Gaia port houses with a spectacular view of Porto."

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The Yeatman

Overnight with Michelin stars

The uncontested best hotel in town is The Yeatman, on the other side of the Douro, wedged between the Gaia port houses with a spectacular view of Porto. At this ‘Luxury Wine Spa Hotel’, hotel guests can indulge in a massage using fresh grapes at the Vinothérapie Spa and spend a luxury night in the elegantly appointed rooms.

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age fotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Book the Taylor’s Suite and enjoy a relaxing soak in a huge oak port cask or take a bath in a copper yeast tank in the Bacchus Suite. The hotel also features a wine cellar with 25,000 bottles. The wine bar is the only one in the region that is open 24 hours a day. However, we have listed The Yeatman for its restaurant where chef Ricardo Costa's traditional Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist has earned him two Michelin stars.

• The Yeatman, Rua do Choupelo, Vila Nova de Gaia

KLM

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