Based on the simple hole-in-the-wall style grill houses and bars tucked into the back streets of Porto’s teetering Old Town, Cafe Porto’s cosy dining space is relaxed and informal. Together with Scottish partner, Mary Walker, owner and chef Pedro Almeida works hard to ensure everything is right: with authentic ingredients sourced from a London-based Portuguese importer.
Together, it’s evident the team works its collective ass off – you can see them toiling away in the open kitchen. And they’ve created a wonderfully idiosyncratic outpost at the top of the town.
Relaxed, homely and authentic, Cafe Porto offers excellent Portugese food in a tapas style: think homemade hummus, marinated chicken and chorizo strips, tortilla and chunkier meatballs all made from authentically-sourced Portugese ingredients.
As it’s Portugese of course there’s plenty of fish too. Expect to see salt cod fish cakes or salt cod steak on the menu, alongside grilled sardines and baked cornbread stuffed with Bacalhau. The octopus is superb and if you’re feeling adventurous you might consider the cabrito (roast kid goat) too. There are, of course, pastel del nata, the Portugese delicacy. Think egg custard but a lot better.
Cafe Porto’s wine list is exclusively Portuguese – once you’ve sampled Vinho Verde you’ll wonder how you ever did without it – but you can bring your own wine Tuesday to Thursday and pay £3.50 in corkage.
Cafe Porto is within easy walking distance of the Unity and Everyman Theatres and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall so it’s a great shout for pre-theate, which is served 5-7. Parking is free in the Georgian Quarter after 6pm too. We very much recommend you book – and with as much notice as possible. We’ve frequently been told, regretfully, there is no room at the inn.
Lunch is available Tuesday to Friday from 12noon til 5pm, while evening meals are served 5pm til 10pm on Tuesday to Saturday (Saturdays from 3pm).
Pedro has a firm view on what restaurants should offer and puts a high value on atmosphere and service and it’s the combination of the laid-back atmosphere, lovely food and sense of the world frantically passing by outside that makes Porto worth looking up.