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 left Porto for Lisbon where he worked in important kitchens. But it was time in Spanish powerhouses El Bulli, Mugaritz and Arzak that left the biggest impression on him. He returned to Porto to explore local flavours and opened two restaurants, one of which is Euskalduna Studio which earned a Michelin star in 2022.
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My Long-Time Favourites

Pedro Lemos’s eponymous, Michelin-starred restaurant opened in 2009 and has become one of the top places to have a tasting menu in the city. I worked there when I returned to Porto and learned a lot from the chef with whom I developed a great relationship. The restaurant features seasonal cooking and incredible service. The foie gras and the banana are two of my favourite dishes there. Mário Luso is not in the centre of Porto but it is one of my favourite restaurants. I used to go there with my family and I go back every time I have the chance to. The food is delicious: I always like to eat the codfish with bread and, on Sundays, the cozido de domingo (stewed meat and vegetables) which is a typical Sunday dish for Portuguese families.

Porto’s Most Exciting Newcomers

Mito is one of the recent openings that I love: it boasts great creativity and flavours. There’s a weekly specials menu at lunch and an a la carte menu for dinner. I usually go there for lunch. Esquina do Avesso is not in the centre of Porto but is also one of my top choices for dining out. It’s a casual restaurant next to the beach at Leça da Palmeira. The dishes are the result of a simple yet great combination of ingredients that end up being really delicious.

Traditional Cooking in One Of Porto’s Most Beautiful Areas

Whenever friends from the industry visit, I love taking them to Ribeira, one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and a great area to sample typical local food. Taberna dos Mercadores is a small but amazing restaurant where they can taste delicious dishes like veal tongue and codfish croquettes. When I want something even more traditional, I go to Adega S. Nicolau, another great restaurant in the same area where we can taste dishes like octopus rice and quindim (an egg and coconut custard dessert).

Shaking Up Porto’s Bar Scene

There are some new and exciting venues opening in Porto. Royal Cocktail Club is one of them. We didn’t have anything like it before. It’s a space that’s creating a new dynamic in the drinking landscape and changing the bar scene entirely. It’s also a great place to go with friends.

My Local Wine Bar

When I want to relax with friends, I usually go to Prova. It’s a cosy wine bar on Rua Ferreira Borges where you’ll often find me at the end of the week. I have a great time there. Diogo, the sommelier, always has amazing options for you to try.

The Staff’s Late-Night Indulgence

Service ends really late, and the staff are usually hungry. We go to Pajú to eat really indulgent food like hot dogs – called “cachorros” in Portugal – and francesinha (Porto’s national meat sandwich) or French fries. It’s amazing.

A 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 so typical of this region and I love it. I don’t have the chance to eat it anywhere else, so I’m always looking forward to having it when I return. I used to eat it at Casa Inês but the restaurant closed. I now go to Adega Vila Meã to have it.

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