Travel Break: Why Porto is the Perfect Escape for Foodies and Lovers
Porto, Portugal is the perfect city to go to if you’re longing for an escape. With its old feel and romantic vibes, exploring the cobblestone streets will transport you into a dream-like state. The rustic ambiance, delicious food and vibrant art scene will have you wanting to continue to come back for more. Porto has something for everyone whether you’re a self-proclaimed foodie or heading to the city filled with love; with life, a romantic partner or yourself. We’re bringing you the best of the city from where to stay, what to eat and how to treat yourself while in town.
Where To Stay
Rosa Et Al
When thinking of vacation accommodations, it would feel wrong to put Rosa Et Al in the category of “hotel”. The quaint townhouse with family vibes, welcomes you as soon as when you walk through the door. The building hosts six elegant yet homey rooms that are easily accessible via the winding sunlit staircase. The townhouse exudes romantic vibes, from the key design to veranda windows.
Rosa Et Al is part of the famed Bed and Brunch collection and their brunch is well known throughout the city by locals and visitors alike. With artisanal vibes, you can dine on the many homemade goods they offer, made close to the source. Essentially everything they use is organic and ingredients are locally sourced (many are grown in their lavish backyard) and while there it feels like you’re having a home cooked meal.
All of the rooms have top of the line, luxury items; bathrobes, slippers and the infamous Castebel infused soaps. Created with the concept of renewing and revitalizing oneself, each room has a vintage clawfoot bathtub that was made in Portugal, reminding us the beauty of slowing down. They also offer in-room spa services for anyone who needs it. The third floor hosts a library filled with a diverse array of books and magazines for the guests to enjoy and upon arrival, you’re gifted with a small bottle of Porto wine, welcoming you to the region in their local manner, even more.
Filled with charm and grace, you’ll wake up to the sun seeping in through your windows and realize that it’s a beautiful life we live. Rosa Et Al is here to remind you of that.
Casa Do Conto
When arriving at Casa do Conto in the quaint streets of the city, you’ll have to do a double take to make sure you’re entering a residency and not just another Portuguese apartment building.
The arts and residency hotel is more than just a place to stay. It’s an intimate gathering space for not just artists but all creatives who are drawn to traveling and looking to embrace all that Porto has to offer. The space is truly innovative with their minimalistic yet extremely detailed interior design. The exposed concrete walls, winding staircases, and spacious room design (there are only six apartments in the hotel, two on each floor) have you feeling like you’ve entered another world.
The residency is extremely welcoming, opening the front door each time you come in, to personally explaining some of their favorite spots around the city and sharing what might interest you based on your preferences.
Not only that, but there is a strong focus on sustainability as natural light occupies the rooms all day long that goes as far as the hotel using solar panels. The garden in the back area is the perfect spot to peacefully relax, take in the sun or catch up on some reading. Of course, this can be done after their delicious breakfast where you’ll want to spend all morning dining on the delicacies from crepes to fresh fruit and Brie to personalized omelets while smooth jazz plays in the background.
Where to Indulge
Wine Quay Bar
Porto is often known for it’s port wines but Wine Quay Bar is here to show you that there is so much more to the Portuguese wine scene. Located directly on Rio Duoro, this gem is in one of the older buildings in the city, having been passed down from the co-founder Felipa’s family for over 100 years. The bar opened in 2012 and they’ve expanded to also open a market next door where they sell the wines and goods that they serve in the restaurant. The authentic aspect about the wines that they hold in the restaurant is that many of them wines can’t be bought in mainstream stores.
With around 50 unique wines you can tell that everything was chosen with care and everyone who works there has an intense knowledge of the industry. Although wine is their main focus, they also have a delicious selection of goods to go along with it, from Quiejo de Serra (a creamy sheep cheese) to the best thinly sliced chorizo you might ever have.
The wine bar is a fantastic place to take in the views, meet new people and be openly welcomed by the owners.
Taste Porto Food Tours
The Taste Porto Food Tours won’t only introduce you to different original Portuguese food (and some with modern twists) but you’ll also learn tenfold about the stories behind the origins, the restaurants, the owners and the authenticity of it all.
While making your way through Porto, the host André will share the endless amount of history throughout the city while simultaneously letting you know how the food history in the city is just as prevalent. You’ll explore different locations from restaurants that were bringing a modern twist to old classics to restaurants that had been around for over 100 years. No matter where you go, André allows for space to ask questions and continuously shares insider knowledge about the city that you can only learn from a local.
The joy of Taste Porto is that you feel as if you’re with a lifelong friend, going to your favorite local spots in the city. The feeling you get when you know your favorite dish and the owner of a restaurant but when someone asks you, you can’t remember the name but you know lead them exactly where it is.
Honorable Food Mentions
daTerra is a vegetarian buffet with vegan options. You can find the likes of pumpkin soup, grilled seitan steaks, cauliflower couscous with curry, and fresh juices. They also make their own vegan desserts; however, they are not included in the all-you-can-eat portion. The menu changes daily and it’s centrally located near the São Bento train station. The locale is spacious and airy with just the right amount of natural light. You’ll be grateful to appreciate a freshly prepared vegetarian buffet for only 7,50€.
Cantina 32 is an innovative space that is perfect to sit down for a memorable lunch. With creative takes on different Portuguese delicacies, there is something for every type of palette. From appetizers like cured salmon in mustard sauce to an assortment of Portuguese cheeses, you’ll start off right before diving into the main courses. They have everything from pulled pork sandwiches, marinated and cooked to perfection to fresh fish and more. You’ll leave feeling content without breaking the bank, but, no matter how full you are, don’t leave without trying the cheesecake.
Porto is an unforgettable city. What would you recommend seeing or tasting while there?
Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.