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Porto and Galicia, part 1

macaraca | Jun 15, 201601:07 AM

Porto, Galicia report - 1
Spent 2 weeks between Porto, Ourense, and Pontevedra, with daytrips to Pinhao, Braga, Lugo, Santiago, A Coruna, and Vigo. Wonderful seafood, especially the pulpo, sardines, and calamari.
In Porto our best meal was at ODE in a charming old remodeled building near the waterfront, a Slow Food fine-dining restaurant devoted to locally-sourced ingredients. Excellent service and thoughtful dishes made it a special occasion. Starters were a salad of beets, pear, lettuce, mushroom and blueberries on a pearl barley base and a ‘Covilhete de Vila Real’ – sort of a pot pie with minced beef and a mushroom foam on the side, as well as the basket of house-baked breads.
Mains were Octopus with potatoes and spinach, and Goa style lamb curry tenderloin with basmati rice. Octopus was wonderful…tender, garlicy…not better than similar offerings in Galicia, but excellent. The Goa curry was mild and creamy…delicious, but not the heat we expected.
A dessert pudding and fruit plate finished things, with one glass of a wonderful vinho tinto: Quinta de Saes 2008 from Dāo that perfectly accompanied the salad and pulpo…went back a few days later to try the wine again and they had sold out. Dinner for two was 93 E.
Had cocktails and a cheese platter at the Yeatman Hotel to enjoy a relaxing sunset view of the city…well worth the climb from the port lodges in Gaia, and the pricey fare.
Wonderful daily breakfast spread at our BnB, Porta Azul with home-cooked items daily by owner Marta.
Tried several times to get the famous roast pork sandwich at ‘Nelson do Leitao’ (Nelson of Piglets), in Bolhao Market, but never got the timing right. If they are anywhere as good as the one we finally got at the upscale Bom Sucesso Market they must be excellent. 7 Euros for very large sandwich with side of fresh potato chips. Wide array of other options from the 20 or so vendors….also had shrimp and rabbit paella which was quite good. 10 E for an ample individual paella and a glass of vinho verde. Mostly local businessmen and shoppers; few tourists like us.
Took the Metro to Matasinhos suburb for fresh seafood lunch twice and enjoyed both very different experiences. The street opposite the fishing piers is lined with small restaurants, most with indoor and outdoor seating, some with outdoor grills wafting tempting smells throughout the area. First time was at Casa Serrao, white tableclothes and upscale clientele. Pulpo starter was sensational, and large grilled sardines sprinkled with sea salt were equally delicious. Padron Peppers, grilled, sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil excellent, as was the fried and battered whiting fillets. With half bottle of Planalto Douro 2014 vinho branco and a draft beer, lunch was about 40 E, and well worth it.
Second visit was to Salta o Muro across the street, much more modest with working and lower middle class clientele and prices to match. Wooden benches and paper table covers. Service not so great, but food made up for it. Tiny grilled sardines with garlic-parsley potatoes, and sautéed tiny squid with French fries were nicely done. Half bottle of wine and mineral water brought lunch for two to @ 15 E.

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