Finding a couple of awesome places to eat or grab a drink can really make your holiday. In Porto, this is no different. Let’s have a look at my favorite affordable bars and restaurants in Porto. I added a ‘$’ to indicate how expensive the place is, but in all honesty, food in Porto is very cheap and utterly delicious!
Bao’s is a place that serves Taiwanese street food, so it’s not exactly couleur locale but if you’re feeling kind of peckish and don’t want to spend a ton of money on food this is the place to be. As the name suggests, this place serves bao’s, Taiwanese burgers with pork, chicken or crab in a typical white soft sticky bun. The buns aren’t huge but combined with a portion of cajun style chips you’re definitely going to have enough fuel for the day. Bonus is that they also have a selection of Asian drinks like a non-alcoholic apple drink that tastes just like cider (called Sidra) and boba tea. For the one other person besides me on this planet that hasn’t tried boba before: it’s a sort of milky iced tea with tapioca balls in it that explode in your mouth. Bonus: the guy who works there has an epic beard. Honestly just go there and admire his beard.
Delta Q: $
This is a delightful place to try a traditional Portugese desert: pasteis de nata (or pasteis de belem, can’t exactly figure out the difference. Portugese people feel free to educate me) at a very very competitive price and in an extremely modern setting, honestly this place is something straight out of a swanky expresso commercial. One delightful pastry will only run you 1 euro, a soda 1,5 euros. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck! This coffee spot features an open kitchen where you can watch them make the pasteis.
Café do Cais: $$
Café do Cais or Coffee Pier is located right by the river Douro near the Ribeira Square. This place has found the perfect balance between a cozy, shabby chic (something Porto is known for) vibe and clean modernism. So about the food, when in Porto you need to try 2 things: Francesinha and any type of fish dish! Francesinha is basically a Dr. Frankenstein sandwich. Between two slices of white bread you get: wet-cured ham, chipolata sausage, pork sausage, roast beef and an egg. All of this is encased in a thick slice of melted cheese and served with a slightly spicy tomato beer sauce and fries. The person who came up with this monstrous sandwich was probably as high as a damn kite but I’ve got to say, he was on to something because this stuff is delicious! My girlfriend who is less monster sandwich inclined (she’s lame like that), had the pasta nero and attests to its deliciousness.
La Ricotta: $$
If you’re not into shabby chic and want a classic dining experience, La Ricotta is the place for you. The interior is rather dark and moody in a good cozy way. The menu is distinctly European inspired but the very friendly staff does an excellent job at pairing up traditional French and Italian dishes with a great Portuguese wine. I had Angus beef cooked to perfection and my better half (she made me write that) had seafood paella. We both finished off with a panacotta and raspberry desert. Now this is definitely a more expensive place to go in Porto but I think it’s definitely worth it.
Bonus: Skip Majestic Café $$
I can already hear the booing from the rafters for this one but you know I don’t slice and dice the truth for you guys (yeah okay so I’ve been watching the teleshopping channel too much, sue me). The interior of this place is gorgeous and everything your art deco dreams are made of. The downside: the food and drinks are expensive as fuck and they’ve packed so many tables in this café that you can’t even enjoy your overpriced croissant and coffee in peace and quiet. Add to that the fact that there’s often a very long queue to get in, and that’s a recipe for a big ‘ol nope for me. But hey, if you’re still convinced that you need to go here, I’d advise going for breakfast as there’s nearly no queue in the morning.