Few cities can claim to having wine as a structural part of its historic and spiritual DNA. Such is definitely the case with the northern Portuguese cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the latter being the former’s sibling on the southern banks of the Douro where all the Port lodges are located.
It is therefore no surprise that Porto’s metropolitan is a wine and food lover’s paradise, with countless options for memorable dining experiences. In addition to longstanding iconic venues, the city has seen the emergence of a vibrant innovative scene in recent years, with young chefs accumulating Michelin stars and new wine bars catering to an ever-more curious audience.
The tourism boom of the last decade has certainly made less interesting venues mushroom as well. But with some guidance from locals you won’t have trouble finding some real gems, both traditional and modern, where the best Portuguese wines are paired with outstanding food and delivered with impeccable, friendly service.
A great venue where you can pick from a selection of 50+ wines available by the glass. The cheeses, charcuterie and nibbles will keep you well nourished (do try the slow cooked veal sandwich). Visit on an evening with live music – usually jazz – for the complete experience.
Rua Ferreira Borges, 86 – T: +351 916 499 121
Also known simply as Stan’s such is the charisma of its owner and host. The Frenchman has created not only a great wine bar, focused on low intervention pours, but also a meeting and focal point for Porto’s wine community. The ever-changing list features both renowned and lesser-known names from around the world.
Rua de Santa Catarina, 763 – T: +351 222 082 491
Tiago Sampaio’s UIVO wines have been making waves in Portugal and beyond, but his love for wine goes well beyond the vineyard and the cellar. At Taberna Folias de Baco you can try his extensive range alongside a delicious menu of specialties from the Douro valley.
Rua dos Caldeireiros 136 – T: +351 223 205 226
Not the place to go if you are a fussy eater or on a diet; Adega de São Nicolau is all about the rich and hearty cuisine of northeastern Portugal. Combining authenticity with flawless preparation and service, this institution, nestled in a quiet alley in Ribeira’s bustling neighbourhood, has survived the pressure of mass tourism and remains the ultimate stop for comfort food (as shown below).
Rua de São Nicolau 1 – T: +351 22 200 8232
Vasco Coelho Santos built a solid curriculum working at the likes of Mugaritz, Arzak, El Bulli and Viajante, before returning to his home town and starting the Euskalduna project. After a few years hosting pop-ups and private events, the concept now has a permanent address, seen as a natural contender for Michelin stars in years to come.
Rua de Santo Ildefonso 404 – T: +351 935 335 301
The restaurant’s motto is ‘saberes and sabores do mar’ (wisdoms and flavours of the sea) and for a good reason. This is a temple where the fresh produce of the port of Matosinhos is elevated to an always unforgettable dining experience. The restaurant often organises superlative wine dinners in collaboration with producers and importers.
Rua Roberto Ivens 826, Matosinhos – T: +351 229 378 796
Michelin-starred Chef Pedro Lemos is a rare example of one of those kitchen masters who, without pretentiousness, navigates both elaborate and simple flavours with equal ease and sophistication. He also has a natural understanding of food and wine pairing and builds his menus with unique awareness and towards a holistic dining experience. Proof of which is his collaboration with the Symington family in partnership with whom he is about to open a second restaurant at Quinta do Bonfim, following a successful pop-up at the estate.
Rua do Padre Luís Cabral 974 – T: +351 220115986
Make time for a sweet treat
Founded in 1933, this chocolatier remains family-owned and operated. With multiple shops across the city, you won’t have trouble making it one of your daily stops when exploring the city. Among their curated packs are chocolate and Port sets – created in collaboration with Calém and Kopke – that make delicious and beautiful gifts.
A legendary venue of the Foz neighbourhood, overlooking the Atlantic. All the bakery and pastry items are produced on site and are available either to take away or eat in. You would be a fool not to sit at the terrace, enjoying an afternoon tea (or glass of Port) with one of their superlative chocolate coulants, while gazing at the ocean.
Rua Sra. da Luz 363 – T: +351 226 180 152
Where to stay
A personal favourite, for its comfortable simplicity, pared down sophistication and homely feel. Everything you need, with no frills, at the heart of the artsy rua Miguel Bombarda, surrounded by art galleries and craft shops. A stone’s throw away from both Palácio de Cristal with its beautiful gardens, and the Soares dos Reis Museum. A great value – and a great feel – option.
Rua Miguel Bombarda 267 – T: +351 220 134 157
The ultimate wine lover’s accommodation is to be found at The Yeatman Hotel, a venue designed with wine at its core. Located on the southern bank of the Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia, and surrounded by the historical port lodges and the new WOW (World of Wine), this is a great place to start your vinous exploration. Although you might be tempted to not leave at all and just enjoy the decanter-shaped pool (pictured at the top), the wine-based spa treatments and the food at the Michelin-starred restaurant.
Rua do Choupelo, (Santa Marinha) Vila Nova de Gaia – T: +351 220 133 103/00