Lisbon, Porto and The Duoro
This post is aimed specifically at vinhotinto75 and Monchique, since they seem to be great resources for everything Portugal and have posted so extensively over the last few years, but definitely welcome suggestions from anyone who has been to any of the restaurants or places.
We are going on a 10 day trip to portugal, and have never visited the country before but are very excited. My girfriend and I are both late 20's and are huge foodies and try to make restaurants and wine a major part of our trips over to Europe. I have read through nearly all of the reports on the website as well as guidebooks etc. trying to whittle down by restaurant list for the trip. I would love comments and any answers to the questions below:
Case de Comida
We also typically like to do one over the top dinner in each country we are in, with great service atmosphere food etc. I have read mixed reviews on many of the restaurants below, does anyone have a strong opinion, or maybe one of the restaurants above qualifies? Also are any of these places open on Sundays? We are having issues trying to find a sunday night dinner....
For Porto, I have read many of the reviews and narrowed the list down to the following:
A Mesa com Bacchus -- haven't seen much on the boards about this place, but it sounds like an amazing experience ... anyone been here?
Bull & Bear
Can only choose two from the above four options, any suggestions?
For Duoro, haven't seen much on the board.Right now we are planning to stay in the vintage house in Pinhao, and do one dinner there and one dinner at DOC. Any other alternatives in the area worth considering?
Finally last question. On the drive back between Porto and Lisbon, are there any romantic stops along the coast. Thinking secluded beaches, historic towns, good view points etc. that anyone can reccommend? We are trying to make a day of the trip back with stops along the coast to break up the drive back to Lisbon.
Thank so much for all the assistance it is greatly appreciated!!
Interesting they mention "Na Ordem" ... I have eaten there several times, and it is so confidential (more of a private club as it is, after all, the restaurant of the Medical Council) that I did not think it would make any guide at all. Nice food, decor and company though, service from slow to very slow. Very close and convenient for the airport if you have a long wait (so close actually it is embarassing to take a taxi to and from...) . A sort of hidden gem! I ahve a feeling they don't sart serving til 1pm at lunchtime. The food is modern creative Portuguese.
Little to add to Portsardines' comprehensive answer!
I would take Eleven off the Lisbon list altogether (nice view but...), push Tavares 2 ranks up and Foz Velha 1up. I was not impressed by DOP in Porto.
Obidos certainly for romance, but Mealhada for foodies (fantastic speciality of leitão / suckling pig all over the town). Or for "the" romantic place, linked to Pedro and Ines, the Quinta das Lagrimas near Coimbra (unfortunately their Michelin starred restaurant only serves dinner, lunch is a snack by the pool...)
Enjoy your trip!
I think you have come up with a fine list of places, although many of those that you pick tend to be higher end and newer establishments; yet not all.
I've eaten at Assinatura a few times over the past two months and I have noticed a decline in the food, particularly flavor. I even had a chance to speak with the chef the last time and they compensated my wine for me. Also, while I agree that food should be paramount, many of the places such as Eleven, Casa da Comida, 100 Maneiras, etc. are overrun with non-Portuguese speakers and visitors. Most of my friends, colleagues, and family rarely make enough to dine there even on special occasions.
Still, please do not let that deter your plans.
Some other places that I think are worth checking out for good food that aren't as pricey or pretentious (Eleven is VERY pretentious):
Clara Chiado (Chiado)
Kaetano's (São José - opened and moved from Graça recently)
Ibo - not many places outside of Mozambique will you be able to have Luso-Mozambican food with a killer wine list, excellent service, and good views!
Solar dos Presuntos - A must for foodies I believe.
Bonjardim, Esquina da Fé, Café São Bento, and Trempe are also divine and worth checking out.
Please feel free to let me know if you have questions!
Thank you all for your great responses, they are much appreciated. Vinhotinto, I will take your advice to heart, i think I have already scratched off eleven from my list.
What are Clara Chiado and Largo like? I saw the websites and the restaurants looked very pleasant, especially Clara in what looked like a wine cellar.
For sunday dinner, i found it hard to find a place open and we are leaving early for Porto the next day. Is the Panarama restaurant at the Sheraton any good? I figured it might be convenient since we are staying there anyways ...
Sorry my original post was so long, but have any of the posters on this board heard of or eaten at A Mesa com Bacchus in Porto? Read a few interesting reviews and wanted to check it out.
On the trip back from Porto to Lisbon, are there any great beach towns that are remote/picturesque that would be worth a stop? Thinking of a more low key siesta and lunch after all the eating and drinking in Porto.
Thanks again for all of your help and suggestions, I can't wait for the trip even though it is not until September!
I really like Largo and Clara Chiado as they are refined and sophisticated (particularly Largo) but not in a stuffy or "I eat here to be seen" sort of way. They both highlight new Portuguese cuisine and have fantastic wine lists and are more affordable than Assinatura or some of the others that you have listed in which I commented in the earlier post.
Another place that I really enjoy for more refined food, yet in a relaxed atmosphere is A Charcutaria Francesa. Despite the name, it is 100% Portuguese and in a really pleasant part of Lisboa.
As far as Sunday is concerned, I'm sure the hotel restaurant would be fine, yet if you are in Lisbon, you might as well enjoy being out and about! That being said, most of the better places are closed but I know one option that usually is open on Sunday's is Faz Figura near the Santa Apolónia Station.
As always, feel free to let me know if you have questions.
Between Porto and Lisbon you can stop for a few hours in Obidos (close A8 motorway)
2 Regua Castas e Pratos
3 Amarante Casa da Calçada
1 Pedro Lemos
5 Yetman (Gaia)
6 DOP (the same as DOC)
Eleven (lunch menu)
Casa da Comida (lunch menu)
Tagide (for the view)
Largo (lunch menu)
Dinner (foodies and top dinner)
2 100 Maneiras
4 Casa da Comida
For wines all the Douro restaurants, Pedro Lemos, Assinatura and Casa da Comida