Portugal was a place I fell in love with, the lifestyle reminded me of back home in Australia. The people were all so friendly and laid back, the food and drink scene was vibrant and delicious.
Following on from my previous blog – Brunch in Porto. I thought I would outline my top picks to experience the true flavours of Porto.
Grahams Wine Tasting experience
You can’t go to Porto without having a little (lot) of port wine so off to Grahams we went! Grahams wine tasting was definitely the highlight of our trip, I didn’t know much about Port wine prior to my visit to Grahams which is still a working cellar. The wine tour and tasting came highly recommended by various different people over the other wineries and I can now see why. The venue is absolutely beautiful and the tour itself was extremely informative. We started in the museum where you can see the history of the Graham and Symington family and how they came together. We learnt a lot about the estates, history and wine making process – the tour guide (Alexander) was extremely knowledgeable and kept us moving along swiftly. To finish off the tour, we sat down to a tasting which was held in the Grahams Library – the perfect setting to sit back and enjoy the various wines Grahams had to offer. The whole thing was class A and I would highly recommend it.
After our wine tasting at Grahams, we headed outside and enjoyed the beautiful view over-looking the Duoro river. It was the perfect spot to enjoy some more port, eat an array of tasty treats such as fresh oysters and calamari and reflect on our tour and trip so far. We had booked a table at Vinum, the restaurant at Grahams for dinner which (again) I would highly recommend. For starters we went for the octopus which was deliciously tender, sweet and had that fresh ocean seafood flavour. We then thoroughly enjoyed the steak for 2 which was cooked over a fire pit and served on the bone. It was hard not to indulge at Vinum as all the food was top quality and cooked to perfection. I really could have stayed here all evening, knocking back Port until they rolled me out. If you are after an experience you won’t forget, then book yourself into Grahams cellar tour followed by the tasting in the library and a sublime dinner at Vinum – the cherry on top!
Pedros Dos Fragnos
Oh my – If you’re after some classic, flavoursome Portuguese chicken then this place is the place for you! As you walk in, you are greeted by a huge rotisserie full of chickens on the spit being cooked away slowly over an open fire of coals – a smell sensation! You can either dine downstairs with the locals at the bar or head upstairs to the restaurant (you may have a little wait to get a table but it will be totally worth it.) If you are looking for something fancy, then this place is not for you however the food served here is seriously scrumptious as they let the produce speak for itself. The rotisserie chicken here is what the establishment is famous for and really is the star of the show – it is succulent, salty, crispy, juicy and an absolute must when dining here! The rest of the food here was surprisingly really delicious too, we actually ate here on more than one occasion. Pedros was the best value for money on our trip to Porto – good quality food, large portions with a cheap price-tag. Yum, yum and yum!
We stumbled across this little gem on our walk down to the Duoro river and I am so thrilled that we did. A great find in a fabulous little square, a perfect place to take a pit stop, eat some exceptional food, soak up some sun and people watch! The menu had a good range of sharing platters on it which all looked absolutely delicious and hard to choose from. We ended up sharing a variety of antipasto style dishes which let the delicious ingredients speak for themselves, all the food was bought to the table fairly promptly by our lovely waiter. Mr T also enjoyed the burger which I think went down faster than I could even blink my eyes at it which can only mean one thing! Puro 4050 is a place I would highly recommend on your walk down to the Duoro for a spot of lunch as the food was exceptional and service fantastic.
Valentim is located in Matosinhos, the sleepy seaside town North of Porto. The town is famous for its fresh seafood and numerous great fish restaurants. Along the main strip (R. Herois De Franca) you’ll come across restaurant after restaurants selling basically the same thing – fresh caught seafood! Each restaurant is buzzing and bustling, they all have a large grill out the front so you can inspect the produce as you access your options. I don’t think you can go wrong with your choice of restaurant however we had the most amazing seafood meal at Valentim. The menu is unpretentious however the bold flavours of the food blew me away. The highlights for me were the grilled octopus which was outstanding and the grilled salmon fillet which was easily the best I’ve had. Don’t miss out on visiting Matosinhos for a fabulous Sunday lunch amongst the locals.
I felt like I have only touched the surface of Portugal having only visited Lisbon and Porto. It is a country I look forward to returning too one day hopefully soon to explore more of and dive in a lot deeper.
Oh and don’t forget to treat yourself to a Portuguese tart everyday – they are really are something else!