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Blog Travel Ideas

The Ultimate Food Guide to Portugal by We Love Small Hotels

By We Love Small Hotels | 25 June 2018

The Portuguese gastronomy is rich in flavour and in ingredients, with a big influence by the Mediterranean diet and also by the Atlantic, or wouldn’t be Portugal facing the Atlantic Ocean with kilometres of “golden” beaches. Spices also occupy a place in the national gastronomy, brought from India and other countries by the time of the maritime discoveries in the 15th century.

You can expect different dishes and many ways of cooking the same thing as you travel north to south. Be sure to visit some of the most traditional restaurants so you can taste the true flavours, but also give it a try at our trendy and more contemporary cuisine that is now spreading across the country, brought by young and talented Portuguese Chefs.

It’s easy to lose yourself through so many good restaurants, so check this food guide we have prepared for you.

North of Portugal

Casa da Viúva Wine Bar

Near Penafiel and close to Solar Egas Moniz, in a typical and charming Portuguese village called Quintandona, you will find this wine bar. Visit Casa da Viúva with good expectations of food and wine as you will not leave disappointed. People here like to give warm welcomes and share histories, so come with time.

DOC

With one of the most astonishing views to Douro River and its vineyards, restaurant DOC will also surprise your taste. Chef Rui Paula will be your host and will present to you regional inspired dishes. Traditional meat dishes, fish and other famous Portuguese ingredients will be at your table with a touch of creativity by the chef that is also looking to give the perfect details to this gastronomic experience. Also, don’t forget to order a good wine, this is the land for it!

São Gião

Exquisite and charming, the restaurant São Gião "commanded" by Chef Pedro Nunes follows the seasons and bets on smoked and game meats. The right dishes matched with the seasons, with delicacy, great flavour and an incredible view of the vineyards of Guimarães.

Porto

Café Santiago

Famous for the best “Francesinhas” in town, right in front of Coliseu do Porto. Here the queue outside reveals the flavours inside, everyone wants a bite. The best part, the relation between quantity, quality and price will leave you overwhelmed.

Restaurant DOP

Chef Rui Paula will be your host here, one of the best known chefs in Portugal. Expect fine dining in this restaurant in the heart of Porto city. Excellent flavours, excellent wine selection, you will not leave disappointed as the experience of eating in this place will bring good memories and great enthusiasm to come back.

Restaurant Reitoria

If you like steaks and “petiscos”, together with good wine, then this is the place. In a beautiful building from the 19th century, we recommend that you come in the beginning of the evening, ask for a glass of wine with the Portuguese tapas and finish with a great steak.

Restaurant Torreão

You will be impressed by the views over the Douro River. Besides the excellent food this restaurant has a social project behind, helping to reintegrate people living on the fringe of society, giving them the opportunity to work here. You should definitely come here in one of the days of your stay in Porto.

Flow

What a beautiful place, what was before a ceramics factory, has been restored into a restaurant, respecting the old and bringing a new modern touch to it. Chef Rui Mingatos is responsible for a menu featuring Mediterranean cuisine. Come to have dinner here and try the bacalhau (codfish).

Centre of Portugal

Mesa de Lemos

Right in the middle of the vineyard, close to the city of Viseu, lays a beautiful building that houses this restaurant. Excellent wines are served at the table and food has not been forgotten. Experience a good gastronomic travel through the flavours of the “Dão region”.

Tia Alice

Close to Fátima, you will find this small restaurant, in a kind of a “cult” to the high regional gastronomy. Fish rice with sea bass and monkfish, shrimp or cod stew, the emblematic codfish Tia Alice, sea gratin, country duck rice and the delicious veal roasted in a wood-fired oven are some of the specialities if you can’t say no.

Lisbon

Belcanto

Chef José Avillez, Michelin awarded chef is the owner of Belcanto. Here you will find high cuisine, with unique flavours, resulting in an authentic voyage through some of the best products that grow in Portugal, allowing you to get to know each region, just by tasting them.

Cervejaria Ramiro

Ramiro is the most famous seafood restaurants in Lisbon and you can’t skip it. It represents the Portuguese culture and the best sea life that surrounds our national coast. Have a beer and some lobster. Come at 7 pm to avoid the big cues.

Laurentina

Are you a fan of codfish? Well, this is the place to eat proper codfish, cooked in the Portuguese way with national olive oil. Here you will find codfish cooked in many ways, cod loaves or codfish with curry. After all, there are more than thousand ways to serve it!

Fumeiro de Santa Catarina

The ideal place to grab some small dishes, small and nicely decorated. Every plate has some smoked ingredient. Don’t leave without trying a dessert.

Noobai Café

Looking for a place to eat with views over the Tagus river? Look no further because this is your place. Facing Tagus river, this restaurant is cosy and well presented. In the menu, you can find salads, tortillas and sushi. It’s a place to stay and relax, enjoying the good food and the good weather.

Nova Pombalina

This traditional restaurant is famous for its delicious leitão (suckling pig) sandwich, served on freshly baked bread in 60 seconds or less by the lightning-fast crew behind the counter. Order a fresh juice and a light and delicious cheese tart made with artisanal sheep cheese from Seia.  This classic, quiet and very affordable place will not let you down. Come for lunchtime.

Bar do Guincho

With a rustic design, made of wood and rock, this restaurant offers a cosy and relaxed environment. Very near to the beach - Praia do Guincho - feel the summer breeze and order the octopus. A famous dish in Portugal called “Polvo à Lagareiro” is the speciality of this house.

Azenhas do Mar

Almost settled in the Ocean, here you can listen to the sound of waves. Even though this restaurant serves Mediterranean dishes, our advice is to order some plate that includes fish or seafood, the fish here is just perfect! You will not be disappointed as these plates are what make this house known for. Choose a good wine and look into the Ocean, relax and experience true Portuguese gastronomy.

Ribamar

1 hour from Lisbon, heading south, you will find a small town called Sesimbra. With only the road separating the restaurant from the beach, you can feel the ocean breeze in the summer and see the waves in the cold months. The smell that comes from the kitchen tells us that fish and seafood are the ingredients that make this restaurant live for. Order the famous fish soup, made with fresh fish and seafood and Portugal will be in your heart forever!

Alentejo

A Escola

This restaurant occupies what in times was a primary school. You can observe the blackboard and the decoration that transports you to that time where children would be running in the courtyard. This restaurant has wine selection that will drive you to uncertainty and the food is incredible.

Mercearia Gadanha

Right in the centre of Estremoz, you will find tradition from Alentejo together with innovation in all plates that are served here. Take a look at the wine selection, ask for what pairs best with your order and experience true Alentejo and traditions.

Basilii Restaurant

This restaurant belongs to Torre de Palma Wine Hotel, by the hands of Chef Filipe Ramalho who picks all the ingredients that this region has to offer and creates fine food with the flavours of the Alentejo. Join to the masterpieces of the Chef a bottle of Torre de Palma wine so you can have the full experience.

Algarve

São Roque

You can’t visit Lagos and miss this restaurant where the seafood brings the ocean to your mouth. As for the plates, fish will be present in every one of them. Grilled, fish rice, “caldeirada” or “cataplana”, you choose. The wines they offer are suited for the plates they serve here as well. Relax at your table, feel the ocean in your table and look to it through the windows.

Casa da Igreja

This is a simple house, known for seafood. It offers views to Tavira island and it has the best oysters from Ria Formosa. If you are a fan of seafood, this is a place that you don’t want to miss.

Noélia

On front of the Ria Formosa is located Noélia & Jerónimo, this restaurant is famous for its fresh ingredients. The speciality is seafood and fish dishes, responsibility of the proximity to the sea. In the dishes of this restaurant find the tradition with originality and surprise yourself!

Açores

Mané Cigano

A typical restaurant, you will not find a gracious decoration, because here it’s all about the food. Even though this restaurant has a handwritten menu, it will not be necessary as in this place people go for the “chicharros” (mackerel).

Madeira

Doca do Cavacas

Located on the edge of a cliff facing the ocean, this restaurant is surrounded by cliffs and natural pools. The terrace invites you to stay when it’s good weather and the menu is full of fish dishes. Don’t miss the “Lapas” (Grilled Limpets).