The beating heart of northern Portugal, Porto is a beautiful and bustling city lined with orange-roofed buildings and hilly cobblestone streets. While Port wine is the city’s most prized creation, it’s not the only delectable offering in its arsenal.

Famous Portuguese dishes you can try on my Porto food tours like francesinha and caldo verde all hail from here. But to indulge in the cuisine, you need to dine at Porto’s best restaurants, which I’ve included in this list. Shall we take a look?

Bacalhau

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Photo credit: Bacalhau Restaurant

Situated on the banks of the Douro River, overlooking the famous Luís I Bridge, Bacalhau could easily lure customers in for its location alone. Yet, the setting is just a bonus when you consider how incredible the food is.

The white-washed walls and pale wooden decor make for a bright and airy indoor area, but, for me, nothing beats sitting riverside on the patio. I’ve somehow managed to secure a seat here each time I’ve visited, but I can imagine it’s much more difficult to do so during the high season!

Bacalhau translates to cod and usually refers to the dried and salted variety amongst foodies. Rather predictably, this was my order when I dined in this restaurant. 

Bacalhau can be made in many different ways, including pastéis de bacalhau, bacalhau à brás, bacalhau com natas and much more. 

My favorite version that they serve here is the bolinhos de bacalhau. They’re deep-fried cod croquettes with a blend of codfish and mashed potato cooked in breadcrumbs.

I’m not typically a fan of codfish skin, but the way these guys prepare it ensures it’s always delightfully crunchy and savory. The flavor was a little more pungent than fresh cod, and it worked perfectly with the crispy potatoes and tangy onions.

Bacalhau (€€)Muro dos Bacalhoeiros 154, 4050-080 Porto, Portugal – Every day, 12:00 am to 10:00 pm

Tapabento S. Bento

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Photo credit: Tapabento S. Bento

Who would have thought that one of the most coveted eateries in Porto would be tucked away inside a train station? Tapabento is located at São Bento train station in Ribeira and is home to a fabulous tapas-style menu with a Portuguese and Asian twist.

Much like the station it’s positioned in, Tapabento is a feast for the eyes. Rustic tables, elaborate tiles, and a contemporary bar area give the restaurant a casual, eclectic vibe, which is as snazzy as its menu.

Many of the classic tapas plates you’d expect in Spain are available here, including Iberian ham, croquettes, and crusty bread with olive oil. As delicious as their larger servings of risotto and seafood curry sounded, I stuck to the tapas menu and opted for the fish soup and potato tortilla.

Made from meager monkfish and shrimp, the soup burst with subtly sweet flavors and was topped with refreshing and peppery cilantro. Thankfully, the soup was quite light, which meant I had plenty of room for the thick slices of buttery potato that followed.

Tapabento S.Bento (€€) R. da Madeira 221, 4000-330 Porto, Portugal – Closed Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Taberna Dos Mercadores

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Photo credit: Taberna Dos Mercadores

Taberna Dos Mercadores is among the best restaurants in Porto for a traditional Portuguese dining experience. Just a stone’s throw from the waterfront in the north of the city, this little spot is perched along a quaint walkway in the center.

I love how cozy and compact the interior is, with its white stone walls and assortment of wine bottles decorating every corner. There’s only a small handful of tables inside, so I generally try to make a reservation a few days ahead of time.

This haunt has an extensive wine list to rival pretty much any of the wine bars in the city, which blew me away when I dined here last year. I was a bit overwhelmed with the options initially, but in the end, the pairing I went for was the salt-crusted seabass and white port.

One of the servers actually set seabass alight right in front of me, and the presentation’s theatrics were almost as impressive as its fork-tender texture. Juicy and beautifully delicate, the saltiness from the seabass was complemented by the port’s soft apricot and vanilla tones.

Taberna Dos Mercadores (€€) R. dos Mercadores 36, Porto, Portugal – Closed Monday, Tuesday to Sunday, 12:30 pm to 10:30 pm

The Yeatman Gastronomic Restaurant

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Photo credit: The Yeatman Gastronomic Restaurant

As far as Porto restaurants for fine dining go, few establishments can compare to the signature eatery at the Yeatman Hotel in the south city center. A Michelin-starred restaurant with an exceptional chef at the helm on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the Douro River where most wine cellars are located in the city.

I had the pleasure of sampling their seasonal tasting menu not so long ago, and the spread was divine from start to finish. The grandeur and elegance of the chandelier-clad dining room set the tone for the eight-course culinary extravaganza that was to follow.

In what felt like a masterclass in Portuguese cuisine infused with international influences, I sampled a blend of exquisite dishes. Some of the stand-out menu items were the suckling pig and nitro oysters.

Remarkably moist, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and slightly sweet and savory in flavor, the suckling pig was superb. It paired excellently with the indulgent creamed corn. Next up were the briny and earthy oysters, which were firm and had just the right amount of saltiness with every mouthful.

The Yeatman Gastronomic Restaurant (€€€€) 49MP+8Q Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal – Closed Monday, Tuesday to Sunday, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Ribeira Square

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Photo credit: Ribeira Square

Ribeira Square is a family-run restaurant with top-notch Portuguese food. It’s a lovely spot that’s a fantastic introduction to local gastronomy for first-time visitors and sits between Bolsa Palace and Porto Cathedral.

A clutch of parasol-covered tables lie outside, but I’m partial to the inviting indoor dining area. Covered in dark wooden paneling and fitted with muted lighting, this part of the restaurant feels like it would fit right into someone’s home!

Tapas plates and local creations are their specialties, and the team at Ribeira Square offers a wide-ranging list of hot and cold favorites. They also know a thing or two about fine wines, so I always make sure I ask them for their recommendations for wine pairings.

Ever since I tried their francesinha a few months back, I’ve been longing to return. This sandwich, Porto specialty, when I ordered it, it was made up of toasted bread, melted cheese, chorizo, smoked ham, succulent beef, and a beer-spiked sauce.

At Ribeira Square, francesinha is capped with a fried egg; it added another depth of flavor to the intense beef, creamy cheese, and spicy sauce. To counteract the decadence of the sandwich, I sipped on a citrussy and zesty glass of white sangria.

Ribeira Square (€€) Praça Ribeira 16, 4050-513 Porto, Portugal – Monday and Thursday to Saturday, 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, Sunday, 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Muro do Bacalhau

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Photo credit: Muro do Bacalhau

Muro do Bacalhau is a riverfront hideaway that I frequently find myself returning to each time I’m in Porto. Nestled along the edge of the São Nicolau neighborhood, Muro do Bacalhau seems to become even more sought-after each time I return. 

If I stop by during the winter months, I prefer to retreat to the nautical-inspired dining room and admire the exposed stone walls. That being said, when the temperatures are a little warmer, the outdoor patio is a glorious spot for a bite to eat with stunning views of the city.

Because of the array of sharing plates available here, Muro do Bacalhau is an ideal dinner spot for groups. My friend and I went for the grilled cuttlefish and a bowl of açorda, a Portuguese stew. As always, the service was efficient, and we were tucking into our food in no time.

First up was the cuttlefish, which had a touch of sweetness and milky hints. We then moved on to the açorda, it was filled with fresh bread, mild shrimp, rich egg yolk, and a sprinkling of lemony cilantro; the açorda was incredibly nourishing and the ultimate Portuguese comfort food!

Muro do Bacalhau (€€) Cais da Estiva 122, 4050-080 Porto, Portugal, Every day 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm

éLeBê Baixa

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Photo credit: éLeBê Baixa

The illustrious Bolhão neighborhood is celebrated for its vibrant market and stunning architecture. These days, restaurants like éLeBê Baixa have cemented the area’s status as an epicenter for gastronomy.

Although it’s trendy and modern, the copper finishes and laidback ambiance make éLeBê Baixa feel warm and welcoming. Something else I really appreciate about this bistro is how personable and passionate the staff is, which is reason enough to come back.

I tend to favor seafood on most of my visits to Porto, and the garlic octopus sounded too good to resist. This is a pretty treasured dish throughout Porto, but the éLeBê Baixa spin on it might just be the best. It was impeccably presented with potatoes and turnip leaves.

As I’d hoped, the octopus was firm without being chewy, and the punchy garlic elevated the gentle flavors of the meat. The wild turnip leaves were slightly bitter, and the potatoes were super fluffy and filled with thick garlic mayo. 

éLeBê Baixa (€€)R. de Santo Ildefonso 118, 4000-464 Porto, Portugal, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Closed Tuesday, Friday to Sunday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

A Cozinha do Manel

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Photo credit: A Cozinha do Manel

A charming and traditional spot that’s regularly ranked amongst the best restaurants in Porto, A Cozinha do Manel is a popular eatery in Bonfim. Whenever I’m craving something comforting and wholesome, this is where I find myself drawn to.

Packed with colorful Mediterranean-style tiles, photo frames, and mismatched trinkets, the interior almost feels like an antique showroom. If you look up, you’ll spot everything from old bicycles to rustic-looking lanterns hanging from the ceiling!

The menu is brimming with a ton of northern Portuguese dishes, including rojões de porco, which are delicious pork bites, roasted veal, and hearty vegetable soup. Despite all the mouthwatering options, I had my heart set on tripas à moda, Porto’s signature dish.

Consisting of mild-flavored beef tripe, white beans, rice, and carrots, this tripas à moda had a wonderful mix of umami tastes and soft textures. Both the tripe and rice had soft flavors, which allowed the nuttiness of the beans and the lightly sweet carrots to shine through. 

A Cozinha do Manel (€€) Rua do Heroísmo 215, 4300-255 Porto, Portugal – Closed Monday, Tuesday to Saturday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Sunday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Postigo do Carvão

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Photo credit: Postigo do Carvão

One street back from the edge of the Douro River in São Nicolau is Postigo do Carvão, an authentic and relaxed restaurant for excellent local fare. I stumbled upon this place several years ago and have been recommending it endlessly ever since.

The decor is something I can never quite put my finger on, which is perhaps why I find Postigo do Carvão so enchanting. Stone archways and old-fashioned stoves sit alongside industrial-inspired features and a sleek bar, making this place feel like somewhat of a mishmash.

Settling on just one or two options from their lengthy a la carte menu is always a struggle I face here. More often than not, I end up asking the waiting staff for suggestions. Both the bacalhau com natas and seafood rice are splendid, but the cataplana de tamboril takes the top spot for me.

Though it’s traditionally from southern Portugal, the guys at Postigo do Carvão whip up a sensational version of cataplana de tamboril. This is a brilliant dish for seafood fans to share; it consisted of some salty, meaty monkfish in a luscious tomato soup filled with sweet, herbal, and slightly zesty flavors.

Each mouthful was made even more tantalizing thanks to the aromatic and sharp white wine, umami-like onions, and warm bread.

Postigo do Carvão (€€)R. da Fonte Taurina 24, 4050-269 Porto, Portugal, Every day, 12:00 pm to 11:30 pm

Conclusion

Despite its southern neighbor of Lisbon often taking the crowning glory as Portugal’s culinary center, Porto continues to challenge the capital for this title.

Blending new recipes with old-time favorites, the brightest and best restaurants in Porto are a testament to the city’s dynamic gastronomic scene. Over the coming years, I expect Porto to become one of Europe’s great foodie cities.

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