Where to Eat in Porto
There’s so much good food in Porto! It’s sort of ridiculous really, the number of restaurants there are. We prefer small, local spots away from the tourist crowd, and thanks to the guy at our hostel we found ourselves at some amazing spots. One thing to note, we avoided the Franceshina sandwich while we were here. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it, even the vegan version. I should also mention that I am not a big fan of pork or meat in general, so was a bit worried about coming to pork heavy Portugal. Fret not. There are gobs of amazing veggie and (some) vegan options along with fish if you eat that. Bread issues are likely going to be a bit harder to avoid as it is EVERYWHERE.
Yay! Another vegetarian place! We popped by here for lunch one day and were surprised to find that they have a buffet offering each day until 3:30. For the low, low cost of 6.50 Euros! That was incredible to us so we popped in to see what was up. This place had been recommended by the hostel and I had found it listed on several lists of where to eat. The buffet had one of the largest selections and varieties of vegetarian food we have ever seen. Da Terra was super busy and people were queuing for the buffet and for seats. We got here just in time before the crowd really descended and things got crazy. The kitchen was sending out new dishes every few minutes and only a few were repeats of what was at the buffet before. This made overeating almost a given but hey, it’s vegetables, right? We really enjoyed everything we ate but found the atmosphere to be very chaotic. Once we were seated we never saw a server again and were not able to order any drinks. That being said, we enjoyed the food so much that we thought about coming back another day, but decided there were other places to try. This is definitely a great option for creative and tasty veg food while in Porto.
We weren’t able to check in when we arrived at our hostel (Porto Republica Hostel & Suites). We were getting hungry and the guy at the desk recommended this place as a great option for vegan burgers. It’s a quick walk from where we were staying and we eagerly set to. Black Mambo seems sort of punk/political and were playing some rather crazy music when we arrived. It wasn’t too loud or anything, but really painted a counter vibe that really suited us at the time. The menu is short, but covers all the essential vegan type burgers you could want. There are some other items on offer (apps, desserts, etc.) but we only had eyes for the burgers. They offer just the burgers or burgers with potato edges or burgers/wedges/drink. Prices were so reasonable and we almost died when we saw that a burger/wedges/drink combo was only 7.50 Euros! Zac got the tempeh mushroom burger and I got the tofu spinach. His was a total mess to eat as there was sauce on top and things were slip sliding all around. Mine was a surprise. I thought I would receive a square of tofu topped with spinach. Oh no. This was a blended patty of tofu and spinach and topped with a sauce. It was also a bit of a mess but so delicious. Each burger was really flavorful and huge. We probably could have split one. Oh and the wedges were perfectly cooked. I would definitely have gone here again, if there weren’t so many other places I wanted to try. If we lived here, this would definitely be a regular place for us. Note: it’s cash only.
This is a small petiscos (tapas) restaurant in the center of town. Seemingly everybody books tables in Porto but we decided to just try our luck at getting a table right when they open. Sure enough, when we arrived all the tables in eyeshot had “reserved” signs on them but we decided to ask anyway. Turns out many of the tables were reserved for later in the night, but if we were willing to be finished eating before a certain time they could definitely seat us. Of course, we said yes and sat down to enjoy our meal. It seems tapas/petiscos places in Porto bring out a couple of dishes right away and you can turn them down if you wish. You will be charged for them so don’t assume they are gratis. They are not. The other thing to note is that petiscos portions are much larger than their tapas friends in Spain. So maybe go a bit easy on what you are ordering. The server at Tasco recommended 3-4 for our table of two and that was definitely plenty. Zac ordered a mixed meat stew and we shared a codfish with greens casserole and tomato rice. I had a potatoey greens soup. We loved all the dishes though the soups were both super thick. We later realized this just seems to be how soups come here in Portugal as each time the soup arrived thicker and thicker. It was delicious and comforting. We watched as many people came and were turned away because of timing. It does seem best to book here as it is in the center and gets super busy. They do also do take away if you want to be relaxed at your place.
Casa da Horta
I’m not really sure how to describe this place. It’s a restaurant, though not really a typical one. They serve insanely inexpensive vegan food in a really homey atmosphere and basically serve as a foundation for non assholes. There’s more to it than that, but it’s really hard to describe. They’re just trying to be a place where people can meet and discuss issues, learn and basically get together. There’s a really relaxed vibe to the place and everyone we encountered who works there is super friendly. They have a really abbreviated menu that I think changes daily. On the day we visited their menu of the day was a broccoli soup to start, followed by lentils with veg and polenta, with a drink for 5,50 Euros. It seems you can order any one of those things individually or as we did, a total meal. Everything was utterly delicious and we felt super comforted as we ate. The music that was playing in the background was sort of a Joy Division, New Order, drone sort of thing, that just perfectly balanced out the lentils and polenta. We were so taken with our meal that we decided to push things a bit and order dessert. So glad we did! They had a pear crumble that was absolutely incredible. Overall, this was one of our favorite meals while in town. It’s down a side street near the Monument of Saint Francis. It is definitely worth the effort to find.
Restaurant Museu d’Avo
This was another of the recommendations from the hostel that we took to heart. We also took their help in booking us a table, which was an absolute must. They open at 8 and though we arrived early for our booking at 8:15 they were absolutely packed. Within a few minutes all the tables were full and they were struggling to keep up. The place is super small and really, really charming. There are artifacts hanging from the ceiling and so much stuff on the walls. Tables are really close and everyone was super lively. It was a really fun atmosphere and the food was great. They first brought out bread, olives, cheese and smoked meats for us to choose or return as we fancied. We decided to go with the olives and cheese, but everything else needed to go. We came for the cod croquette. But we didn’t stop there. We also ordered beans, squid, and mushrooms. This all on top of the port + tonic we were drinking. The squid and cod were fried but everything else was sautéed. The mushrooms had a shit ton of garlic in them so be warned! We could have done with less food with these dishes on top of the “starters” as the portions are quite generous. But we hadn’t realized this was the case. The servers were kind though super hurried and it took a really long time to get our food. Everything was delicious and we would definitely recommend booking in. Oh they were playing some classic Sinatra, et al which added to the ambiance. And they don’t take cards; only cash.