Our Porto food guide provides a comprehensive list of all of the dishes you must eat in Porto, including some specialties from the north of the country that you can’t find elsewhere. We provide tips on where to eat in Porto as well, including some of the best Porto restaurants for traditional Portuguese food.
We love traveling to Portugal and have explored almost the length and width of the country, from Lisbon to Alentejo to Minho in the north. I loved Porto, though. There is something about the food in Porto, the location on the river, the proximity of the Douro Valley wine region, and of course, the Port wine. Yes, there is a little something for everyone in Porto.
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How To Visit Porto Portugal For Food
In this Porto Food Blog, we share our top tips on what to eat in Porto along with some of the history and tradition behind these Porto traditional foods and dishes. Although some of these typical Portuguese dishes can be eaten around the country, a few are must-eats in Porto.
This is a list that focuses on fish, seafood, pork, and of course, sandwiches. Our goal is not just to give you a list of the best food in Porto but also to help educate travelers a little on typical Portuguese food. We also include recommendations on where to eat in Porto as well.
We spent most of the summer of 2022 living in Porto – a good 6 weeks, to bring the most up-to-date information we can on what it’s like to travel to Porto for food.
Porto Restaurants Pro Tip
Regarding travel in 2022, we’ve noticed a lot of destinations accepting more credit cards, including the ability to tap and pay or use Google Pay or Apple Pay. Porto hasn’t accepted these methods as widely. Many Porto restaurants, particularly non-touristy restaurants, only accept Portuguese credit cards, called Multi-Banco. Otherwise, it’s cash only. We used more cash in Porto than any destination this year. Carry cash, or look for signs in windows before ordering. We even had difficulty using our Euro-based card from an Ireland bank. Cash is king still.
What To Eat in Porto Portugal
Here’s our list of the Portuguese specialties you must eat in Porto. Most of these dishes are also pretty easy on the wallet; of course, seafood, in general, is more pricey.
Even some of the most typical and traditional dishes below are often included on more upscale menus. It is worth it, if you can, to try contemporary versions of the classics to get a good understanding of the food culture in the city.
The Best Food In Porto And Where To Eat In Porto
|Dish||Description||Where To Eat In Porto|
|🥪 Francesinha||The beat - meat inside, covered in sauce and a fried egg||Francesinha Cafe|
|🥪 Porto Bifana||Simple marinated pork sandwich||Casa Louoro|
|🥪 Sandes Mistas||Different types of sandwiches served as snacks||Casa Guedes Tradicional|
|🌭 Cachorrinhos||Hot dog with ham, cheese, and spicy sauce||Gazela Cachorrinhos|
|🥔 Batata Frita Portuguesa||Freshly fried potato chips||Leitoes Palace|
Portuguese Sandwiches And Snacks In Porto
It’s easy to eat all day in Porto, with so many options for snack bars that serve some amazing sandwiches. We found ourselves eating these for lunch, dinner, and sometimes in between. It’s a cheap eat as well, with many of these sandwiches selling for only €2-3 each.
Francesinha – THE Porto Sandwich
Looking for the most hearty sandwich on the planet? Let’s start with the pride of Porto and easily Porto’s most famous dish, the francesinha. The word francesinha translates roughly to “little French girl,” but there is nothing little about this warm and gooey sandwich. Some say it is an homage to the French croque-monsieur, a toasted cheese and ham sandwich.
The francesinha is a cheese and sauce-covered sandwich filled with various types of pork and a piece of steak. The pork inside normally includes fresh sausages, mortadella, and sausage called linguiça. The sandwich is topped with melted cheese, a tomato and beer-based sauce, and a fried egg. Of course, always a fried egg.
Where To Eat The Francesinha In Porto
Each restaurant makes its version of the sauce, often a closely-guarded family or chef secret. If you only have one day in Porto, this is the one famous Porto food you must eat! And, it’s not difficult to find as it seems to be on every restaurant menu in Porto.
Supposedly the best francesinha in Porto can be found at Francesinha Cafe, but I liked the more contemporary (small bites) portion from Porto Cruz in Vila Nova do Gaia. It’s a great way to taste the flavor of this legendary sandwich without the heft.
BTW, we never got a good Francesinha photo, so the one above is courtesy of Claire, who runs the solo female travel blog This Travel Lover.
Porto Food Pro Tip
If traveling with a partner or friend, start with ordering one francesinha to share. It’s a beast and will leave your belly too full to eat all of the rest of the fabulous Portuguese dishes in Porto. Wash it down with a cold Portuguese beer or a vinho verde, to help cut the richness of the sandwich.
A bifana pork sandwich is one of my favorite things to eat in Portugal. It’s a perfect option for a snack or lunch in Porto and is a lot easier to digest than the francesinha. This is one of our all-time favorite Portuguese sandwiches.
The Porto bifana is seemingly simple, made with marinated pork served on a soft roll. The secret is in the flavors from the marinade. In Lisbon, the bifana is served with mustard and spicy chili oil. The bifanas a moda do Porto, or Porto bifana, is normally served saucy.
Where To Eat The Best Bifana In Porto
Everyone takes about the bifana at Restaurante Conga on Rua do Bonjardim, where Anthony Bourdain visited during his trip to Porto. The bifana at Conga was good, but not our favorite to eat in Porto. Instead, check out Casa Louro Porto.
We went to Casa Louro multiple times. The guy told us it was his mom’s recipe and nothing like the bifanas in Lisbon. He was right. It’s flavored with cumin and super juicy.
Sandes Mistas – Combination Sandwiches
One of the best things about eating in Porto is the availability of quick and delicious sandwiches. Nearly every street in Old Town Porto has a tasca. A tasca is a traditional “old school” Portuguese restaurant featuring classic dishes. Tascas typically serve large portions at very reasonable prices. They also serve a wide range of sandes mistas or combination sandwiches.
Sandes Mistas typically involve pernil or slow-roasted pork. Portugal is quickly moving up the ranks regarding our favorite places for all things pork. There’s just something about how the Portuguese cook pork that keeps us coming back.
Where To Eat Sandes Mistas In Porto
In Porto, one of the best places for sandes mistas is the famous Casa Guedes. Located just outside Old Town Porto, Casa Guedes features an extensive menu of sandes mistas including vegetarian sandwiches. There are two locations on the same block. The Casa Guedes Tradicional is the original, located on the corner. There is a more modern one as well, with a roof top deck. We went traditional (multiple times).
During our visit to Casa Guedes we tried their Pernil com Queijo de Ovelha (roasted pork and soft sheep cheese – order the #8) and Pernil com Presunto (roasted pork and Portuguese cured ham) sandwiches. To call the roasted pork tender and juicy would be an understatement. Halfway through eating our sandwiches, the Portuguese roll holding everything together became soaked from the juicy roast pork.
Cachorrinos – Porto Hot Dogs
A cachorro in Portuguese is a dog. Cachorrinhos are small dogs or puppies in Portuguese. Cachorrinhos in Porto are hot dogs. This is something we didn’t try during our first visit to Porto and I am glad we did.
It’s a hot dog, like in the US, served on a long roll. But it is layered with ham or mortadella, cheese, and often with a spicy sauce. What is unique is that it is cut into bite-sized pieces, making it a perfect Porto snack.
Where To Eat Cachorrinos In Porto
The best place to eat cachorrinos in Porto is at Gazela Cachorrinos, which has been in business since 1962. Apparently, a lot of employees from Gazela have gone onto open their own shops, with varied success. Expect a long line late at night, but it’s worth it. Order along with a small plate of fries, which are also very good.
We also had a very good cachorrino at Conga, which was topped with bifana pork meat and franchesina sauce.
Batata Frita – Fried Potatoes
Batatas fritas are freshly fried potato chips, but unlike anything else. They are often served alongside sandwiches and other meat dishes. They sometimes take longer to arrive at the table because, it seems, they fry them fresh.
The potatoes are thinly sliced and fried and are so much better than traditional potato chips. The version above is from Casa Guedes, and they were good. But, the best batata fritas we ate in Porto were at Leitoes Palace, which specializes in suckling pig. We ate every last potato chip on the plate and felt no shame.
I always hate to describe a dish as the Portuguese version of some other country’s dish, but it often helps to explain to food travelers what to expect. Rissois are the Portuguese version of empanadas. They are generally fried pastry filled with meat or shrimp.
When researching rissole, or rissois in the plural, I found them referred to as empanadas, croquettes, turnovers, and other forms of filled, fried dough. However you define them, they are tasty snacks. You can find them for about €2-3 apiece.
We liked the ones at Officina dos Rissois in Bonfim. They are made with quality flour and baked, not fried. Officina dos Rissois also offers unique flavors like a tasty Thai chicken rissol. They have more limited hours, don’t generally open for lunch, and often have a line, so be prepared.
Portuguese Fish And Seafood
Portugal is a country with a long history of seafaring, exploration, and fishing. It’s no surprise then that it is a country that loves fish and seafood. Here are just a few dishes to eat in Porto that focus on fish and seafood. In addition to the specific Portuguese seafood dishes listed below, look for grilled octopus (pulpo) or lampreia, an eel-like fish.
Some of the best seafood in Porto is just outside of the city, in neighborhoods like Foz do Douro, Matosinhos, or Afurada, which are accessible by public transportation or ferry. Although there are Porto fish restaurants in the city center, the ones out of the center are more authentic, and more fun.
To get an inside look, check out the Porto fish market in Matosinhos. It is open six days a week, but is closed on Sunday.
Bacalhau – Portuguese Salt Cod
Portugal is famous for its salted cod, known in Portuguese as bacalhau. We are intimately familiar with this dish as it is very popular in Spain where we live. In Spain it is known as bacalao.
The cod used is generally not from Portugal, but from the northern seas off Norway. As a way to preserve the fish, it is heavily salted. When ready to use it is reconstituted by soaking in water until soft. There is still a slight saltiness to the dish, but not overly so. It does mean that the fish tastes super tender.
The locals say there are 365 different ways to serve bacalhau, from simply pan-fried or on top of a chickpea salad. In Porto, some of the unique ways they serve this fish are as bacalhau com natas, or codfish cooked with cream.
There are a few other dishes, though, that show off codfish well. Almost every Porto restaurant menu will offer bacalhau in some way, shape, or form. It is served as a starter or main, and it’s not uncommon to have it more than once in a single meal. For a more contemporary version of bacalhau, visit Vinum at Graham’s Port House, one of the best places to it in Porto, in part for the view over the city.
Bolinhos de Bacalhau – Fried Codfish Cakes
One of the most popular ways to eat bacalhau is in bolinhos de bacalhau, or codfish cakes. They are similar to Spanish croquettas in that they are deep fried balls of tastiness and potato. This is also one of the best Porto cheap eats because you can find bolinhos as a snack at most typical Porto bars
Bacalhau A Bras
This is probably my favorite way to eat bacalhau, in a dish called Bacalhau à Brás. The salted codfish is mixed with fried shredded potatoes and eggs and often topped with black olives. There is something about the slight saltiness of the cod, the fried crispiness of the potato, and the soft texture of the scrambled eggs that just feels like comfort food.
This is the perfect dish to eat in Porto particularly if visiting during cooler months. It’s a soup using potatoes and green vegetables, including kale, as a base. Sometimes it is flavored with a little Portuguese sausage. We’ve also eaten caldo verde a few times with bacalhau, with the caldo verde forming a base for the fish. A great way to try two Porto dishes in one.
We’ve eaten versions of açorda all over Portugal, first trying the dish in Lisbon and Alentejo. I love the concept. It is a soup that used slices of day-old bread as its base. Similar to Spain, bread is eaten fresh daily and often has no preservatives to help it last longer like in the US or UK. As a result, the Portuguese and Spanish are always looking for unique ways to use day old bread.
In Portugal, this means açorda. In addition to water and bread, the soup includes garlic, coriander, seafood, fish, and sometimes a soft cooked egg. We’ve had açorda made fresh in front of us at more contemporary Portuguese restaurants, which is something to experience.
Alheira Portuguese Sausages
This is one of my favorite things to eat in Portugal, but we tried it for the first time in Porto. Alheira sausages are normally served with potato, vegetables like cabbage or a salad, and a fried egg. It’s a sausage with an interesting story.
Traditionally Alheira is made with poultry, including chicken, turkey, duck, or pheasant. Any meat other than pork. They were eaten by Portuguese Jews who were trying to avoid discovery and persecution during the Inquisition. At the time, it was thought that if you ate sausage, you couldn’t be Jewish.
Although we’ve also eaten alheira made with pork, the main difference between this and typical pork sausage is that the meat is mixed with bread, giving the sausage a soft mouthfeel that is entirely delicious. Sometimes the inside is so soft you can spread it on a piece of bread. Tracking down these sausages is how to do Porto like a local.
Where To Eat Alheira In Porto
This is one of the easiest dishes to find in Porto, although harder to find elsewhere in Portugal. It is not a typical food in Lisbon or Alentejo, for example. Look for alheira com ovo, or sausage with egg, on most snack bar menus that serve a meal of the day, or prato do dia. These are great lunch deals where soup, main course, bread, and drink cost about €7.
This is not a dish for the faint of heart, but anyone who considers themselves an intrepid food traveler should try – Cozido a Portuguesa. It’s a stew of potatoes, vegetables, and all variety of meat products. The meat normally includes black sausage as well as various offal (organs).
Arroz de Frango de Cabidela
If you love the tanginess of vinegar, you will love this dish. Arroz de frango de cabidela or chicken stew with rice, is a typical Portuguese dish from Minho in northern Portugal. Made primarily using a hen, arroz de frango de cabidela is a slow-cooked stew with several variations including duck and pork.
The one constant is the use of animal blood. The blood is mixed before serving with vinegar to prevent clotting. The result is a tanginess that’s strangely addictive. We enjoyed our arroz de frango de cabidela at Restaurante Murça No Porto. The restaurant is very local, featuring lunch specials from €6.50.
Tripas à Moda do Porto
This is another hearty dish not for the faint of heart. It is a mix of white beans, carrots, steak or veal, and pork stomach, known as tripe. I am not a fan of tripe and don’t often order it. For me, it is the texture. But, when prepared properly it can be pretty tasty, often taking on the flavors of the sauce it is cooked it.
In Porto, the tripas à moda do Porto is flavored with cumin or curry, so that helps it along. It is said that the people of Porto have been eating tripe, and a version of this dish, for six centuries.
Tempura and Peixinhos da Horta
Eating Tempura In Porto
Did you know that Portuguese cuisine influenced the creation of tempura in Japan? Many people might be surprised to see tempura on our list of the best food in Porto. In the 16th Century, Portuguese traders arrived in Japan with the tradition of making fried food and fritters (think about the precursor to the bolinhos de bacalhau). The Portuguese had a good amount of influence in the area. Macau was a Portuguese settlement and there is still influence from Portugal in the Macanese cuisine.
The specific recipe that the Portuguese introduced to Japan is peixinhos da horta, lightly deep-fried green beans. Eventually, this single dish became Japanese tempura. If you see tempura on a menu in Porto, chances are it is not as fusion as you think.
Pastéis de Nata
Eating Pastel de Nata In Porto
This might not be a Porto speciality, but it’s certainly a must eat. Pasteis de Nata are easily the most famous Portuguese food. A pastel de nata is a small custard egg tart. The pastry was originally invented in Lisbon but it is now popular all over Portugal and it’s spreading around the world. In Porto, try the version at Nata Lisboa on Rua de Santa Catarina. They are often eaten for breakfast in Porto but can be eaten as snacks throughout the day.
Porto Food Pro Tip
Don’t forget to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of your pastel de nata. Even better, the pasteis pair well with Port wine. Just go for it and drink Port with your breakfast.
Learn more about the most famous food to eat in Portugal – Pastel de Nata.
Toucinho Do Céu
A dessert made with pork fat? Yes, please!!! Toucinho Do Céu or Portuguese Almond Cake is what you are looking for. Roughly translated to “bacon from Heaven” this traditional Northern Portugal dessert is made using pork fat. Also featuring almonds, eggs, and flour, the dessert dates back to the 18th century. Be mindful if you are vegan or vegetarian.
Tarte de Amêndoa
Arguably one of the most famous desserts from Northern Portugal, tarte de amêndoa or almond tart is a most try. Using almonds grown nearby, this dessert is sweet without being overly sweet. Enjoy this with a cup of coffee as an afternoon treat and you’ll be very happy.
Where To Eat In Porto Portugal
It is amazing what you can eat in Porto at what is called a snack bar. Sometimes they focus on sandwiches, like bifanas or sandes mistas. Other times, though, they offer full meals, particularly at lunch. Look for the prata do dia, or a set meal for around €6-7 including a plate and wine or beer.
Look for simple plates of grilled meat with vegetables, or estufado, which is normally stewed meat. The above was a soft and tasty pork stewed meat with peas.
A churrasqueria is a grill restaurant, generally specializing in chicken and other grilled meat and fish. Normally the meat or fish is served alongside a simple salad, potatoes, or rice and sometimes a fried egg on top. Expect to pay €10-15 a dish.
Some of our favorite churrasquerias include Churrasqueira Kinay in one of our favorite food neighborhoods, Bonfim. At the edge of Bolhão and Bonfim is a small park called Jardim Marques de Oliveira. Surrounding it are loads of great restaurants and snack bars.
Try Pedro dos Frangos for chicken in the center of town. Expect a line at Pedro dos Frangos, sit at the bar, or grab a takeaway next door.
Porto Restaurants With Typical Porto Dishes
Here are our list of recommended Porto restaurants, with a focus on traditional Porto food. It also includes restaurants that specialize in contemporary versions of traditional dishes.
Traditional Porto Restaurants
Cozinha do Manel is a walk from the center of town, at the eastern edge of Bonfim neighborhood, but it’s totally worth it for the pulvo, or octupus. Eric doesn’t like octopus, but wanted to go back twice for this version. It’s a classic, historic Portuguese restaurant with great service. For a unique experience, sit at the bar instead of the dining room.
Cafe Santiago The go-to restaurant for the famous Francescinha Portuguese sandwich.
Contemporary Porto Restaurants
Vinum at Graham’s is set on the hilltop overlooking the city and the river. It was one of the most enjoyable meals we ate in Porto.
DOP Porto from Chef Rui Paula specializes in high-end, contemporary dishes that are an homage to traditional Portuguese cuisine. All while focused on fresh, local ingredients.
Book a Porto Food Tour
If short on time or looking to explore Porto in a unique way, how about booking a Porto food tour. We recommend using Viator Porto to book any of these Porto tasting tours. We like Viator for a few reasons. One, we’ve used them for tours around the world without any problems. Second, you will receive immediate confirmation of your booking. Last, Viator is a reputable company that is actually owned by TripAdvisor, so if there are any issues with your booking, there is a big company standing behind the booking.
This Porto Tapas Tour focuses on the concept of tascas, sort of a Portuguese version of tapas. This tour visits a local market and focuses on tastes of local dishes, sweets, and Vinho Verde wine. Prices start from €50 per person.
This Cod And Green Wine Route is a unique Portuguese food tour that focuses on bacalao and green wine. It’s a super small tour with prices from €100 per person. It’s a full day focusing on the history of cod and production of wine.
Or, consider a cooking class and actually learn how to cook some of the must-eat Portuguese dishes. This Portuguese Cooking Class in Porto ends with a four-course meal paired with Portuguese wine. The class starts at €60 per person.
For more wine-focused tours, check out our guide to the Best Porto Wine Tours.
FAQS – WHAT TO EAT IN PORTO PORTUGAL
In general, Portuguese food is hearty, with a mixture of seafood and meat, with a focus on pork. They are also most known for amazing pastries!
Porto is most known for two things, the Douro River and Port wine, but for food and drink travelers, it’s also known for the Francescinha!
Porto is a port city with a long history and tradition relating to the sea and its river. This means fish and seafood rule the day! Don’t be afraid to try fish you might not try at home. This includes sardines! Just give them a shot.
Lunch is generally served between 12:00 and 3:00 pm. Most Portuguese restaurants normally open around 7:00 or 7:30 and will serve until 11:00 pm, some stay open later.
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Porto Food Guide – Must Eat Dishes In Porto Portugal
We love using Pinterest to research our upcoming trips. We find loads of information on what to eat and where to eat. If you love Pinterest like we do, feel free to Pin this post to save for later. Or, follow us on Pinterest to find more food and drink travel tips.
If traveling to Portugal, check out our Portugal Packing Guide and our Lisbon Food Guide, with loads of tasty tips about all the great Portuguese food to eat in Lisbon. You might be surprised how much there is to eat there! If only visiting Porto, check out our recommended Porto Food And Wine Tours.