3 x (O)Porto
Oporto or Porto. You decide how you would like to call it, but Porto is its true name. The city of saudade, nostalgia and melancholy. This is your guide to a bohemian weekend in Porto.
3 x Cafés
Or bars, or restaurants. they’re all in one.
Rua da Conceição 3, 4050-215 Porto, Portugal
My old time favorite. Every time I go to Porto I always stop by this place (I used to live in the square where this cafe is located). From late mornings until 2 in the morning you can stop by to have a drink. At the end of the day (especially if it's sunny) you will find this place crowded (in a good way) with wine glasses, beers, all over the place - the interior and the large terrace where the old windows play an important role. The plus, it’s a cafe and a bookshop.
Rua José Falcão 156, 4050-315 Porto, Portugal
This café/bar/restaurant is literally all in one. When we pass by the door of this place we can’t tell about the interior, there are a few divisions. The special parts of this place is the interior and the exterior terrace. My favorite part - the interior terrace - is perfect for all kinds of days. With the glass ceilings and all the plants around you create the perfect ambience for rainy days and sunny ones. From 12 noon to 1pm this place is ideal for all kinds of plans - from a tea to a gin tonic; from lunch to dinner.
Era uma vez em Paris
Galeria de Paris 106-108, Porto, Portugal
Not the most Portuguese bar in the city (look at the name) but the Porto atmosphere is definitely there. Inspired by the roaring 20’s, the decoration is all about decadence: velvet, abajours, red walls and all kinds of rich textures. It’s based in one of the busiest streets in Baixa do Porto (old city center). “Once upon a time in Paris” has 2 personalities, during the day expect a cozy place to eat sandwiches and salads. As the night comes, the dim light creates an intimate ambiance with good music (that will sometimes make you remember old - and hopefully, good times).
3 x Restaurants
Café Santiago - Francesinhas
Rua de Passos Manuel 226, 4000-032 Porto, Portugal
I couldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t put this restaurant in this list. Lets start by explaining the food concept - the more traditional and typical from Porto - the Francesinha. This is a very special and meaty, heavy sandwich that some of you will be afraid of trying, but please do (unless you are vegetarian or vegan). Expect a spicy sauce, with a lot lot of cheese, probably a fried egg on the top and french fries on the side. On the inside, a lot of different types of meat. Please take this as a challenge. Café Santiago is not pretty, cozy or trendy but it's a classic place from Porto. If you don’t want to accept the challenge just try another Portuguese thing on the menu.
P.s: there are a lot of places that serve francesinha, but this is my absolute favorite.
Canelas de Coelho - Reinterpreted Portuguese cuisine
Rua Elísio de Melo, 29/33, 4000-196 Porto, Portugal
Intimate, melancholic with a very Portuguese soul. The menu is all about Portuguese food and Portuguese wine. Before the existence of “canelas de coelho”, it was an old Portuguese restaurant (tasca as we say) called “A Minhota”, they maintained some decorative elements of the tasca. Be prepared to find a lot of good Portuguese wine since one of the founders is a oenologist. Ask for vinho and petiscos if you want to try different kinds of Portuguese food, or ask for an ornamented plate.
Mondo Deli - Fusion food + store
Rua do Almada, 501, 4050-039 Porto, Portugal
This one is a recent special spot in Porto’s baixa.
A mix of Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food with a small, well curated menu where you can find options for all kind of friends, gluten afraid, vegetarian and vegan. Please be aware that this restaurant only serves dinner and you must reserve before hand.
Established by Marcus Zietz and designer Christian Haas in 2016, this place is also a retail space lined with home accessories designed by Haas alongside Koichiro Kimura lacquerware, Kirstie van Noort porcelain, Klong cutlery and Stefanie Hering tableware. Another interesting side of this project is that this building is also the home and atelier of the creative couple, Marcus and Christian.
3 x Stores (or multistores)
Don’t expect the typical stores. In this part you will find places to buy unique stuff that we can call alternative souvenirs. This is all about shopping local - and special.
Centro comercial Bombarda
Rua de Miguel Bombarda 285, 4050-379 Porto, Portugal
A collection of small shops and restaurants on the artsy gallery street Rua Miguel Bombarda. A lot of small boutiques with stuff from local designers. You’ll probably fall in love with a pair of unique sunglasses or a Bonsai garden.
Rua José Falcão, 157, 4050-213 Porto, Portugal
Another place of all in one. This place was designed during the 70’s as a movie theatre. Renovated in the middle of 2014, it has a concept very similar to Centro Comercial Bombarda. Everything from crepes and a Japanese convenience store and to a poetry bookshop. In the center of this centro comercial, take a moment to sit and enjoy the beautiful natural light, have an ice-cream, a good conversation or enjoy a quiet working session (and the loneliness of a freelancer job).
A vida Portuguesa
Rua da Galeria de Paris 20, 4050-182 Porto, Portugal
Colorful and nostalgic Portuguese products, you can find literally anything that you might need in a house (talking about small products of course). From retro toothpastes to a vintage notebook to Portuguese olive oil. You are going to want to buy something, even if it is just for the beautiful packaging! A little trip to Portugal in the past.
3 x places to go out
Rua de Cândido dos Reis 30, 4050-150 Porto, Portugal
This is the least multifaceted of them all. Still a pretty nice option to go out. You just have 2 options, drink or dance. Preferably the two at the same time. I’ve spent some fun and memorable nights in this place, some local friends will not agree on this one, but well, my good old memories make me put this place on the list. The plus of this place - the interiors - very similar to the vibes of “Era uma vez em Paris”, expect a heavy curtains on entrance - you will feel for seconds that you are entering in another era (but just for seconds). Porto and his beautiful decadence.
Rua de Passos Manuel 137, 4000-382 Porto, Portugal
A former cinema “passos” is now a bar/disco/club space. A place with a unique vanguardist atmosphere that has become legendary and part of the city night’s imaginary, even for those who were never there. One of the favorites of my local friends. Expect the kind of - this will sound as cliché - good alternative music.
Rua de Passos Manuel 178, 4º Piso, 4000-382 Porto, Portugal
The most multifunctional of these 3, the name says everything “bad habits” and they proclame themselves as space that doesn’t want to be defined. Well, but let’s define a little bit, you can call it a Café, Restaurant, cultural space - with permanent exhibitions, and a club/not club. But for sure with an amazing night life. You can check on their webpage all the events calendar. Just a quick note, once you arrive take the elevator to the first floor, there you will find a variety of rooms: interior terrace, exterior terrace, restaurant space, (…). It’s a versatile and multifaceted space that you should explore and embrace the bad habits from Porto day and night life. Probably at the end of the day you will have good stories to tell - just try it.
Photography courtesy of the restaurants/bars featured. Other photography by: Luis Diaz Diaz, Oportocool, Luimiere Arquitectos, Wallpaper, & my iphone!