Vila Nova de Gaia aerial view at dusk, Porto

Porto Food Guide: A Culinary Adventure for Every Foodie

Embrace on a DIY culinary adventure in Porto with my ultimate foodie guide! Discover must-try dishes like francesinha, savour local wines and discover how the wine is made. Whether you’re a meat lover, vegan or just hungry for authentic Portuguese flavours, I promise that my guide has something for every palate.

If you’ve read my other DIY Port Guides, you’ll know that I don’t usually write a separate food guide to accompany my DIY Port Guide. This is how special Porto’s food and wine was. So I hope you’ll have fun tasting some of the best Portuguese food in Porto, too!

Looking for What to See in Porto? For all there is to see and do (that’s not food and wine related!), read my Porto DIY Shore Excursion Guide instead.

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Porto Cruise Port: Is a DIY Food & Wine Tour Easy? 😎😎😎😎 (Smooth Sailing)

Porto is a dream destination for a DIY food and wine adventure, especially for those at port for a limited time. Here’s why I rated it 😎😎😎😎 (Smooth Sailing):

  • Port Wine Central: Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from the city centre, is a treasure trove of port wine cellars offering tours and tastings. It’s easily accessible by foot over the Dom Luís I Bridge or just hop off at Jardim do Morro metro station and walk for a few minutes.
  • World of Wine: This massive complex in Vila Nova de Gaia is a one-stop shop for wine, food, and cultural experiences, with multiple museums, restaurants, and bars all dedicated to showcasing the best of Portugal’s culinary heritage. You can see a lot, taste a lot and eat a lot in a short period of time, without walking very far!
  • Easy Access to Treats: Craving a pastel de nata? You’ll find delicious options, including vegan and gluten-free varieties. The best bakeries have branches conveniently located near São Bento station.

Porto Cruise Port Essentials: What You Need To Know

For a detailed guide on how to travel from Porto Cruise Port to Porto City Centre, read my Porto DIY Shore Excursion Guide. Read it already? Then skip straight to my recommendations on top foodie experiences in Porto.

  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Portuguese
  • My Porto Cruise Port Map: 👇 If the map isn’t loading correctly, click here to see it directly on Google Maps
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Top Foodie Experiences in Porto

1. Taste Port Wine in Vila Nova de Gaia

If you’ve walked over the Dom Luis I Bridge, then you’ve arrived at Vila Nova de Gaia on the other side of the Duoro River. Gaia is most famous for its historic port wine cellars, many of which offer tours and tastings. Here’s a chance to learn about the history and production of this iconic fortified wine while sampling a variety of styles, from ruby and tawny to white and vintage. Some popular cellars to visit are:

Caves Cálem

This interactive cellar tour takes you through the process of port wine production, from grape harvesting and fermentation to aging and bottling. There is also a guided tasting of a Cálem port wines, paired with chocolates and cheeses. There’s a full menu that you can order from as well (additional charge) if you’re feeling peckish.

  • How to Get There: From upper deck of Dom Luis I Bridge, walk down the hill towards the waterfront – Caves Cálem is the first port cellar. From the lower deck of Dom Luis I Bridge, turn right immediately and walk along the waterfront.
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 7pm.
  • Tickets: €19 adults, €9 kids – Kids can join you for the tour but obviously no tastings! Pre-book here and check that you’ve selected an English tour!

Burmester Cellar

Burmester Cellar is a historic cellar dating back to 1750, located on the other side of the Dom Luis I Bridge from Caves Cálem. It’s also located from the waterfront, so there’s good views from its terrace, too. Burmester is a good choice if you’d like to try a premium selection.

  • How to Get There: It is much easier if you walk from the lower deck of Dom Luis I Bridge. Before you see the road looping towards the right at the end of the bridge, there’s a small road on the left with a sign saying “Burmester”. The road is narrow, so be on the lookout for the turnoff!
  • Opening Hours: There’s typically only two tasting tours a day – 10am and 5pm, so you’ll need to be in port till late!
  • Tickets: €16 adults for standard tastings to €45 for three high-end port tastings, with chocolates and cheese. This cellar is smaller and needs pre-booking.

2. Visit World of Wine in Vila Nova de Gaia

Nestled in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia, the World of Wine (WOW) is a vibrant cultural district that has breathed new life into the historic port wine cellars. There’s seven museums, twelve restaurants and bars, shops and a wine school.

Museums in World of Wine

Here’s a quick run-down of the seven museums at WOW – all are open daily from 10am to 7pm:

  • The Wine Experience: This museum offers an immersive journey into the world of winemaking, exploring the history, science, and art of wine production. If you’d like a general overview on winemaking, this is a good choice!
  • Planet Cork: Discover the fascinating story of cork, from its origins in the cork oak forests to its essential role in the wine industry.
  • The Bridge Collection: This unique museum showcases a stunning collection of drinking vessels throughout history, highlighting the evolution of glassware.
  • Porto Region Across the Ages: Delve into the rich history and heritage of Porto, exploring its evolution from a Roman settlement to a modern city.
  • The Chocolate Story: Indulge your sweet tooth with this museum dedicated to the history and production of chocolate, complete with delicious tastings.
  • The Pink Palace: Immerse yourself in the world of rosé wine, from its ancient origins to its modern popularity, with interactive exhibits and a tasting room. You can taste 5 types of rosé wine here too.
  • The Fashion & Fabric Museum: This museum celebrates the artistry and craftsmanship of Portuguese fashion and textiles, showcasing iconic designs and traditional techniques.

Ticket Options:

The Wine School in World of Wine

Personalised tastings of about 30 minutes are available every day in English. For experienced wine connoisseurs, there’s 3 hour workshops on Portuguese wines. 45-minutes tastings with a wine expert needs to be pre-booked, from €25.

2. Indulge in Francesinhas

Francesinha with a fried eggs with French fries, a typical dish in Porto

This hearty Porto specialty is a sandwich layered with meats, sausage, and cheese, topped with a fried egg and smothered in a rich tomato and beer sauce. It’s a must-try for foodies! The traditional version is filled with:

  • Linguiça: A type of Portuguese smoked sausage, adding a smoky and slightly spicy flavor.
  • Salsicha fresca: A fresh sausage, often made with pork and spices, contributing a juicy and savory element.
  • Steak: Thinly sliced beefsteak provides a hearty protein base.
  • Fiambre: This is a type of cured ham, similar to prosciutto, adding a salty and savory note.

Sometimes, other meats such as roast pork or mortadella are thrown in as well.

Vegetarian or Vegan? There’s a few restaurants that offer vegetarian versions filled with tofu, mushrooms and vegetables. Vegan versions use vegan cheese instead. A few choices are marked on my Porto cruise port map above 👆 – they are all tourist friendly:

  • Francesinhas Al Forno da Baixa: Close to Livraria Lello, there’s a vegan menu filled with options, including tofu, seitan or mushroom versions of francesinha. If you’re traveling with a carnivore, then the meat version is also available here.
  • Vegana By Tentúgal: Close to 24 de Agosto metro station, this is a vegan only restaurant. Lots of Portuguese options, not just francesinhas.
  • Lado B Café: Close to São Bento station, this is a very popular cafeteria style cafe that’s highly rated by the locals. They serve meat and vegetarian versions of Francesinhas (but not a vegan version).

For the gluten free version, head to Com Cuore – a gluten free cafe near São Bento station.

3. Pastéis de Nata with Coffee

Shopfront window at Fábrica da Nata in Porto with lots of Pasteis de Nata on display

Pastéis de Nata are a specialty of Lisbon, not Porto. But if your cruise is not heading to Lisbon, then there are branches of the famous Lisbon-based bakeries in Porto and I would definitely skip desert and try them here! To the uninitiated, pastéis de nata are essential custard tarts. It’s a delicate, crispy pastry shell filled with a custard-like filling, lightly caramelised on top.

They taste best when enjoyed warm, fresh out of the oven and paired with an expresso or coffee. The origins of pastéis de nata can be traced back to the 18th century, when Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon’s Belém district but it’s now a Portuguese food icon! Here’s a few well-known bakeries for them but I’ve never had a bad one in Portugal, so if you walk past a bakery and all they sell are pastéis de nata, go ahead!

Two Pasteis de Nata served on a plate at Fabrica de Nata, Porto
  • Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata: There’s one close to São Bento station and another close to Trindade metro station. This is a branch of their Lisbon based bakery. Watch them make them through the window!
  • Com Cuore: For the gluten free version, this IS the place to get it! It’s a totally gluten free cafe. It’s near São Bento station, in the street behind Fábrica da Nata.
  • Confeitaria do Bolhão: Not just famous for pastéis de nata but for their Portuguese baked goodies in general. Ideal if you want to taste a selection.
  • Fábrica da Nata: There’s a few branches including one opposite the entrance of São Bento station.
  • Nata Lisboa: You’ll see this next to Fábrica da Nata opposite São Bento station and their famous slogan, “The World Needs Nata” 😆

Vegan? Your best bet is at Confeitaria do Bolhão, as they sell a vegan version. Pastéis de nata are so commonly eaten by the locals that local vegan restaurants will have them as well.

4. Enjoy Pastel de Bacalhau

Pastel de Bacalhau served at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau in Porto

No trip to Porto would be complete without indulging in the city’s iconic dish, pastel de bacalhau (codfish cakes). These golden fritters, made from a blend of salted cod, potatoes, onions, and parsley, are a beloved Portuguese staple.

The most famous ones are at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau. There are many branches in Porto but the main store at Gaia Riverside (see it marked on my map above 📍🗺️👆) The traditional recipe is elevated with a molten core of Serra da Estrela cheese, a creamy sheep’s milk cheese from the mountains of Portugal. The ornate, library-like setting adds to the charm, with live organ music creating a truly unique atmosphere. But the best part? It’s gluten free, too.

Beyond the pastel de bacalhau, Porto offers a wealth of bacalhau dishes, showcasing the versatility of this humble ingredient. From the classic bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with eggs and potatoes) to the innovative bacalhau com natas (baked cod in a creamy sauce), there’s a bacalhau dish to satisfy every craving.

Featured Photo by Sonny Vermeer of Vila Nova de Gaia

I’ve written 75+ cruise port guides and Porto is the only port where I feel compelled to write about the food and wine, because I had such a wonderful time eating ashore. So I hope this guide has also given you some ideas on what you can enjoy during your port day at Porto! Bon voyage and happy cruising!

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