Porto is home to some of the best food in Portugal and if you’re a serious foodie, you’ll want to sample as many of its culinary creations before you leave. There’s so much to try! There’s the francesinha, the Porto bifana, the eclair, and Porto’s traditional dish: tripe (this isn’t for everyone!).
What’s the best way to experience Porto’s cuisine? That’s up to you. From food tours to cooking classes, we list the most interesting foodie experiences you can find in Porto.
The Food Tour
A food tour is a great way to quickly acquaint yourself with the regional dishes of a city or country – and get to see a bit of the city while you’re at it. There are a lot of different companies offering food tours in Porto and they don’t give a lot of information about what’s included on their tours, so it can be difficult to know which one to choose.
After looking at a lot of different companies, we picked Secret Food Tours Porto (although Porto: Secret Food Tour – a similar tour by another company) was a close second. Why? Firstly, because this company lists the foods you’ll get to try and secondly, because several of these dishes are from Porto or Northern Portugal (many other tours offered Portuguese food, but not necessarily food from Porto).
- Pão de Ló
- Sardines with olives and tomato sauce
- Bifana (a Porto take on a popular Portuguese dish)
- Francesinha (one of the most famous Porto dishes)
- Mouth-watering Olives
- Broa de avintes (a popular Northern Portuguese bread)
- Traditional Dried figs
- Our delicious Secret Dish
However, you can’t go wrong with most well-rated food tours as they all showcased some great Portuguese dishes.
The Home Dining Experience
If you’re looking for a truly authentic dining experience, why not have dinner in a Portuguese person’s home. That’s exactly what Helena offers – a three-course meal with either Tripas à moda do Porto, Bacalhau, or Arroz de Marisco as the main course.
You can customise the meal yourself, so which should you go for? Well, Tripas à moda do Porto is very typical to Porto but as it’s tripe it won’t be for everyone. However, if you want something authentic that you may struggle to sample elsewhere, this is a good opportunity to try it. Otherwise, opt for either the bacalhau (salt cod) or arroz de marisco (a seafood rice-based stew).
A Portuguese Cookery Class
It’s one thing trying Portuguese dishes, but it’s another thing knowing how to create them when you get back home. We found a number of cookery classes that looked interesting, some of which included a market tour where you get to buy the ingredients as well.
The most Porto option would be to take a Francesinha cookery class, which you can do here and here. Nuno’s cookery class gives you the chance to learn to make Tripas, if you’re feeling adventurous, or a number of other Portuguese dishes including Carne de porco à Alentejana, feijoada, or cozido.
This cookery class features a market trip and you learn how to make bacalhau com natas and bolinhos de bacalhau, the latter being a Porto snack.
Port Wine Tour
Pretty much every food tour in Porto will include a glass of Port wine as part of the experience. It’s typical to Porto, it’s delicious, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Just sampling Port will be enough for most people, but if you’re really interested in Port, it’s a good idea to take a tour of one of the many Port houses.
In terms of getting to sample Port, you get what you pay for. The cheapest tours will typically allow you to taste a tawny, a ruby, and perhaps a rosé, but the more expensive tours will include at least one vintage port. Cockburns has a vintage ports tour option here.
And if you haven’t had a chance to hear fado yet (and you’re not going to Coimbra or Lisbon where it originates from) you could consider visiting a fado show and sampling Port there.
Vegan & Vegetarian Options
In a city that’s famous for tripe and a multi-layer meat sandwich, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that it wasn’t easy to find vegan and vegetarian food tour options. Some of the tours did say they could suggest alternatives, but it wouldn’t be quite the same as what everyone else was eating.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to experience Portuguese cuisine as a vegan or vegetarian. Lado B Café and Casanova both offer a vegan Francesinha. There are also plenty of fantastic vegan and vegetarian restaurants (that don’t necessarily make vegan versions of traditional Portuguese dishes) listed on HappyCow.
Other Porto Dishes To Try
This article lists all of the most typical dishes from Porto. Your food tour or cookery class might cover a few of these, but you’ll probably have to seek the rest out yourself.