Casa Guedes, Porto 09-2020

After a slightly underwhelming visit to the seafood part of Bolhao market, a late breakfast/early lunch for heading off toward the beach was made easier by Casa Guedes being nearby. Porto seems to have a reputation for sandwiches, others (that I didn't get to try) being the pressed hotdog cachorrinho at Gazela Cachorrinhos da Batalha.

Casa Guedes meanwhile has the pork roll €3.9 plain or €4.9 with melted goats cheese. Online reviews say to get the cheese because it keeps the bread more moist. All I can say is that it was somewhat true, but that the plain could be more moist with a little of the gravy from their serving pan. And i did prefer the simpler flavour of the plain one.

Do yourself a favour and get both. I'd want 2 for myself next time too...

Porto Cruz, Porto 09-2020

Technically in Gaia rather than Porto, this gelato shop was a little stop on the way back after a drunken tour and taste at Ferreira. Given the immediate area filled with port wineries, they are known for port flavoured gelato, although I didn't really like the thought of it and we'd probably tasted enough port for the day too.

Pistachio had pieces and a decent flavour. Passionfruit was very tangy but had a few too many crystals €3.5 for 2 wasn't too bad.

Cremosi, Porto 09-2020

I was looking for a good gelato and a few options came up on web searches and Google maps, such as Gelatopia or Santini. Cremosi didn't figure at all and it was only when walking past it late at night back toward the Airbnb did I mentally note it. It's a very large place with sitting space and work hours much later than the standard ones.

To deal with Covid and only one person ordering at a time, they had a mixed weird system where sometimes you pay for the gelato then select the flavours, and other times you have to select the flavours before paying. It was confusing to go twice and get asked to do things in different ways.

What I do know is that the pistachio was phenomenal - thick, creamy, nutty, excellent. The lime, mint, ginger was very tangy with a strong ginger flavour, I liked that too.

They also have desserts - tried the lemon tart which had too thick of a base and was much much too sweet. 

Also I made a mistake of getting gelato with the crepe (simple and fine, expensive for the nutella addition though) as it melted too fast. The gelato price was the same to get separate or together, so that's a life lesson. The pistachio was as good as I remembered, the port flavour tasted... like port! The 3rd was coconut I think and that was alright.

Cana Verde, Porto 09-2020

For the final lunch before heading to the airport, timing meant that we would need to eat around 11-1130am and unfortunately it meant that a lot of restaurants weren't open yet. I was keen to eat in an outside alley restaurant, my partner was keen for some seafood rice, but it was not to be. We went instead to Cana Verde, at least open and well reputed to be one of the best local places around.

The lunch set meal is a steal at €8 for soup, bread, choice of main and coffee. Certainly all during our meal locals kept coming in and filling all the tables.

The first was a chicken soup with orzo - simple. Soft bread with nice crust came with it too. Salmon cutlet was nice and fatty and perfect grilled, with soft potatoes. Duck rice was very flavoursome and bits of meat all throughout. It was topped with a strong melted cheese, which seemed a little unusual but made for a heavy, salty dish.

A quick and easy local meal that is recommended. As we left, we went past a place Flor de Braganca which was even more heaving with locals and had a queue of workman outside. Next time...

Meia-Nau, Porto 09-2020

The online recommendations all say that Matosinhos is the place to be for seafood. After managing to sneak in to the market just before their unexpected early closing time (Covid times) and purchasing fresh bunches of percebes for €14/kg, we made our way to Meia-Nau (TA #1, Google 4.8) without a booking. The outside tables were all reserved, but inside had space and it was pleasant enough being there out of the heat of the sun.

There is a small counter of the fresh fish on offer and they'll take you through them and weigh before any choices of cooking method. I chose the unsual looking St. Peter fish, which I vaguely recall eating forgettably in Israel (

3€ cover was for the table (not per person) for soft bread, hard rye, tuna and black olives. Fish soup €4.5 was mild but strong vegetable (carrot and bit of tomato) flavour.

Our St. Peter fish was an odd looking character weighing 1.29kg for €58 (€45/kg). It was offered to us grilled or alternatively fried with roe bread soup. They said the fried version was a traditional dish, but we were in the mood for grilled rather than fried food and so went with the more simple option. It had been perfectly grilled to a very salty crisp skin (assumably the excess salt used to dry out the skin), and a soft delicious flesh with mild flavour. The saltiness was balanced nicely with buttered potatoes, cabbage and carrot. It was too much for 2 people, and they packed away the leftovers for us.

It's definitely not a cheap meal (particularly by Portugal standards) but you'll pay a lot more I think for this quality in specialty seafood restaurants in most parts of the world. I would try somewhere different next time (just because they are so many options in the area) but would happily eat here again too.

Cervejaria Brasao Aliados, Porto 09-2020

The Porto francesinha - the drunk food that you eat when sober or hungover and can't actually get (because all the places are closed) when you are drunk (assuming you aren't drunk really early in the evening). Everyone recommends eating it, and there's a few names that come up as options. Some places are known to be cheap, our tour guide said anything really cheap is probably something you don't want to be eating.

The most famous venue is definitely Cafe Santiago ( and although I don't remember the experience that clearly, I do remember feeling wow this is heavy, thick and excessive and probably enough to try once in a lifetime. It seems lifetimes come around more often, and so wanting to try it again, I avoided the curiosity to relive the experience at Santiago and went to a local friend's recommendation of Brasao Aliados instead.

It's a much finer venue for one, more like a bar restaurant than Santiago's fastfood diner. The thing that also brought me here was the vegetarian option, which is hard to find out information about online.

- Francesinha with egg €10.5 - medium rare steak, bacon, chorizo, cheese, meaty tomato sauce, egg. Strong meaty flavours and quite salty, but at least the ingredients seemed decent quality (particularly the steak);
- Vegetable francesinha €10 - asparagus, mushroom, eggplant, fake sausage, tomato rich sauce. Less heavy and more tomato flavour but still a good alternative;
- Orange & mustard salad €3.5 - simple.

Finished with a large glass of white wine sangria 0.4L for €6. I would actually come back to this popular place for food and drink. That occasion would only be on the rare occasion of visiting Porto, so it probably would be to relive the francesinha.

Gelatopia, Porto 09-2020

With a solid 5 rating on Google (130 reviews) and it being so close to our Airbnb and the ribeira, I had to visit here. For whatever reason, they were handing out tiny mini cones with a sample of their dulce de leche gelato on it. It didn't sucker me in as I was going to anyway, but it was a nice start.

At €2.8 per scoop, this place is really expensive. They didn't have pistachio, so instead of this hot 29C day, I opted for the Coconut Milk & Ginger. It was a very strong ginger flavoured thick sorbet that seemed to do ok in the heat. There wasn't really any discernible coconut milk flavour. Very good but I don't know if I could justify the price over other places, such as Cremosi.

Pedro Dos Frangos, Porto 09-2020

Far from the Nandos peri-peri (which is delicious in its own right) is the Portuguese charcoal chicken and periperi oil. I'd tried it twice in Lisbon before ( and Each time I enjoyed the roast chicken noting the chilli (but not savoury) addition of chilli oil although not thinking it was a particularly special meal to set out for.

With one week in Porto, meal variety was important and why not a nice roast chicken? It was difficult to find consistent recommendations but Pedro Dos Frangos was a longterm institution, so popular they had opened a second one across the road. Watching the chickens being rotated slowly over the coals was a beautiful sight.

Far from the more expensive Lisbon prices (€10.5 for a whole in 2013, or €7.6 for a half in 2019), a whole chicken with fries cost a mere €10.5. It came with a semi crisp skin, not seasoned but with a touch of salt and peri oil it was delicious and great. Not the most tender but adequate (I suppose they just keep roasting until they are ordered). Chips were pretty good but not that crisp. A nice simple salad accompanied.

If it was only a short visit to Portugal, I probably would stick to seafood. However any meat cravings could easily be satisfied by a chicken.

Ora Viva, Porto 09-2020

At the end of our free walking tour, the guide gave a list of recommendations. He said he didn't really eat octopus often, but there's only two places he would - his grandma and Ora Viva. Considering Portugal's reputation for octopus and the delicious stews I had of it last time, it seemed a strong accolade for a local place to try. It is in the ribeira area but on a back alley rather than facing the Douro, which I suppose arguably means the quality and/or value must be better.

- Grilled octopus €16 - although I took a pretty useless photo (didn't want to stand up), the moderate serving of octopus seemed to have been grilled then oiled and vegetables added. The octopus was very tender, as only the Portuguese (and probably Spanish) do, but not crisp on the outsides (which the Greeks do). Nice overall;
- Shellfish stew €19.5 - a salty saffron seafood soup with lots of little prawns, clams, and a few big ones for measure including a huge green lip mussel (with the meat completely filling the shell). Soft fish too and overall very tasty.

A very good meal overall and well worthy of the recommendation. Serves for 2 are decently cheaper than individual ones, but knowing Portugal there's only so much one can eat and would want to try multiple things (I suppose there's always takeaway...)

Taberna Santo Antonio, Porto 09-2020

Many an online recommendation list mentioned Santo Antonio as one of the best local dining options in Porto. It seemed to be frequented by locals and tourists with a continuous stream of people wanting to get in even to the later hours of the night. What I didn't expect was that there would be a really lovely and popular (with locals drinking) sunset spot at Horto das Virtudes. And of course after seeing the colours disappear from over the Douro river, there's no better place to eat than here.

Luckily although the place was full, the warm autumn evening (with only a light cool breeze) meant that eating outside at the first available table was a fine option. I had read that they do the best cod fritters in town and so gave up my instincts of pig cheeks or veal stew to get it.

- Empanadas 1€ each - offered first as a snack and gladly accepted. There was a nice meat version and also a fish (almost certainly cod) one with chunks of flesh and a creamy sauce;
- Pataniscas con arroz de feijao (cod patties with bean rice) €8 - crisp fried thick cod pieces served with a flavoursome rice. I wondered if the rice was cooked in a pork stock perhaps;
- Bacalhau a braga (codfish fried with sauce of onion) €14 - bacalao which has been salted and hence dried until it had an intrinsic lovely chewy texture. It was a little bit too salty (unsurprising given the method of preparation) but overall really delicious. Crisp flats of potatoes accompanied;
- Desserts are on display in the cabinet inside. Egg white flan had a strong burnt flavour (not bad though) and really soft, light inside. Cheese tart was thick and served surprisingly with caramelised pumpkin.

Overall an excellent meal and one I would go back to next time.