It is not possible to speak about Porto gastronomy without mentioning classics such as Adega São Nicolau, a “Mecca of good eating”, located in the riverside Ribeira area, which has been in the hands of the same family for 20 years, who is also owner of Taberna dos Mercadores and Terreiro, neighbours of the mother house.
There, it feels like eating at the grandmother’s house, with time, experience, and flavour, and visitors are welcomed with the typical northern friendliness. There are crispy cod fritters to start the meal, sardine cutlets with bean rice, octopus fillets with octopus rice, one of the city’s most emblematic dishes, various dishes of cod, veal, Porto-style tripe and white bean stew (tripas a moda do porto), veal tail, veal steak, rooster à bordalesa and a finger-licking coconut quindim. All homemade, well-seasoned and served in generous portions, just like at grandmothers’ houses.
São Gião, Moreira de Cónegos
It is in Moreira de Cónegos, a parish in the municipality of Guimarães, that one of the best restaurants in the country is located. Very sought out for a memorable meal, São Gião opened in 1987 and, after more than three decades, it continues to be a reference, many thanks to the work of Pedro Nunes, passionate about gastronomy and mentor of this project where modernity and tradition coexist in the service, in the ambience and on the plate.
The menu changes according to the season and the availability of products, always of the highest quality, but there are timeless favourites, such as the scrambled eggs, tomato, and pancetta tarte tatin, the grilled cod, the capon and partridge pasties with truffle risotto, the São Gião-style tripe, the pig’s feet stuffed with kid, and the canilhas (small tubes of crunchy pastry stuffed with custard) for dessert.
Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, Leça da Palmeira
Casa de Chá da Boa Nova already had an exclusive architecture, in a unique location, designed by the award-winning Álvaro Siza Vieira. Now it also has two Michelin stars.
But Casa de Chá da Boa Nova is much more than a restaurant. Those who enter immediately get caught up by the dimension of the horizon seen through its imposing windows, causing expectations to raise regarding what comes next.
Chef Rui Paula has, in fact, a fearless way of surprising his clients, taking them to another level of gastronomic experiences, in a symbiotic vision where he makes himself known.
“In Alma, we seek to serve much more than a meal: we serve emotions, identity, knowledge. In the end, we seek to develop a kitchen with depth, a consequence of our experiences”. This is how Henrique Sá Pessoa chooses to present one of Lisbon’s more exclusive restaurants.
His cuisine can be defined as one of taste. Sá Pessoa’s gastronomic philosophy is sustained by his influences and references: traditional Portuguese cuisine, his world travels, a passion for Asia and life in Lisbon.
Distinguished with two Michelin stars and featured in the Top 50 of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, the Belcanto restaurant opened in 1958, in Chiado, in the beautiful Largo de São Carlos, next to the São Carlos National Theatre and the house where Fernando Pessoa was born. The privileged location in Lisbon’s historic centre, the sober ambience, the discreet service and its cuisine, quickly won over the Lisbon elites who made Belcanto a mandatory meeting point.
José Avillez’s Belcanto opened in early 2012, completely renovated. That same year, it was awarded a Michelin star and, the second, came in 2014. It was the first restaurant in Lisbon to receive two Michelin stars, and José Avillez was also the first Portuguese chef to reach this accomplishment. His Belcanto offers a revisited Portuguese cuisine, in a sophisticated and very comfortable environment, which makes us travel from the romanticism of the old Chiado to the future. In a space full of details, where art and memories are present, a journey takes place.
Tia Alice, Fátima
There are other reasons, apart from religious ones, to go on a pilgrimage to Fátima. Tia Alice is an actual sanctuary of Portuguese regional food, with a high-quality menu cooked with a homemade touch.
The atmosphere is rustic, but the decor is modern. The oscillation between the two is what characterizes the place. The decoration also relies on some particular notes in the design (for example, the white fabric chandeliers hanging from the ceiling contrast with the stone walls), making the space emblematic and charismatic.
Il Gallo d’Oro, Funchal
Il Gallo d’Oro is the gourmet restaurant of the five-star hotel The Cliff Bay, located in Funchal, on Madeira Island, Portugal.
Since 2004, the cuisine has been under the baton of French Chef Benoît Sinthon. In 2009, the restaurant received the first Michelin star awarded on the island of Madeira. It received another in 2017, and today still holds both. In the 2022 edition of the prestigious guide, the restaurant led by Chef Benoît Sinthon was also awarded a ‘Green Star’, an honour which rewards sustainability in gastronomy.
The menu at Il Gallo d’Oro brings to the table the refinement of aromatic cuisine with Iberian inspiration. The great prominence of the ingredients from Madeira Island, some from the PortoBay vegetable garden, shows the significance of fresh products for this cuisine, combined as well with high-quality ingredients from other European regions.
Hans Neuner is an Austrian in Algarve with another Michelin star. He arrived at Ocean, in Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa in 2007 and, within two years, achieved his goal of putting the restaurant in the Michelin Guide.
The second star came in 2011, transforming Neuner into one of the youngest chefs to accomplish this mark. It only operates at dinner time, and the space faces, of course, the ocean. Tasting menus range from 135 euros to 175 euros for four or six courses.
A Cozinha, Guimarães
Traditional cuisine entered the life of António Loureiro, chef and owner of the restaurant A Cozinha, recipient of a Michelin star in 2019, early on. “I was always fascinated by the cuisine of my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts. As soon as I entered the house, I felt the aromas of that Minho cuisine, tasty, pure, from the land to the plate”, he recalled to the Portuguese Soul magazine.
Later, he felt the need to explore other cuisines and techniques, both inside and outside the country, but that only reaffirmed his desire of returning to his origins. In 2016, he opened A Cozinha por António Loureiro, in the historic centre of Guimarães, with “a commitment to projecting a strong identity of Portuguese recipes and creating highly sensorial experiences, always combining tradition and modernity”.
Memories are, then, the foundation of creativity, as well as nature, from which much of the inspiration comes.
The Yeatman, Vila Nova de Gaia
The Yeatman is a luxury wine hotel with a breathtaking view over the city of Porto, a World Heritage Site, and the Douro River. Its restaurant, headed by Chef Ricardo Costa, has already been awarded two Michelin stars.
The tasting menu created by Chef Ricardo Costa provides guests with the opportunity of discovering the richness and perfection of the connections between wine and gastronomy, as well as the contrasting differences in flavours, as if they were on a journey through the various and distinct wine-growing regions of Portugal.
Ricardo Costa offers a unique gastronomic experience, in which traditional Portuguese flavours are interpreted in a contemporary light, featuring a great variety of fish and fresh products, in addition to a diversity of regional gastronomic specialities.
Vila Joya, Albufeira
Vila Joya restaurant is an eternal love story between Chef Dieter Koschina, an Austrian who discovered Portugal over 30 years ago, and the Atlantic. The proximity of the abundant riches of this ocean, combined with the quality of the Portuguese products, has been a constant source of inspiration for Chef Koschina from the very first moment.
His cuisine has been described as refreshingly simple, yet full of flavour and momentum. Koschina is a craftsman of flavours, aromas, and the freshness of food. Only after discovering the perfect balance between ingredients and flavour does he consider presenting the dish, which is no less impressive.
Restaurante Santa Quitéria, Felgueiras
Restaurant Santa Quitéria, in Felgueiras, right in the epicentre of the Portuguese footwear industry, is a traditional space, with granite walls and wooden ceilings, which lives off the dedication and family passion for the art of serving well.
The flavours of good regional gastronomy can be appreciated in the many and varied starters, the main courses, and the tasty desserts. There are various dishes of cod and hake, the kid roasted in a wood oven and the veal from the alhada (a typical Portuguese speciality) stand out on the menu, which also includes milk custard, and a heavenly toucinho do céu (tartlet filled with egg yolks and sugar) and pão-de-ló (sponge cake).
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