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Jun 12, 2010 12:14 PM

Sao Joao Festival in Porto - Food and Drink Recs?

We're planning to be in Porto for the Sao Joao festival on June 23rd. Understand that we should eat sardines. Where should we eat dinner? What district and/or restaurants would be good places to grab a traditional dinner for the festival? Anything special to eat or drink for the occasion? Thanks for the info.

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  1. Me again! There is a sort of ritual about the S. Joao, culminating with the fire-works on the river at midnight. You have first to chose whether you want to be North of the river (Porto side) or South of the river (Guaia side). Remember that there are no public transports that night, no taxis, and parking a car is next to impossible, so it might be a long walk back to your hotel.
    You can walk along the river and buy food at stands (Grilled sardine being "the" tradition), or try a restaurant (more possibilities on the Gaia side). Dishes include Caldo Verde, Octopus salad, joaquizinhos fritos (green beans fried in batter), roasted kid for example.
    Another option is a dinner on a boat up and down the Douro, there are several small boats offering this.
    Do not be surprised if people hit you on the head with plastic hammers or large leeks... it is meant to be part of the fun!
    Or you can join an "Arraial" sort of semi private party (I know there is one at the Taylor's restaurant in Vila Nova de Gaia, but not a clue if & how you book, may-be through their website).
    It will be my 5th S. Joao, and I look forward to it, it's always great fun!
    Best cure for the hangover (main drinks are beer or vinho verde) the next day is a dish of Tripas a moda do Porto... This year the regatta of barcos rabelos will take place on the 24th approx. 12:30. Great show, not to be missed as the old boats, each representing a Port maker, race under sail upriver.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monchique

      Great, thanks for the info. Sounds excellent.