13 Restaurants In Porto Where You Can Eat Like A Local

It is not difficult to see why Porto, Portugal has become such a hot spot for international tourists. With its breathtaking river views, proximity to the beach, and iconic Dom Luís Bridge, Porto has started to draw more and more visitors every year. Unfortunately, the city's increasing popularity has also meant a rise in businesses directed toward foreigners. Gone are the days when you could linger at Porto's Ribeira — or river-side area — and see spot locals hanging their laundry, sipping a beer, or even taking a dip in the Rio Douro. In 2023, most restaurants in the Ribeira serve burgers and fried fish to sunburnt tourists.

While the Ribeira continues to be an awesome spot to catch a good view of the Dom Luís Bridge, it isn't exactly ideal for getting a taste of authentic Portuguese food. If you are looking for a true Portuguese experience, try venturing deeper into the city and grabbing a table at one of the city's infamous tascas — or casual street-side eateries. These are the best place to enjoy a hot plate of baked cod, freshly grilled sardines, or even a juicy steak. Alternatively, you can step into one of Porto's many fine dining restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh locally-grown food in an upscale environment. From a premium steak and cheese sandwich shop to a locale with mountain-inspired food, these are the most authentic Portuguese restaurants in Porto this year.

1. Lareira — Baixa

If you are looking for a spot that's popular among tourists and locals alike, head to Lareira in Baixa. This restaurant is located on the bustling Rua Das Oliveiras, a street known for its cobblestone roads and active late-night wine culture. To get a feel for this vibrant area, head to Lareira for some evening petiscos, or Portuguese tapas

Folks looking to order shared plates for the table can count on the octopus in molho verde, or green sauce, to provide a light yet delicate flavor. Prepared with finely chopped onions and good Portuguese olive oil, this dish has a tangy yet smooth flavor. Another solid choice is the ham and cheese plate, which comes with a varied selection of locally-cured hams and cheeses. While this dish might seem heavy, it is served with vinaigrette, or a mixture of raw veggies and vinegar that will help cut through the fattiness of the meats. 

Don't be afraid to ask for a second (or even third!) basket of bread to go with your petiscos. While you will have to pay for the refills, they are totally worth it, as Lareira only serves freshly-made fare. In Portuguese culture, it is also normal to petiscar with a drink in hand, so go ahead and order the white sangria. Served in a glass with mint leaves, sliced apples, and a cinnamon stick, this beverage is somehow sweet, tangy, and earthy, all at once. It is a must-order.

2. Casa Expresso — Baixa

Located beside Lareira on Rua Das Oliveiras, Casa Expresso offers a much more traditional Portuguese vibe. Depending on the time of day that you swing by this no-frills locale, you will see workers enjoying a cold 5 o'clock beer, large groups of friends sharing a meal, or even students coming in for a late dinner. Of all the restaurants in Baixa, this one might offer you the best perspective of where locals like to hang out.

In terms of food, everything at Casa Expresso is homemade, and the offering is quite traditional. Before you walk inside, take a moment to check out the chalkboard hanging in the front window for the day's dinner options and prices. Typical menu items will include peixinhos, or grilled sardines, as well as alheira, a typical Portuguese sausage that can be made from a blend of turkey, chicken, and even wild boar. People who are more adventurous eaters will love the "tripas à moda do Porto." Meaty and rich, this dish is a Porto classic made from veal tripes, white beans, and plenty of chorizo. Regardless of which item you choose, however, it will come with boiled potatoes and farm-fresh salads. To chase it all down, we recommend ordering a pitcher full of vinho da casa, or house wine.

3. Taberna Canoa — Ouro

These days, there aren't too many places where you can dive straight into the heart of Porto's culture. Luckily, Taberna Canoa fully provides that. Located in an old-fashioned house on the top of a cliff, Taberna Canoa is the very definition of a divey hole-in-the-wall restaurant. However, decorated with old Fado memorabilia and plastic streams, this family-run establishment is full of soul. Once you sit down, you risk not being able to leave the restaurant for hours, as you will likely spend the whole afternoon there, continuously eating and drinking.

Head over to Taberna Canoa for a weekday lunch and simply ask for almoço. No, there is no menu. And, even if there were one, there would be no guarantee that the restaurant would be serving any of the items. For a very reasonable price, the owners will whip up a bunch of food using whatever ingredients they have that day in the kitchen. Then, they will proceed to bring you different courses. Typically, the meal will begin with a warm bowl of soup to be followed by a hot plate which could contain anything from chicken to stewed beef to prosciutto-wrapped potatoes. Wine — or sangria — will appear on the table. And, when you drink it, more will appear. The meal almost always wraps up with a healthy portion of Port wine, a shot of espresso, and a slice of cake. There may be no better taste of authentic Portugal.

4. Café Chao Verde — Marques

Grilled sardines are one of the pillars of Portuguese cuisine, and, come summertime, they become especially significant for the people of Porto. Every June on St. John's Day, people all across the city go out into the streets to drink beer, grill sardines, and dance to music. If you can't make it to a St. John's Day celebration, however, fear not! There is one restaurant that keeps the St. John's spirit alive all summer long. 

Located on an unassuming alleyway street with next to no traffic, Café Chao Verde is a family-run neighborhood gathering spot that hosts grill-outs every Friday night from June through August. The owners take their grill out into the cobblestone alley and start whipping up sardines. It's essential to point out that this fresh catch is much larger than your typical canned variety and offers a more umami-rich flavor. At Café Chao Verde, the sardines are grilled whole, so they maintain much of their moisture, resulting in a flesh that is especially tender. However, if sardines aren't your vibe, the locale also offers other grilled fare, including thick chorizo sausages. These meats are served with broa, a type of Portuguese cornbread, and a serving of veggies. Pair it all with a cold Super Bock beer — it's the final ingredient for the perfect evening.

5. Restaurante Poveiros — Bolhao

Portugal has a strong culture of grilled meats, and Porto offers plenty of fantastic restaurants specializing in this cuisine. Known as churrasco in Portuguese, these meats are famous for their tender texture and rich flavors. But don't take our word for it. If you want to experience this style of cooking for yourself, head to Restaurante Poveiros, an unassuming restaurant located in the bustling Poveiros Plaza. Here, you can order a huge tray of sirloin steak, grilled to mouthwatering perfection. Accompanied by savory chorizo and sweet grilled pineapple, the steak tastes fatty without being overwhelming. 

Another out-of-this-world recommendation is the plate of grilled ribs. Thick and juicy, these ribs are cooked so that the outer skin provides the ideal crunchy contrast to the tender inner flesh. The best part is that this thicker cut of meat comes with a portion of pickled carrots and olives. The acidity of these unique ingredients will help cut through the fattiness of the ribs, allowing you to sink your teeth into the meat over and over again with a refreshed palate. For the perfect accompaniment, wash it all down with a glass of wine. 

6. Taberna Londrina — Baixa

When it comes to who serves the best Francesinha in Porto, there seems to be an infinite debate. Invented in Porto during the 1950s, this unique sandwich has become the symbol of the city's culinary scene. Originally based on the French croque-monsieur, the Francesinha takes things up a notch, serving ham, steak, chorizo, and sausage all in one sandwich. Ultimately, this hearty filling is stuffed between two thick slices of bread coated in a generous layer of cheese and tomato-based beer sauce to create a construction that practically explodes with flavor.

To try this local legend for yourself, head over to Taberna Londrina. This restaurant offers the busy yet casual atmosphere that you might expect from a British pub — especially on weekend nights. Here, the steak element in your Francesinha is composed of veal, making it tender enough to melt in your mouth. If that isn't really your thing, don't worry. There are alternative Francesinha options that switch out the veal for ingredients like ground chorizo, hamburger meat, and even veggie patties. The best part is that you can wash your sandwich down with one of the fresh ales on Taberna Londrina's extensive beer list. Belgian beer fans will be particularly happy to see the restaurant offering fare from La Chouffe, Kwak, and Delirium.  

7. Brasao — Salgueiros

No one restaurant has the best Francesinha in Porto, but Brasao's version of the local classic is certainly near the top of the list. Instead of mounting its sandwiches in a panini maker and melting the cheese on top, Brasao bakes its Francesinhas in the oven. The result is a rich, meaty dish that is cooked in its own juices. For a real treat, order the "Francesinha especial," which comes with a poached egg perched over the top. As you cut through this dish, the velvety liquid of the yolk will break over the rest of the sandwich, adding soft, earthy flavors to this hearty sandwich.

While the food at Brasao is excellent, nothing can compete with the restaurant's prime beachside location. Perched over the surf of the beach closest to Vila Nova de Gaia, Brasao Salgueiros provides floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer a privileged view of the waves. Far from the chaos of Porto's city center, this restaurant will give you the chance to unwind over a Francesinha and a nice glass of wine. Finish off your lunch with a casual stroll along the local beachside walkway.

8. Restaurante Pajú — Marques

Sometimes, it is nice to have a more top-quality dining experience, and Restaurante Pajú is a fantastic place to do that. Located in the residential area of Marques, this restaurant is a low-key, upscale version of a traditional tasca. While it doesn't exactly offer white tablecloths (Pajú serves its food on paper-clad wooden tables), the restaurant has a romantic ambiance. During the evening, its stone walls are lit by candles in traditional clay candlestick holders. 

In terms of food, Restaurante Pajú offers a truly incredible experience. The bacalhau cremoso, or cream-infused cod dish, combines the butter flavors of cream with the deep umami overtones of aged fish. The result is a heavy meal in which the dairy element tones down the aged cod so that it is not overwhelming. Meanwhile, the pica pau, or deconstructed Francesinha sandwich, is practically a work of art. Served on a large clay platter, the pica pau contains all the steak and sausage found in the filling of a typical Francesinha but with a side of toasted cheesy bread. This hearty dish is the essential cure to one of Porto's famously rainy winter days. Cozy up in a corner of Pajú and dig in — you'll warm up in no time.

9. Azul e Branco — Fontaínhas

If you are looking to have a casual beer and dinner with views of the river, forget about the Ribeira and head over to Azul e Branco. Nestled on the bottom floor of a traditional old building in the Fontaínhas neighborhood, Azul e Branco might not catch your attention from the outside. However, this spot provides the type of views that rival any of the touristy spots down the hill. With plastic tables and chairs that provide a high overview of the Douro River and its famous bridges, Azul e Branco is an amazing place to sit back, relax, and enjoy petiscos with beer to wash them down.

Keep in mind, however, that Azul e Branco is a true petisco joint. This means that the eats consist largely of bar food that's easily enjoyed solo or even shared among friends. Favorites include moelas — rich, meaty chicken gizzards cooked in a tomato-based sauce — and the "cachorro especial" — a cheesy chorizo hotdog cooked inside a panini press. In terms of drinks, try ordering a "fino com favaios," or a house draft of beer spiked with a type of Portuguese sweet wine reminiscent of Port. The result is an effervescent cup of beer that is simultaneously strong, tangy, and sweet.

10. Broa Restaurante — Ouro

Broa Restaurante claims to serve the type of Portuguese cuisine that one's grandma might make. However, the restaurant is so much more than that. Run by Chef Heitor de Melo, this establishment offers dishes composed of traditional ingredients, like cod, beef tongue, and duck, cooked to succulent perfection. The baked cod platters are particularly delicious. Made with high-quality Portuguese olive oil and locally-grown seasonal vegetables, these dishes exude flavorful freshness. Of course, true to its name, the locale serves broa — a savory type of Portuguese cornbread that pairs well with oilier fish dishes.

However, unlike other chic eateries, Broa Restaurant does not usher guests into a dimly lit space full of white tablecloths. Instead, it invites patrons into a traditional old Portuguese house, complete with azulejo tiles on the exterior. Take a seat in the old living room, which overlooks a relaxed neighborhood plaza, and dig into some classic local fare. You might just find that you feel at home. 

11. Fábrica Nortada — Bolhao

Sometimes, it is nice to dine at a fancier establishment, and sometimes, it is satisfying to head somewhere more casual. Fábrica Nortada is a relaxed local brewery that produces its own beers in-house. Here, you can grab a Francesinha and a freshly-made ale and simply relax after a long afternoon of exploring the city. For a simple beer with a crisp finish, try the house-made blonde ale. Meanwhile, if you are looking for something with strong golden notes, try the Vienna Lager. Both beverages pair beautifully with Nortada's Portuguese-style bar food. Flavorful favorites include locally-sourced ham and cheese platters and bolinhas de alheira, fried balls of shredded boar meat.

The best part of Fábrica Nortada, however, is not necessarily the food; it is the ability to experience a taste of local culture. On weekend nights, swing by this venue for a bit of live music. Alternatively, check out one of the brewery's many game nights. The beer is cold and the vibes are good. What else could you ask for?

12. Tasquinha d'Ouro — Ouro

Portugal has long held a reputation as a country of sailors and fishermen. To experience this side of the country's culture, head to Tasquinha d'Ouro. Perched on a small hill overlooking the Rio Douro, this restaurant provides more than just a prime view of the river; its location also offers proximity to one of the best fresh fish markets in town. Just down the street, on Rua do Ouro, there is a large open-air structure where local fishermen gather to clean the fresh catch of the day. Tasquinha d'Ouro is one of the local restaurants with dibs on the daily catch, making it one of the best spots to enjoy grilled fish.

On business days at lunchtime, you will find several charcoal grills lined up in front of Tasquinha d'Ouro and its neighboring restaurants. Here, fish caught that same morning is cooked whole and then served on a plate with boiled potatoes and steamed veggies. The grilled cuttlefish are particularly delicious. With a crusty outside and soft, velvety inside, these delicious sea eats offer deep umami flavors that pair beautifully with a crisp glass of vinho verde. 

13. A Bolina — Baixa

While many of the best restaurants in Porto serve local fare, À Bolina stands out for serving delicacies from Trás-os-Montes, a Northern Portuguese province famous for its culinary traditions. The restaurant's owner hails from this fascinating part of the country and does everything in his power to bring small-town flavors to an urban center like Porto. Thus, at À Bolina, you can enjoy house-made alheira sausage made from real wild boar, or even alcaparra, a type of olive known for its unusually potent flavor. The wine list is also especially well thought-out, with offerings from the Douro region, as well as less common options that hail from the North.

In terms of location, À Bolina is situated immediately beside the Douro River, just half a mile from the chaos of the Ribeira. There, you can soak up all of the beauty of the Dom Luís Bridge without having to deal with the crowds of tourists. Just order a few plates of petiscos and a bottle of wine and watch as the bridge lights up at night. Once you are done with your meal, you will be gifted a beautiful postcard with the restaurant's name on it. If you send it back to Portugal from another part of the world, there's a good chance it will end up on À Bolina's ever-growing wall of gracious words.