At the end of August, one of my best friends came to visit me from Germany and we went on a fun road trip to Porto. I was excited! I hadn’t been to Porto in a while. (And when I had gone, it had been raining so much that I was forced to stay indoors the whole time. Sad.)
I was also broke AF so I was looking to spend as little money as possible and stretching it as far as possible. So, we did the usual stuff: slept in a hostel, did a free (“free”) walking tour of the city, and avoided visiting sites with high entrance fees.
But when it came to our meals, I was a little concerned. Porto is pretty trendy right now, and it’s always been a popular destination for senior travelers and wine enthusiasts – all of which didn’t make me think the city would be so budget-friendly. I was concerned, but we were determined to find cheap (and GOOD) places to eat in Porto.
And that we did.
You see, I have a little friend when I travel in Portugal. Its name is Zomato. Allow me to introduce you two. Zomato is a wonderful website (with an app available on iOS and Android) kind of like Yelp and TripAdvisor…
… except it’s a thousand times better.
You log in and search for restaurants and cafés (which are rated on a 5-point scale by app users and include written reviews too). And when you click on a restaurant you like, you have all the information you need: photos, address, phone number for reservations, types of food and services offered (hellooo Wi-Fi), and THE MENU WITH PRICES ON IT.
I still don’t understand why TripAdvisor doesn’t do that. I hate looking at just average meal prices. Some people eat more, others eat less and when you’re on a budget you need to plan everything to the last cent. Checking out the menu on Zomato is perfect for that. PLUS you can actually see if you like the food and plan out what you want to eat. (You know, if you’re a freak planner like me. #noshame)
So, Zomato – my dear, dear travel buddy – helped me out in Porto. We ate at the best spots – cheap and amazing food! And best of all? They were full of locals – bye, bye tourist traps!
I was so, so happy with the places we found to eat in Porto, I just had to share them with you. I have no food pictures (bad blogger! But I couldn’t help myself; the food was too good to resist eating it before Instagramming it!). But I’ll be sharing some of the official photos of the places and tell you all about the delicious treats we had in Porto.
We’re starting with my absolute favorite place to eat in Porto.
This place is HEAVEN.
Also the sangria is HEAVEN.
Also, their whole theme is the cutest thing ever.
Okay, let me explain.
Just next to Avenida dos Aliados, you’ll find DeGema, aka the cutest craft burger restaurant. It looks small from the outside, but the seating area expands at the back and stretches into a small patio outside. So, it’s pretty roomy.
And it’s cozy and cute and delicious. Every burger is named after a typical Portuguese expression or a typical expression from Porto (do not ask me what they mean; I have no idea). No worries, non-Portuguese speakers, each burger has been allocated a number and that’s how the waiters prefer to take your order. (And yes, English menus are available.) The décor is super hipster-trendy with fresh mint-colored patterns on the walls and black tables and chairs.
Besides delicious craft burgers (which literally include every topping you can think of), you also have fresh salads, and there are a few vegetarian options.
But the star of the show is their sangria. It’s juicy, it’s fruity, and it tastes just enough of delicious wine without overwhelming you with alcohol. (The amount they serve you, though, might overwhelm you! I couldn’t finish mine because we were sightseeing in the afternoon and I didn’t want to wobble through Porto’s hilly streets. Again.. #noshame)
The best part? All of this comes to about €10 per person!
Clérigos Vinhos e Petiscos
Okay. Here, we felt like we walked into a bit of a tourist trap. But after having lunch at DeGema, we had super high standards and no other place was able to live up to them.
Clérigos Vinhos e Petiscos is located in a little shop area by Torre dos Clérigos, which in itself is already a pretty touristy place. We decided to go there one night because we wanted to have some tapas (petiscos in Portuguese) and this seemed like the place with the most offer on the menu.
The prices were a little less budget-friendly for tapas, but because we weren’t eating a full meal it was still within our spending limit. I had some fried shrimp with garlic and a tomato and mozzarella salad – both of which were really nice! My friend had a cheese platter, which she was also loved. And we ordered a white sangria to pair with our petiscos but unfortunately we were deeply saddened by how watered down it was.
In all, it was still a really nice night. The place is very trendy, all decorated in black and white. And the area was perfect for us to grab a drink afterwards. I was just disappointed because I felt the food was a little overpriced. But, hey – location, location, location! I would definitely recommend this place if you’re planning to go out for a drink afterwards. There’s a cool Irish pub up the street and some bars just a block over.
This is where we ate the first night and it was really nice too! This market was just steps away from our hostel and we were starving when we got to Porto so we chose it mostly for convenience. But we were definitely pleasantly surprised by the food!
When we first walked into the market, we thought the place could be closed because we didn’t hear anything and the food stalls all looked like they could be closed. But I’m assuming this happened because we went there on a week night – I’ve been told the place is quite rowdy on weekends!
Luckily, though, we found a random menu by a staircase and decided to check it out. N’O Mercado (which literally translates to In the Market) is located on the upper floor of the Mercado Ferreira Borges and serves a mix of Italian and Portuguese food.
We were starving so we ordered two pizzas, when we could have easily just shared one. The highlight for me were the staff though! They were super nice and actually recommended wines to go with our pizzas (who knew that was a thing?). The pizzas were cheesier than I usually like them, but they were still super delicious and we had a wonderful dinner!
Leitaria da Quinta do Paço
Finally, on our last morning in the city, we decided to go for some brunch. And we found one of our other favorite places to eat in Porto! Leitaria da Quinta do Paço is located just a little north of Torre dos Clérigos (right by the Irish pub). It’s famous in the city for its delicious éclairs which my friend tried and definitely approved of.
They have a bunch of different brunch menus (gluten-free options available!) and a really nice outside seating area. When I went, they didn’t have the brunch I originally wanted, which I thought was weird. But I got something else and really liked it! Plus, the orange juice is super fresh so they definitely get points for that!
Unfortunately, that was the extent of our food adventure in Porto. We usually had breakfast at the hostel and had snacks with us to eat during the day.
Have you been to Porto? Tell me about its delicious restaurants because I want to go back there soon and need new places to try!!