Porto’s fine-dining scene lacks the kaleidoscope of options you’ll find in Lisbon, but it’s catching up — as befits a city with a rising profile among travel trendsetters (whoever those are) and a deep winemaking tradition. The restaurant at The Yeatman hotel remains Porto’s top table, but there are other establishments worth a visit, whether for a gastronomic evening out or a more casual lunch or dinner. Here are a few places where we enjoyed meals during a recent visit.
Foz is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Porto, near the mouth of the Douro River, and up one of its charmingly narrow streets you’ll find this elegant restaurant in a restored stone house. Opened by chef Lemos in 2009, it has earned a Michelin star since 2014 for dishes that deftly combine Portuguese traditions with contemporary global flavors. I ate in the upstairs dining room — handsome with gray-blue walls studded with black ceramic swallows — and opted for an “abridged” three-course dinner rather than the longer tasting menus on offer. With amuse-bouches and other extras, this still ended up as a series of seven dishes, each of them superb. A dainty quail tart arrived alongside a small bowl of quail dashi with spinach. A disc of foie gras came on a raku ceramic plate dotted with several pear-Madeira sauces; this was paired with a 10-year Barbeito Verdelho Madeira. Azorean tuna loin referenced Japan with its accompaniment of enoki mushrooms and wasabi pearls; pigeon served with chanterelles and grilled endive evoked France. But the ingredients were mostly Portuguese, with some of the produce grown on a small rooftop terrace. The service, with waitstaff dressed in formal black jackets but charismatically conversational, was pitch-perfect.
Rua do Padre Luís Cabral 974. Tel. (351) 220-115-986