|Viewing Porto from the top of the Torre de Clérigos|
Porto was our first stop in Portugal and is the country’s second-largest city (Lisbon’s the biggest). We had less than 48 hours to explore but covered a lot of ground during that time and enjoyed getting to know Portugal’s second city on foot. Walk across the Ponte de Dom Luís I, which spans the Douro River, for great views of Porto and also to check out Vila Nova de Gaia’s restaurants and port wine tasting rooms.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch with great Porto views at Taberninha do Manuel. Their beef stew was robust and garlicky, and I also loved their salt cod fritters (we found these delicious starters on menus throughout the trip), but perhaps the most memorable part of our meal was the gut-busting Francesinha. This traditional Porto sandwich featured sliced white bread, steak and linguiça, all covered in a thick beer and tomato sauce and plenty of melted cheese.
|Behold, the Francesinha (and this was just my half of the sandwich)|
|The baddest fish in the whole damn town (and quite delicious)|
After Porto we made our way south to Lisbon, where my favorite restaurant was Zazah. Located in the Principe Real neighborhood, Zazah has a hip, modern vibe, charming service and a menu packed with delicious, shareable dishes and creative cocktails. Our group of 18 (yes, 18!) left full and happy. Everything on the dinner menu was delicious, but my personal favorites were the wild game croquettes, the mashed potatoes with truffles, the mushroom gratin and the grilled, sliced sirloin.
Top picks included:
- Marlene Vieira -- Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (sautéed codfish and potatoes with onion, egg and olives)
- Cozinha da Felicidade -- Croquetes de Pato, Compota de Laranja (duck croquettes with orange jam)
- Alexandre Silva -- Perna de Pato Confitada (confit duck leg with honey, orange and thyme glaze, parsnip puree and watercress)
- Santini -- probably the best hazelnut ice cream I’ve had in my life.
A few of us tried to eat at Bairro do Avillez but they were booked solid, so we set out on foot to find another dinner option that could accommodate us without a reservation. After a bit of wandering we found Tapas Bar 47, which turned out to be quite the fun, low-key spot. The gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) and sautéed mushrooms (also with lots of garlic) were my favorite dishes.
We spent one day touring the town of Sintra, located outside of Lisbon. We had a busy schedule and only had only a short break for lunch between destinations, so we popped into a little cafe called A Padaria, where we grabbed some quick sandwiches and drinks, and enjoyed our lunch seated on the steps of the Palacio Nacional de Sintra.
|Our lunchtime view from the steps of the Palacio Nacional de Sintra|