Porto is a micro city full of crumbling azulejo tilled architecture, contemporary restaurants and buzzing Port distillery’s. Arriving Saturday afternoon and leaving Monday morning, we only had a short time in this vibrant city and to our dismay, the majority of restaurants, shops and cafes were closed on Sunday and Monday. As Londoners, this caught us by surprise but we found some gems, many of which were owned by people who used to work in London and understood our need for 24/7 catering.
The city is walkable and easily the best way to see the city. Getting further afield, there is the number one vintage tram that takes you directly along the coast to the beaches.
Old stone flats – Set in the old town looking over the river, this modern apartment has the perfect location featured with traditional old stone walls.
Combi Coffee – Authentic coffee roasting and cafe, open everyday 10-8. Like I said, most places are closed on Sunday and Monday but I got chatting to the owner and it turns out, he lived in London for years and eventually came home to Porto to set up shop. He recommended a restaurant for dinner and called to reserve a table for us. What a gent!
Pastel De Nata
You can’t visit Portugal without eating Pastel De Nata. They are in abundance but, there are a few that do it better than others.
Manteigaria – Tradition meets modern here. Watch the pastry chefs work their magic whilst eating your Pastel de Nata and excellent coffee for two euros.
Café Majestic – The most famous in Porto, but you will have to wait in outside from opening at 9am.
Cantina 32 – Portuguese Michelin star chef Luís Americo, opened this gem with stunning food and a moody setting.
Praia da Luz – Recommended and reserved by the owner of Combi Coffee, we felt like we were on a mystery dinner date. The restaurant is romantically set on the beach of Praia da Luz, we watched the stormy see over our last glasses of Douro Valley wine. The interior is beautiful and minimal with the back wall mirrored to reflect the seashore.
Best for fresh fish – The road, Rua Heróis de França has around twenty tiny restaurants with the best catches of the day. Pick you fish and they barbecue it in front of you, the sardines were insane. This isn’t the most chic location in Porto, but it’s definitely a locals favourite.
The Hungry Biker – This place lives up to it’s name, good food and bike hire.
Base Porto – Passeio dos Clérigos – Head here for for sundowners with vista views over Porto. The space is huge and open, perfect for large groups meeting.
Sandman’s Port – There are many Port distillery’s to choose from in Porto but we opted for the one with the nicest bar. You can go on tours of the distillery, if you’re interested. We were only interested in tasting the Port, three of the best for eleven euros. We sat very content with ours tasters overlooking the river.
Porto has so many beautifully tiled buildings, it’s best just to walk around and discover your favourites. The most famous buildings are; Estação de São Bento and Igreja de Santo Ildefonso.
Dom Luis I Bridge – I love the engineering and architectural genius of bridges. Porto has six bridges, all widely different designs. Dom Luis was designed by Théophile Seyrig, who also contributed to the Eiffel Tower which you can really see through the design. It’s the most central and the best to walk over to get to the Port distilleries on the other side of the river.
Unesco-listed medieval part of town is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Porto. Here, you can see the rabelo boats that traditionally transported barrels of port from the vineyards upstream, and marvel at the multi-coloured facades of houses dating from the Middle Ages.
The Feeting Room – A gorgeous concept store offering mens and women’s Portuguese brands. Recommended by the owner of Combi Coffee because it’s one of the only shops open on a Sunday and also because there is a small Combi Coffee shop within menswear.