100 Rua do Padrão
Tel: 351 226 108 059
It says something about Porto style that this neighborhood bistro, set in a 19th-century villa behind the beach at Foz, is touted locally as the chicest of the city's restaurants. The menu feels rather out of step with current trends in food—the steak with pepper sauce, for example, harks back to the late 1980s (though the joint only opened in 1995). But it does make for a good place to enjoy a laid-back Saturday evening meal.
Open 12 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 12 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
112 Rua Santa Catarina
Tel: 351 222 003 887
Established in 1921, the Majestic is an Art Deco explosion. Marble walls with bas-relief cherubs and gilt-edged mirrors adorned with curlicues tower over the restaurant's banquettes. If the opulence proves too much, simply head to the terrace for afternoon tea and rabanadas (a Portuguese version of French toast: fried bread dipped in milk, eggs, sugar, honey, lemon peel, and wine). Abandoned from 1964 to 1983, the café has been thoroughly restored and once again hosts poetry recitals, piano concerts, and photo exhibits.
Open 9:30 a.m. to 12 midnight Mondays through Saturdays.
1315 Cais da Ribeira
Caid da Ribeira
Tel: 351 222 004 307
This high-class restaurant opened by pop star (or, rather, highly regarded local rock-and-blues musician) Rui Veloso in 1992 is typical of the recent upmarket move for the Cais da Ribeira area. In keeping with the owner's identity, the clientele runs toward the bold and the beautiful of contemporary politics (from Castro to Chirac) and film (a mix of both Hollywood and European actors). The cooking is solid international-modern, with a Portuguese foundation that incorporates lots of shellfish—the menu changes daily, but you might find sea bass in a salt crust or goat roasted in red wine. Even when you book in advance (a must), the rigmarole that comes with the restaurant's "this is the place" trendiness will probably have you cooling your heels in the 18th-century bar area before being shown to your table upstairs.
Open daily 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
18 Largo de São Domingos
Portugal 4050 545
Tel: 351 22 201 4313
Portugal's renowned chef Rui Paula opened DOP, his first city venture, in March 2010. Since Paula was already well known for DOC, his swank restaurant on the Douro River between the towns of Régua and Pinhão, his new high-ceilinged, two-floor eatery in the 14th-century Palácio das Artes quickly became the place to eat in the heart of historic Porto. Expect a simple, modern take on traditional Portuguese, such as partridge, pigeon, and slow-cooked (as in 12 hours) pork neck. In fall, don't skip the warm quince cake with chestnut cream for dessert. And if you're keen on finding out more about the country's wines, you'll be glad to know that 85 percent of the 680 bottles in DOP's two wine cellars are Portuguese.—Anja Mutić
Open Mondays through Sundays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7:30 to 11:30 pm.
628 Rua Roberto Ivens
Tel: 351 229 380 660
Marisqueiras are restaurants that specialize in shellfish, and the Esplanada is perhaps the best of the bunch, as well as the fanciest. The menu is a selection of Atlantic shellfish, from langoustines and lobsters to barnacles, mussels, and crabs. For the most part, this excellent raw material is treated simply, either boiled or grilled. Try the huge tiger prawns or the delicious clams that are cooked briefly with a little parsley, coriander, and white wine. Wash it down with a vinho verde from the Minho region. To get here, take the Metro from Trindade behind the town hall to Brito Capelo.
Open 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
598 Rua da Alegria
Tel: 351 225 370 717
Located on the top floor of the Albergaria Miradouro, a 30-room hotel in a residential neighborhood near the heart of town, Portucale serves excellent food in an intimate atmosphere with outdated decor, elegant table settings, and stunning views of the city. Dieters should steer clear: The cabrito a serrana (goat in red wine) is a specialty, as is the partridge stuffed with foie gras and stewed in port. The kitchen never cooks light, not even when preparing fish: The fillet of sole is laden with lobster and shellfish, simmered in Champagne, and topped with grated cheese. Reservations are recommended.
Open daily 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Avenida do Brasil
Tel: 351 226 173 234
Here's a beachside restaurant with a difference. This cube of glass and steel, elegantly poised above the sand and rocks, offers shelter from the Atlantic wind and sea spray. Groovy music, a log fire in winter, and a range of simple dishes, with salads and seafood leading the charge, make this one of the most pleasant places to eat in the city. Like many joints on the shore, Praia da Luz stays open fashionably late.
Open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily (except for one week in October due to high tide).