Culinary Portugal: where to eat in and around Porto

Culinary Portugal: where to eat in and around Porto

We went to Oporto and its surroundings to try the local gastronomy: here’s what we ate and the restaurants we recommend.

Combining tradition and modernity, respecting the legacy of culture and history by renewing it without fear of the contemporary. This is the recipe that Portugal is pursuing, to be an economically and culturally growing country, increasingly increasingly ambitious country, with great attention to tourism developmentA recipe that should serve as an example to other nations like ours, which instead lives in a state of resentful immobility. All sectors make use of this development policy, especially the tourism sector, closely linked to the food and wine sector. A recent trip to the north of the country, organized by the Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte , left these impressions clear. In the 250 kilometers between Oporto and Bragança, you practically arrive at the border with Spain, until just over 30 years ago there was not even a motorway to connect. It was a poor, depressed area. Now it passes in the midst of magnificent panoramas and in every country where you arrive there are construction sites to renovate, redevelop, build in compliance withtraditions and culture but with the awareness of being in the 21st century. And a great team spirit, of participation in a project, naturally also in the food and wine field .

Wines and cheeses

A strong bond that unites with pride, as I have rarely seen, producers, restaurateurs and consumers. Even in the representation of a different Portugal, for example in the field of wine.the port is a reference point and the vinho verde the most drunk  The Porto is a landmark and the Vinho Verde wine drank more, but there are many others uinte (the Portuguese word for cellar) between the Douro Valley and the Tras-os-Montes region that produce interesting labels, recovering ancient historical vines: Tinta Amarela , Bastardo , Muscatel Gallego and many others give life to rich, savory, tasty wines to combine with food. And in the same way some almost disappeared and unknown dairy jewels have come back to light, also due to the limited production, outside the Portuguese borders. The protagonist is goat and sheep milk as, to name one, in the Terrincho Velhoboth fresh and seasoned, the latter aged in spelled between 60 and 120 days, which gives it a tone of rustic elegance. Wines and cheeses can be found on the menu and in restaurant trolleys, which are overwhelmingly made up of local, rather than national, products. To create a real supply chain .


The restaurants, by relating to the territory, have gained in personality and recognition , as well as in recognition . Today in Portugal there are 6 restaurants with 2 stars and 20 with one star and they are not few for a country that is not very large;many michelin stars have only arrived in recent yearsmoreover, many have arrived in recent years. In 2016 it was obtained by Rui Paula, a well-known chef in the media (he is one of the protagonists of the Lusitanian edition of Masterchef), owner of three restaurants between the Douro Valley and Porto. A Casa de Chá de Boa Nova has sweeping views of the Atlantic, in Leça de Palmeira, just outside Porto. Restaurant with an international flair, in the location, in the service and in the dishes. A unique menu that can be declined in 21 or 12 stages, which finds its best when it is expressed out of a long series of tastings to focus on complete and defined dishes. The sea becomes synonymous with the travels and experiences of the chef such as in cod stew and in the magnificent cross between Korea and the Atlantic, between a soup of kimchi and shrimp.

But it is the issue of sustainability and proximity that has struck us most. Environmental sustainability, in the zero waste and economic production, investing money in the professional training of personnel. António Loureiro’s basic philosophy in his A Cozinha in the splendid historic center of Guimarães, where he returned after being around the world, with a cuisine that plays gracefully on the contrasts between smoked mackerel and a tomato sorbet and on classicism of a high school lamb. And this year the star has arrived.

The star also arrived in the place that more than others embodies the whole meaning of the journey: the Pousada de Bragança Sâo Bartolomeu . Two brothers, linked to the traditional family restaurant, where Oscar has always cooked,a restaurant that speaks of territory, of traditionwhile Antonio has traveled the world to train and establish himself as a man in the dining room. 5 years ago the opportunity to take over a historic building in Bragança, the classic Portuguese Pousada , to make us a restaurant that speaks of territory and tradition. Oscar was trained in the kitchen with his mother, and from there he leaves with an extra touch. And even if a shrimp arrives at your table, caught 200 kilometers away, it is brought back to the earth with ancient-flavored wheat and a touch of Algeria, the typical sausage of Bragança (and as with all typical things, each one preserves the original recipe). From the earth comes the pigeon touchedto perfection from the heat of the fire, surrounded by mushrooms and a citrus note. And while Antonio in the dining room talks to you about every single person who produces what arrives on your plate, you understand how much sustainability, proximity, group are the words that will remain stuck in your memory of this journey.

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