What to eat in Porto: 12 must-try local delights

From tucking into a francesinha to rounding off your meal with a sweet pastel de nata, Porto is full of must–eat dishes. Here are 12 of the best foods to try in the city.

Porto is one of Portugal's most beautiful and beloved cities, thanks to its historic landmarks, fascinating museums, and great weather in summer. That being said, for many visitors, the food in Porto is the star attraction. Whether you have a sweet tooth or you prefer savory dishes, there are several must-eat dishes that will delight you.

What food is Porto known for? How about the indulgent francesinha, a sandwich piled high with meat and covered with oozing cheese sauce? If that's not enough for you, the famous food on offer here includes delicious, wobbly custard tarts, flavorful salt cod, and rich pork sandwiches. Of course, while you're enjoying this popular food, you'll have to wash it down with a local specialty, like the world-famous Port wine. Welcome to gourmet paradise, and enjoy the 12 best foods in Porto.

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1. Tuck into a francesinha

For many locals, there's no contest: this is hands-down the best food in Porto. A francesinha is a decadent sandwich piled high with slices of beef. It's served swimming in a puddle of creamy cheese sauce, making it an amazingly rich special treat.

How to eat the best francesinha in Porto?

You'll enjoy this authentic Porto classic on a secret food tour. A local foodie will take you off the beaten tracks to some of the coolest spots in town.

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2. Get stuck into traditional Portuguese bread

Yes, bread is one of the best foods to try. Hearty and chewy, with just enough bite in the crisp exterior, the local bread of northern Portugal is a true delight. For a simple but amazing snack, drizzle it with local extra-virgin olive oil.

How to eat the best bread in Porto?

Bread is just one part of an amazing menu on this Peneda-Gerês Park tour, which includes lunch. After an action-packed morning exploring the national park, you'll settle in for a traditional Portuguese meal at a charming, rustic village.

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3. Sample the world-famous wines of the Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highly valued for its fertile soil and rich produce. Almonds, olive oil, honey, and traditional bread are all produced here, but the true highlight is the wine. In the Douro Valley, you'll find red and white wine, as well as plenty of Port.

How to drink the best Douro wine in Porto?

Enjoy a full gourmet getaway with this wine tasting, which includes lunch . You'll head out into the valley and sample different types of wine, pairing them with exceptional local dishes.

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4. Pig out on bifana

This is the most beloved sandwich in Porto after the famous francesinha. Bifana consists of thin slices of pork loin, often marinated in herbs and spices, in a crusty roll. Locals consider this a street food classic, so if you need to eat on the go, join in with them and grab yourself a bifana.

How to eat the best bifana in Porto?

Bifana is one of the many attractions on this delicious food and wine walking tour. You'll also have three different types of Port wine to enjoy, as well as a delicious custard tart to round it off.

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5. Feel the wobble of pastéis de nata

The incredibly moreish pastéis de nata (custard tarts) are Portugal’s national dessert. With a lightly set, delicately wobbly custard and a flaky, rich pastry, they're the kind of treat you can never turn down. Locals eat them for dessert, as snacks, and even for breakfast.

How to eat the best pastéis de nata in Porto?

You may be surprised at how easy it is to prepare these tasty treats. Join a Pastel de Nata cooking class, and you'll learn the secret recipe, just like Grandma used to make.

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6. Nibble your way through traditional cheeses

Portugal's cheese industry is one of the most vibrant in Europe, with dozens of different specialties to try. Among the best cheeses are the gooey Serra de Estrela, the delicately scented Rabaçal, the intensely flavored Nica, and the delightfully salty Pico. Cheese made from cow, sheep, and goat milk are all common in Porto. Some varieties even mix different milks together for a more complex flavor.

How to eat the best cheese in Porto?

There's no better way to eat cheese than with wine. At this Port wine tasting with cheese pairing, you'll have four different types of Port wine to pair with the array of cheese.

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7. Have a night on the town with petiscos

Petiscos are the Portuguese version of tapas. Like their Spanish cousins, they're flavorful little bites of food to eat with a glass of beer and wine, and they often form the basis of a bar crawl.

How to eat the best petiscos in Porto?

Join a petiscos crawl of the city. Along the way, you'll try all kinds of mouthwatering morsels, from salt cod to juicy sausages.

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8. Warm yourself up with caldo verde

There are many delicious soups in the Portuguese culinary canon, but none is as famous as caldo verde. This hearty appetizer is made with potatoes, chouriço sausage, and kale. It's the tastiest way to eat your greens.

How to eat the best caldo verde in Porto?

Have a full Portuguese experience with a live fado show and dinner at Fonseca. Caldo verde is just one of the sumptuous courses you'll enjoy.

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9. Enjoy a refreshing glass of vinho verde

While other Portuguese wines are world-renowned, vinho verde is still a local secret. It literally translates as "green wine" but "young wine" might be a better name. With a delicate flavor and subtle carbonization, vinho verde is a delightfully refreshing beverage.

How to drink the best vinho verde in Porto?

You'll enjoy three different types of vinho verde on a food and tasca Tour. Of course, there'll also be great local dishes to pair with your drink.

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10. Have an al fresco charcuterie platter

Portugal is famous for its superb pork products, and the local charcuterie is hard to beat. It includes chouriço (Portuguese chorizo), ham, and all kinds of air-dried sausages. For the best dining experience, eat it outdoors, accompanied by flavor-packed olives and local cheeses.

How to eat the best charcuterie in Porto?

Treat yourself to an indulgent day out with a sailboat trip which includes wine tasting and charcuterie. Lunch doesn't get any more special than this.

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11. Go wild for the flavors of bacalhau

Bacalhau, or salt cod, is perhaps the most popular protein in Portugal. It's eaten in many different ways. In fact, locals say that there are 365 different bacalhau dishes, so you can enjoy it every day of the year without ever getting bored.

How to eat the best bacalhau in Porto?

Join this walking dinner tour which takes in a range of family-owned restaurants. Your guide will take you to some of the best-loved restaurants in Porto, where the chefs have spent generations perfecting classic recipes.

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12. Delve into the world of Port wine

Of course, no trip to Porto would be complete without trying the city's famous fortified wine. This rich drink is often paired with dessert, as it works particularly well with sweet flavors. By the end of the trip, you'll be an expert in all things Ruby, Tawny, and White.

How to drink the best Port wine in Porto?

Try this Port lodge tour and tasting tour. You'll explore a working Port cellar and then enjoy different types of wine paired with chocolate, cheese, and even custard tarts.

FAQs

What are the must-try traditional dishes in Porto?

The francesinha and bifana sandwiches are extremely popular, along with different preparations of bacalhau. If you have a sweet tooth, then add pastéis de nata to the list.

What are the best food tours in Porto?

The Portuguese are very proud of their cuisine, so you'll find lots of different food tours to try. Many focus on petiscos, the local bar snacks, and will take you on a foodie quest from bar to bar.

What are the top local food markets in Porto to visit?

The Bolhão Market is the biggest in the city, with a great mixture of fresh produce and prepared dishes. If you're just looking for local ingredients to cook yourself, try the Bom Sucesso Market. You'll find great fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish, and there are often buskers playing to liven up the atmosphere.

What is the best time of year to visit Porto for food lovers?

Porto's food is delicious at any time of year. Visit in winter to make the most of the hearty soups and stews, or come in summer to best enjoy trips to the Douro Valley wine region.

How much should I budget for food in Porto?

You can expect to spend about €20-30 a head for dinner in Porto. If you want to keep the price down, eat on the go with street food and bar snacks.