In Search of Coffee, Gelato and Port in Porto
We had a lot of good food in Portugal and Porto was no exception. But we went in search of coffee, gelato and port when we walked in Porto. We had several things pinned on our maps to try. Others we just found as we wandered.
Artistic Coffee Shops
David always creates his list of coffee spots when we visit any large city. We plot these on our offline map and plan our days with known stops. These shops provided great coffee stops but also another view of the art that can be found all around Porto.
The first interesting coffee stop was planned when we walked to explore the Duoro River bridges. The Majestic Cafe is on the pedestrian area on Santa Catarina Street. It is a very popular tourist spot so try to get there early.
We managed to get a seat inside. We had sampled the custard tarts (“nata”) of Portugal as we travelled. The tarts at Pasteis de Belem when exploring the Belem area in Lisbon were just perfect. We were sure we could not beat those. But we kept trying. Once seated we ordered our coffee and tarts.
Then we looked around. This cafe used to be the meeting point of the elite of the city. Writers, politicians, artists, thinkers. It fell into disrepair and was renovated in 1994 to bring back the glamour and charm from the 1920’s. The interior is elegantly decorated with mirrors, posing cherubs, rich wood and gilded surfaces. An outdoor patio is a quieter spot.
The other coffee shop we searched out was the Guarany Cafe. There is a great patio where you can sit and enjoy people watching as you take a break from walking the streets of Porto.
This is another historic cafe that was renovated. In 1994 the update included two paintings by Graça Morais (“The Lords of Amazonia”). The acrylic paint and pastel on canvas capture the daily life of the Guarany tribe and their instruments.
The coffee shops were a great start to our exploration of coffee, gelato and port in Porto.
Gelato and Chocolate
There were gelato shops everywhere we walked in Porto. I was always suspicious when I walked in and saw fluffy mounds of gelato. This was usually not homemade gelato. I was happier when I saw stainless steel tubs closed to the air.
There was one gelato stop on the “must see” list. We almost missed Santini but David did not give up easily. The first things we saw was a long list of gelato flavours. While I decided on what flavour I wanted, David got sidetracked for a sign that said “The Best Chocolate Tart”. So we got one of each. It was indeed a great treat.
Gelato and chocolate was a highlight of our wanderings to find coffee, gelato and port in Porto.
Our First Taste of Port in Porto
You can’t come to Porto and not sample the port wine. We had our first sample at our hotel as we sat at the rooftop patio with a great view over Porto. David started with a 5 year old port.
Over our time in Porto, we learned a little more about port. One night at dinner we ordered both a 5 and a 10 year port to try the difference. The colour was a first immediate difference. Then we tasted them. The 5 year old port had been paired with a chocolate dessert. When we drank it with the chocolate, it tasted just fine. But then we tried the 10 year old port. It was definitely a much smoother and sweeter drink. It needed no chocolate to smooth it out. But of course, we could not pass on the chocolate!
There are port cellars all over porto. Most offer the ability to drop in and do a tasting. Our tour of the wine cellars of Porto broadened our taste tests.
We also got to try a variety of port when we travelled up the Douro River Valley.
Make Sure To Explore The Foodie Side of Porto
There are a lot of things to do in Porto. But don’t miss a chance to explore the foodie side of Porto. The coffee, gelato and port in Porto provided a good tasting sample. But we also got to see more of the artistic side of Porto.
Did you sample the coffee, gelato and port in Porto? What other food or drink is on your list on a Porto visit?