Koen and I love gastronomic tourism – you really are able to get a sense of the city and culture by eating the food. While in Porto, we couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at The Yeatman, one of only two 2 star Michelin restaurants in Portugal (the other being Belcanto in Lisbon). Most notable is the wine cellar at The Yeatman. Maybe the name sounds familiar if you’ve been reading my posts – it comes from the port house Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman, more commonly just called Taylor’s Port.
The Majestic Café dates back to 1921 and still exudes a Belle Epoque-era ornate interior featuring carved wood, mirrors & chandeliers. The Majestic was a recommendation by someone we know from Porto, an old, beautiful café with a lot of history. I particulary liked the idea that JK Rowling spent a lot of time here writing the first Harry Potter book!
The famous francesinha sandwich from Porto. There’s a saying that to be a good resident of Porto, you must eat two francesinhas a day. Francesinha, or Little Frenchie, is a crazy meat-heavy sandwich made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça (Portuguese smoke cured sausage), fresh sausage like chipolata, steak, and then covered with melted cheese, topped with a fried egg surrounded by a thick tomato and beer sauce. Daniel da Silva invented the sandwich after having lived in France and Belgium. When he returned to Porto, da Silva adapted the croque-monsieur to the Portuguese taste.
When we decided to visit Porto, Portugal, one of the first things I looked into were visits to the port houses! I love a glass of tawny port after dinner with some cheese and was interesting in learning (and tasting!) more.
One of the largest and oldest of the founding port wine houses is Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman – more commonly known as Taylor’s – founded in 1692. This was recommended to me by a client who had just been to Porto. So we made a reservation for the tour and lunch at their restaurant Barão Fladgate.
All over the island of São Miguel, you can’t help but find the white wrapped pastries with green ribbons – the Queijadas da Vila Franco do Campo. Koen and I had some time in the afternoon and decided to explore the namesake town! Our favorite way to start a city trip is with a cup of coffee at a local cafe. When I searched the best places for coffee, I was so excited to see that the Queijadas Bakery was open to the public!
When researching the best restaurants on São Miguel, all lists include Restaurante da Associação Agrícola. Every list proclaimed you must try the “Bife à Regional” – steak topped with a fried egg, garlic and local peppers. Of course only Azorean beef is served in the restaurant. We were surprised to learn while on the island that cows outnumber humans in the Azores! That helps explain the abundance of delicious cheese! Because São Miguel is so green, there is a vast amount of fertile land and grass for the cows to eat. This results in rich, marbled beef for everyone on the island! As you may have gathered from the name of the restaurant, Restaurante da Associação Agrícola belongs to an association of farmers. Everyone on the island knows this is where you go for the highest quality beef – even the woman sitting next to me on my flight from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada recommended we go here!
When looking up the best restaurants for seafood in Lisbon, you’ll find SEA ME – a Portuguese/Japanese fusion restaurant in Chiado. Because we love Japanese food, we really wanted to visit SEA ME! We discovered the restaurant a bit late in the trip, but luckily were able to secure a reservation our last night in Lisbon. I knew already a bit about the Portuguese-Japanese connection, because I watched a documentary about tempura in Japan, that it was introduced in the 16th century by the Portuguese living in Nagasaki.
Of course being in Portugal, we really wanted to spend some time doing wine tastings. Because Lisbon is a big tourist destination, we wanted to do some research to really find the best place and discovered Wine Bar do Castelo. If we didn’t know about it, based on its appearance and proximity to the São Jorge Castle, we most likely wouldn’t have gone inside – but what a mistake that would have been! Wine Bar do Castelo has an amazing wine selection and a really enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff. Before ordering a glass you’re able to have a discussion about what you’re looking for and receive a bit of history lesson from the sommelier. You’re also able to taste a few bottles before making your choice which we really appreciated! Definitely recommend if you’re in Lisbon!
Sunday we headed to the neighborhood of Alcântara to check out the LXFactory, a creative island in a factory setting with cool shops, restaurants, and galleries. Because it was Sunday, we were also able to see the weekly flea market. We loved walking around the photogenic LXFactory and enjoying all of the art.
Canned fish has gone gourmet in Portugal. There are many speciality shops throughout Lisbon and Porto and you can’t help but be drawn to all of the colorful packaging! We bought quite a few to take with us to enjoy back in Belgium!