A Local’s Guide to Porto is part of a series collaboration with Spotted by Locals Porto.

Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, is best known internationally for its Port wine. Everyone knows though, that alcohol, especially stuff as strong as Port, doesn’t exactly agree with an empty stomach. To maintain your longevity, here are five locally recommended eateries that will make your visit to Porto unforgettable for both you and your palate. A word of warning: vegetarians, proceed at your own risk.

Cafe Santiago

Francesinhas are a serious matter in Porto – there’s even a brotherhood for it. Every person in the city will tell you that they know the best place to have this dish, and it’s entirely subjective. Consisting of multiple types of meat on thick white bread, smothered with cheese and topped with a rich gravy, it’s just about as healthy as it sounds, and while Café Santiago indeed might not be the best, the centrally located restaurant comes close. Featuring different variations of Francesinha using high quality meats and cheeses, which are reflected in the price, but Francesinhas are not something you’d want to pinch pennies or eurocents on. Locals know to pair their meal with a nice cold Super Bock.

Sái Cão

Sai Cao is the type of spot you love to find while traveling – an authentic restaurant that doesn’t need to worry about the decor or service, just an as-is atmosphere where you know you’ll be well fed, like paying a surprise visit to your aunt who also happens to be a fantastic Portuguese cook. But what Sái Cão is most famous for is its stunning €5 lunch menu, which includes bread, soup, a main dish and a small bottle of wine. Make sure that main dish consists of their “posta à Mirandesa” – you can thank me later!


Cruel is a concept restaurant if I ever saw one. The menu is divided into three types of adventures, ranked in order of ‘difficulty’: the fearful, the cautious and the cruel. The latter is for the bravest diners out there, with dishes such as the Electric Carpaccio that makes your mouth go numb for a while, the actually moving Hallucinating Mushroom Risotto, or how about some Toucinho from Hell for dessert? Cruel promises a complete dining experience full of creativity that you’re unlikely to forget!

Adega do Quim

In some cities it’s burgers, in others it’s falafel or doner, and for some it’s tripe soup. But how about some pork entrails with beans (‘tripas à moda do Porto’) after your night of drinking? It’s the most typical thing in the world if you’re from Porto, and Adega do Quim is the spot to have this experience. This special restaurant has saved the hides of many clubbers and party-goers not just with its signature dish, but also with ‘panado em pão‘ (a huge breaded steak sandwich), ‘molas‘ (chicken gizzards in sauce) or simply samosas and croquettes. In any case, everything’s cheap here so get ready for some late-night dilemmas.

Venham mais 5

Venham Mais 5 is not about the decor or service – it’s about the food, or more precisely experiencing the famous ‘prego’, which is essentially steak on bread. Make no mistake, however: this is no ordinary steak on no ordinary bread. The slightly toasted, crunchy bread; the extremely tender meat that melts in your mouth like butter; the beautifully decadent Serra da Estrela cheese with its uniquely intense flavor. Venham mais 5 means ‘bring five more’ – will you be able to stop yourself at six?

Photos for A Guide to Porto Local Restaurants courtesy of Raul LieberwirthSai Cao, Info Portugal and Esskapismus

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