Love fine cuisine? Then try Porto - Not just Portugal’s second city –and fast emerging from Lisbon’s shadow.
But why now?
Easy, 2 Michelin Star restaurants–that is new, and a real statement. New on the list in 2015 was Pedro Lemos, Executive Chef for his namesake restaurant, in the rising Foz do Douro section of Porto. And the restaurant at the Yeatman Hotel, with an extraordinary panorama over the River Douro: it is scenery, combined with a Michelin star award in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Guides.
Porto, yes, it gave its name to a wine…. Has the Atlantic to the west, rivers to the north and mountains to the east. That means fresh fish and seafood, grazed meats, charcuterie, fruit, nuts and locally grown vegetables… and lots of great wine, from Douro to Vinho Verde. Porto has its signature dishes too–such as the acclaimed Francesinha sandwich–but juxtaposed tradition with modern cuisine is transforming this two-time Best European Destination, as the city maintains its gritty working class neighborhood (made famous by the “Worst of Porto tour”). But now, as Portugal shakes off its financial crisis, each month brings another new restaurant opening.
So, here you can explore open air markets, and sit down on the Riverfront and try wine by the glass and petiscos – Portugal’s more sophisticated tapas. Meet the chef or the winemaker, or see the best and worst of this city on the edge of the river.
Porto’s classics include tripas à modo do Porto – ripe cooked with fava beans, vegetables, pigs’ feet and offal, served with rice–and Francesinhas: a Croque Monsieur topped with steak, sausage and cheese and a beer-sauce.
And there’s a huge variety of fish and seafood- so you can try the Caldeirada de Peixe, made with locally-grown rice, or grilled octopus (polvo), a specialty. Try the clam and coriander dish, Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato, which was invented there. Or , finally, go for the river eel–Lampreia– which can be pricey, but strong and tasty.
You will love Papas de Sarrabulho, a thick stew of entrails and pig’s blood. And the thick broa peasent bread is amazing, too.
After Lisbon’s recent rise, Porto is definitely Portugal’s next emerging city!