Find meaty sandwiches, hearty stews, and fresh seafood in all its glory in Portugal’s spectacular northern food city.

For many tourists, a trip to Portugal begins and ends in Lisbon, but it would be a mistake for hungry travelers to overlook Porto, the capital’s food-loving cousin to the north. The city is known for its enthusiastic eaters and prime location between the Atlantic, Douro River, and mountainous countryside, all providing abundant ingredients from both land and sea. Residents are nicknamed Tripeiros after Porto-style tripe, which comes in a rich stew of beans, sausages, and vegetables. That hearty meal still pales in comparison to the city’s other famous dish, francesinha, a humongous sandwich layered with sausage, ham, steak, and melted cheese.

Meaty stews and sandwiches may help fend off cold winter days, but they also offer an excuse for Tripeiros to gather friends and family around the table to enjoy prized recipes passed down for generations. The city has excitedly welcomed visitors from around the world, but at the same time maintained a remarkable connection to its gastronomic heritage. Many of the region’s traditional dishes can still be found at tascas, beloved corner restaurants where locals mingle at tables or stand at counters while enjoying cheap lunch deals. Even the city’s most successful modern restaurants lean on this culinary heritage, mixing modern touches with traditional ingredients and techniques.

Between the city’s seafood-focused marisqueirascervejarias serving petiscos (drinking snacks)and neighborhood tascas, finding a great meal couldn’t be easier. The hard part is deciding where to go first. Here are Porto’s essential dining experiences.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 20 euros (Less than $22 USD)
$$ = 20 – 50 euros ($22 – $55 USD)
$$$ = 50 – 100 pesos ($55 – $110 USD)
$$$$ = 100 and up ($110 USD and up)


O Gaveto

Marisqueiras serve the freshest seafood in Portugal, a country known in Europe for its oceanic specialties. In Porto, they concentrate near the Matosinhos Market, a fisherman’s paradise. O Gaveto is one of the best in the area. Percebes (barnacles), clams, carabineiro (red shrimp), and a myriad of sea creatures look as if they came straight from the aquarium to your plate. Start with stuffed sapateira crab (sweet, delicate crab meat in cream sauce), followed by clams bulhão pato-style (cooked with white wine, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and cilantro). Don’t miss the blue lobster with brothy rice, a rare local delicacy turned into a homey recipe.

R. Roberto Ivens 824, 4450-279 Matosinhos, Portugal
22 937 8796


Lobster tanks and the bar at O Gaveto | O Gaveto [Official Photo]

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