ODE Porto Wine House. Love it.
Hello folks. I just got back from a trip to Porto (Oporto), Portugal and I have to rave about a restaurant we came across: Ode Porto Wine House. Fabulous. The place is lovely, with a recent renovation to a 300-year-old historic building. Very small, with (I would guess) fewer than 10 tables so a reservation is definitely a good idea. The owner, Cristóvão is fantastic (and also adorable -- sorry, Cristóvão, I hope that doesn't embarrass you!) and he is passionate about the food, the service and the ambiance. I agree that the service and ambiance were wonderful, but for me, the food is what is important--I am happy at a hole in the wall, as long as it tastes amazing. And this certainly did! The food has been sourced from all over Portugal to find the most amazing flavours -- butter from the Azores, cheese from....I don't know where, but clearly the cows are doing a terrific job. The way that the food is prepared seems to focus on bringing out the best flavour in the ingredients rather than showing off with irrelevant molecular gastronomy touches. The top favorites of our table were the octopus cooked in wine for 4-5 hours and the plate of appetizers -- bread, sausage, cheese, olives...all simple but really, really delicious. Not a cheap restaurant, but definitely less expensive than what could be charged for this meal. However, the wine was relatively IN-expensive, which certainly helped the overall cost. Their website is odewinehouse.com. I highly, highly recommend it. Worth going out of your way for.