Vasco Coelho Santos

During the final year of his business management degree, Vasco Coelho Santos realised he loved cooking more than he did numbers. He relocated from Porto to Lisbon and worked in key kitchens in the Portuguese capital, but it was time in Spanish powerhouses – El Bulli, Mugaritz, Arzak – that left the biggest impression. Back in Porto, his exploration of Portuguese flavours continues through his two restaurants, Euskalduna Studio and Semea by Euskalduna.

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A Long-Time Favourite

Mário Luso is not in the centre of Porto but is one of my favourites. I used to go there with my family and today, every time I have the chance, I go back. The food is delicious. I always like to eat the codfish with bread and, on Sundays, the typical cozido de domingo (stewed meat and vegetables) that many Portuguese families eat.

Porto’s Most Exciting Newcomers

Mito is one of the recent projects that I love. I usually go there for lunch. They have great creativity and flavours. They work with a weekly menu at lunch at a la carte for dinner. Not in the centre of Porto, Esquina do Avesso is also one of my top choices. Next to the beach, at Leça da Palmeira, it’s a casual restaurant where you can taste delicious dishes that result from simple yet great combination of ingredients.

One Of The City’s Best Tasting Menus

I worked at the Michelin-starred Pedro Lemos when I got back to Porto after working abroad and I learnt a lot and have a great relationship with the chef. Pedro Lemos’s eponymous restaurant opened at 2009 and has become one of the top places in the city to taste a degustation menu. The restaurant features seasonal cooking and incredible service and the foie and banana are two of my favourite dishes there.

Traditional Cooking In One Of Porto’s Most Beautiful Areas

Whenever a friend from the industry visits, I love taking them to Taberna dos Mercadores. It’s a small but amazing restaurant at Ribeira where they can taste typical and delicious food like veal tongue and codfish croquette. Adega S. Nicolau is another restaurant in the same area that I go to when I want something more traditional. It is a great restaurant with dishes like octopus rice and quindim (an egg and coconut custard dessert) that are very typical. Both restaurants are great places to go to enjoy a meal next to one of the city’s most beautiful areas.

My Favourite Wine Bar

When I want to relax at the end of the week, I usually go to Prova. Located at Rua Ferreira Borges, it’s a cosy wine bar and perfect to go with friends and have a great time. Diogo, the sommelier, always has amazing options and tasting menus for you to try. At the end of the working week, I’m here very often.

Shaking Up Porto’s Bar Scene

There are some new and exciting venues opening in Porto. Royal Cocktail Club, for example, is a space that’s really changing the bar scene. We didn’t have anything like it in the city and it’s bringing a new dynamic to the drinking landscape. It’s a great place to go with friends.

A Late-Night Indulgence

When service ends, it’s usually really late and the staff are usually hungry, so we eat to Pajú that’s really closed to Euskalduna Studio. Here we eat “indulgent” food like hot dogs – called cachorros in Portugal – and francesinha or French fries. It’s amazing.

The Taste Of Home

Every time I’m away from Porto, I miss tripas à moda do Porto (Porto-style tripe and white bean stew). It’s something so typical of this region and I love it. When I’m away from home, I don’t have the chance to eat it anywhere, so I’m always looking forward to eating it when I return. I used to eat it at Casa Inês, but now that the restaurant is closed, I go to Adega Vila Meã and have it there.

Guide last updated January 2020

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