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Discover the flavours of the North and the best "tascos" in Porto

Fernando CC BY-NC-ND

Known for the hospitality, Porto and the North of Portugal is also generous when serving food. Although the most contemporary venues recently became a good reason to visit the city of Porto (as well as other cities in northern Portugal), the most traditional and typical places continue to be a good reason to discover the flavors of Portugal.

In this region you will find a huge variety of dishes (fish, seafood, meat, regional and convent pastries) that become unique when prepared with local ingredients.

With four demarcated wine producing regions, the region also offers a wine for every occasion. Among the many exceptional wines produced here, one is known across the world - Port wine, produced in the oldest demarcated wine region in the world - but there are others waiting to be savored, such as the red and white wines from Douro and the green wines from the Region of Minho.

We will guide you through the best flavors in northern Portugal, with particular emphasis on Porto's cuisine and the taverns where you can taste the numerous delicacies our country has to offer.

Alto Douro and Northeast

In the northeast, in the Trás-os-Montes region, flavours are determined by the mountains. It is there that the meat included in the many succulent dishes of the region is produced. Alheiras, the bread and game meat sausages from Mirandela, enjoy almost mythical status. In Montalegre, various smoked (pork) meats are used in the Barrosã stew ("cozido à barrosã"). Everything is seasoned "Barrosã style", and cured with oak wood smoke and the healthy cold emanating from the soil. In Mondim de Basto, trying the Maronesa meat and the moist sponge cake, a specialty and icon of this region, is an absolute must. Its ingredients are sugar, wheat flour and homemade eggs.

In the lands of Minho

Traditional Minho cuisine includes several noteworthy dishes, such as "caldo verde" (a soup with thinly sliced cabbage, potatoes, garlic, onions and olive oil, together with slices of good smoked sausage and corn bread as a side dish), lamprey, shad and cod, as well as the "sarrabulho" (a stew made of curdled blood of a pig in a porridge or rice), the "rojões" (seasoned pieces of pork loin), the pork leg and the lamb.

In Esposende (Braga), "Clarinhas de Fão" are the queens of sweets. Sweets are also quite famous in Barcelos, Braga district (due to "brisas do cavado", "queijadinhas", "sonhos"), but the symbol of the area, the rooster, is also common at the table. Still in the sweets department, Braga is the land of the famous Abade de Priscos pudding, which is made of eggs, bacon and Port wine.

Porto and around

Visiting Porto almost always includes the tasting of a "francesinha" and Porto style tripes. To drink, ask for a draught beer ("fino") served in a thin and tall glass. Before the meal, we recommend a Port and Tonic - a cocktail made with dry white Port Wine, tonic water, ice and a slice of lemon in a tall glass. There are also good fish dishes in Porto, particularly cod ("Gomes de Sá", "Brás", "Zé do Pipo" or "João do Buraco" style, among others).

To taste these dishes, select one of the taverns we recommend. You will find them almost everywhere in the city.

In the center of Porto, there are several taverns to taste the most traditional flavors, such as Adega Alfredo, with its walls lined with blue and white tiles; Adega do Quim; Casa Guedes, known for its famous shank sandwiches; Casa Louro, famous for its smoked meats and the Lamego smoked ham; Escondidinho de Barredo; Fundinense Casa Leandro; Buraquinho, in the heart of downtown Porto, open since 1927; and Porto Ginginha, a great place to try roasted cod, "sarrabulho" porridge, Porto style tripes and the Portuguese stew.

Located between Foz and Ribeira, Adega Rio Douro - "Casa Piedade" is a place that offers various Portuguese style snacks such "iscas", piglet or "sarrabulho" porridge - all this with Douro's riverside breeze to go with it. Every Tuesday afternoon there is also "fado vadio" music to go with the snacks. Closer to Ribeira, Casa da Nelinha is a small restaurant with a terrace overlooking the river where you can have Porto style tripes that will delight you.

Very close to Avenida da Boavista, "A Badalhoca" is a place with a relaxed atmosphere and rustic decor. Order the crispy bread, stuffed with tasty sliced ham.

Near the universities, Casa das Iscas is a century-old place that was recently refurbished but whose ancient stone walls have been preserved. Be sure to try the fried diced cod coated with flour, a recipe whose secret is passed down from owner to owner.

To fully experience the rich cuisine that Porto has to offer, please see our guide for the more traditional "Tascos" or for new Gourmet Tascos.

Porto and the North of Portugal is a region that prides itself on welcoming visitors at all levels. Discover all we have to offer. Please contact us to clarify any doubts you may have or if you need help to draw up a plan with the best flavors of Portugal

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