Porto is becoming a go-to city for tourists and people like to spend more time in Porto than just a day-trip visit coming from Lisbon. Porto is a great city to explore and you will be greeted by the city’s historical landmarks and its wine scene. People typically go to Porto for its landmarks and also want to try the famous Port wine but, the food in Porto is not something to miss out on.
Some of the must-try food in Porto are the Francesinha, Cacchorinho, Tripas à Moda do Porto, Caldo Verde, and many more. If you want to try eating like a local, these dishes will give you authentic food experiences in Porto.
In this article, we will be talking about 10 must-try dishes in Porto. These are local dishes that food lovers will definitely enjoy. The Porto food scene will really give you something to look forward to when you visit Porto. If you are ready to enjoy Porto’s food scene, read on!
Porto Food Guide – What To Eat In Porto
When you think of Porto, the first thing that will probably cross your mind is the city’s historical landmarks or its wine scene. Being the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, Porto has a lot to offer. Porto is definitely more than its historical landmarks and infamous wine scene. The city also offers great culinary experiences that will leave you wanting more.
With the city’s booming food scene, you can experience local food in Porto that you will enjoy during your stay. There are restaurants in Porto that offer both traditional and non-traditional food. It is always a good idea to have authentic food experiences in Porto, especially if it is your first time visiting the city.
Since Porto has a lot of rivers and is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, you can expect the best Porto seafood dishes using only the best fish and other seafood ingredients. There are also meat and other dishes for you to try when you are in Porto.
If you are ready to eat like a local, here are some of the must-try food in Porto, Portugal.
Francesinha – Signature Porto Sandwich
When you are in Porto, you don’t want to miss out on this sandwich. Francesinha, which means “Little French Woman”, is Porto’s traditional sandwich.
This signature Porto sandwich is made by stuffing homemade sausages, steak, bologna, ham, and cheese between two layers of thick white bread. The sandwich is then topped with more cheese and beer gravy and is often served with a fried egg on top. The Francesinha sandwich typically comes with fries which are also dipped in gravy.
Don’t be fooled by the meaning of the sandwich as it is anything but little. This traditional Porto food is actually large. The layers of meat, sausages, and other fillings make it a carb-heavy meal.
The traditional Francesinha sandwich is filled with sausages and steak but, there are restaurants with different variations of the sandwich. Some Francesinha will have bacon or roast pork while other restaurants offer vegetarian options to cater to people with different dietary needs.
Bifana – Pork Steak Sandwich
If you are a fan of sandwiches, a bifana sandwich is also another Porto food that you do not want to miss out on. A bifana is essentially a pork steak sandwich. It has sautéed pork strips that are seasoned with different spices, garlic, and white wine and are stuffed on a crusty bread roll.
A bifana sandwich is juicy and greasy and is a perfect snack after a tiring day of walking around in Porto. This pork steak sandwich is usually eaten as a snack and is paired with a traditional SuperBock or a local craft beer. Some locals like to eat this late at night but, you can definitely eat it throughout the day. This traditional Portuguese sandwich is not that expensive and there are several places in Porto where you can go grab one.
Like the Francesinha, a bifana sandwich also has different variations other than the pork steak filling. There are bifana sandwiches that are stuffed with bacalhau (cod fish) or vegetables. Bifana sandwiches are also a popular food in festivals and other major events in Portugal.
Cachorrinho – Porto Hot Dog
You’ll probably skip hot dogs when you are in a different country but Cachorrinhos are definitely a must-try when you are in Porto. Cachorrinhos are considered a street food icon in Porto and they are definitely not your typical hot dow sandwich.
Cachorrinhos are made by grilling Portuguese sausages before stuffing them in toasted oval Portuguese rolls. The sausages are topped with melted cheese and spicy sauce. The sandwich is then cut into several bite-sized pieces which makes Cachorrinhos a perfect snack. A Cachorrinho is typically served with french fries and is good to pair with a cold beer.
Gazela Cachorrinhos da Batalha is a restaurant that has been serving Cachorrinhos since 1962. But, these Porto hot dogs can be found in several snack shops in Porto.
Tripas à Moda do Porto – Porto Tripe Dish
If you are not a fan of eating tripe then this next Porto dish may not be for you. Porto citizens love tripe and they are actually nicknamed ‘tripeiros’ because of it. There are many stories about why Porto citizens are nicknamed tripeiros and one of the stories is said to be because of the dish Tripas à Moda do Porto.
The Tripas à Moda do Porto is a tripe stew and is considered the signature dish of Porto. This dish consists of tripe, pork sausages, pork or cal knuckles, smoked ham, white beans, onions, and carrots, as well as different cuts of chicken and pork. This dish also has various spices such as cumin and paprika which gives it a nice smokey flavor.
This rustic stew was created in the 15th century and has since evolved over time. The key to a good Tripas à Moda do Porto is cooking it on low heat for several hours. This makes the tripe and other beef ingredients soft and tender.
This tripe stew is best paired with white rice and some locals like to drink red wine along with this dish. If you like a warm and hearty meal, you should try this dish.
Caldo Verde – Kale Soup
Caldo Verde is a minimal, one-pot wonder soup from northern Portugal, specifically from the Minho Province. It is a hearty soup made with simple ingredients such as Chouriço sausage, potato, olive oil, and collard greens or Portuguese kale.
This soup is also a healthy and comforting soup perfect for rainy days. Caldo verde translates to “green broth” in English because of the collard greens or kale in the soup.
This soup is considered the unofficial national dish of Portugal and it is served in high-end and local restaurants. Locals also like cooking this at home. Caldo Verde can also be made a vegetarian dish if you omit the sausage and use water as stock for the soup.
Bolinhos de Bacalhau – Codfish Fritters
Bacalhau is a very popular fish in Portugal and is used as a main ingredient in a lot of Portuguese cuisine. Bolinhos de Bacalhau, or Brazilian Salt Cod Fritters, is made with salted Cod (Bacalhau), potato, parsley, eggs, and onion.
These ingredients are mixed together to form a mashed potato-like consistency. It is then formed into small balls and deep-fried until golden brown.
These salt cod croquettes are typically served with tartar sauce and are a good snack that can be paired with beer. While it is most commonly eaten as a snack and is seen as a street food, it can also be a main dish served with rice and vegetables.
Pastel de Nata
We can’t talk about Porto (or Portugal for that matter) without mentioning Pastel de Nata. This Portuguese tart is famous all over Portugal and it is a traditional Portuguese pastry made with puff pastry that is filled with egg custard. It is typically dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes with cinnamon. Pasteis de nata is typically paired with a cup of coffee but you can also enjoy it with a glass of sweet Madeira wine if you are feeling a bit fancy.
While this next one is technically a beverage, you shouldn’t leave Porto without having a taste of Port wine, especially if you are a wine lover. Most Port wine cellars can be found in Vila Nova de Gaia, which is a city in Porto District and is across the Douro River. Port wine is a fortified wine which means the distilled spirit is added to the wine to increase its alcohol content. Port wines are typically red wines and are often served with desserts and are also known as dessert wines.
If you are more of a savory pastry kind of person, you will probably enjoy Rissóis (plural). If you are familiar with empanadas, that’s what Rissóis are.
You will most likely find restaurants or local stores selling Rissóis de Camarão or Portuguese Shrimp Turnovers, but Rissóis can have a variety of fillings and it can be filled with chicken or other meat. Rissóis de Camarão are also filled with a creamy béchamel sauce making it a creamy and savory pastry. Rissóis are typically deep-fried pastries but they can also be baked and they are an excellent snack however they are cooked.
Toucinho Do Céu
Toucinhi Do Céu is a Portuguese-style almond cake that comes from northern Portugal. It is a sweet cake made with ingredients such as egg yolks, ground almonds, and sugary syrup.
The most surprising ingredient that is added when making this cake is lard or pork fat. You might be wondering why lard was added to this cake.
Toucinho Do Céu translates to “Bacon from Heaven”. The name is in reference to the nuns that made the cake back in the eighteenth century where they prepared the cake in a convent. You actually won’t taste the lard when you eat this sweet cake as the almond flavors are more noticeable when you bite into the cake.
Where To Eat In Porto
When visiting Portugal, Lisbon is typically the city where tourists will spend more time, with it being Portugal’s capital city. However, Porto is also becoming a forerunner in Portugal’s tourist department.
Porto has a booming food scene and there are many places to eat in Porto where you can experience Porto culinary delights. Porto has several high-end restaurants where you can experience a fusion of traditional and non-traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Specialty coffee shops are also now becoming a go-to place for Portuguese food by locals and tourists alike. If you like to immerse yourself in traditional Portuguese dishes, dining at traditional Portuguese restaurants is the way to go.
Aside from restaurants, going to food markets is a great way to explore different Porto dishes. Food markets in Porto are also a good way to interact with the local residents that are selling there. Aside from food, you will also probably see locals selling souvenirs, clothes, and other local Portuguese products that you can bring home as a remembrance of your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Food Is Porto Famous For?
Porto is known for several local dishes. A famous Porto food is the Francesinha sandwich. This sandwich is stuffed with sausages, steak, and other meats and is topped with cheese and beer gravy.
If you like a warm and hearty meal, the Tripas à Moda do Porto is also famous in Porto for being an authentic rustic dish. If you are a tripe lover, you will definitely like this dish.
What Time Do People Eat Dinner In Porto?
Restaurants will open as early as 7 PM for dinner service but people typically eat dinner at around 8 PM to 10 PM.
Enjoying the local food is part of traveling. You get to eat like a local and experience different kinds of dishes that you may not have tried before.
Porto has a booming food scene. You will get to experience traditional Portuguese food from local main dishes like the Tripas à Moda do Porto to the street food icon Cachorrinho. Having an authentic dining experience in Porto will definitely be one of the highlights of your trip.
If you are planning a trip to Porto soon, we hope this article inspires you to try on local dishes whether it be in a restaurant or at food markets in Porto.
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