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Restaurant splurge - Matosinhos

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TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
After our flight from Montreal to Porto we had booked a room at the O Valentim Hotel in Matosinhos. It was raining when we left Montreal, raining when our flight backtracked to Toronto, and raining when we arrived in Porto.

Our room was not ready when we got to the hotel, so we wearily moved to the dining room and ordered lunch. Wow, it was excellent. By chance we spoke with a French couple later in the day. The husband said, "Have you tried the dinner here? It's very good". So we did. Again, excellent.

Then after our walk we returned to Porto and a Portuguese friend who lives nearby in Foz told us she frequently brings business guests there for dinner.

Bottom line - excellent food, grilled seafood is featured, great service, and lower prices than in Porto itself. Meal for two with a nice bottle of wine is less than 80 euros. Upstairs dining room overlooks the harbor. Reserve a table with a view.

On the Camino, BTW. Rooms are good also.

Bom apetite!
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Amazing Food on the Portuguese Camino!!!
The city of Mealhada, population five thousand, stretches out over nearly four kilometers. One guide book suggested that I skip Mealhada altogether and target a very nice hotel and restaurant called Três Pinheiros that was located just one kilometer from the north end of the city. The hotel had a resort quality about it, with a swimming pool out front, a gourmet restaurant famous for its roast suckling pig, and a function room cum discothèque attached to the complex. Having seen the discothèque, I asked at the reception desk for a room in a quiet part of the hotel. There were some villa rooms that were located away from the main building, and I got a pilgrim rate of just €37.50 for a spacious modern room with a massive king-size bed and a big bathroom complete with a large bathtub that I took full advantage of.
The place seemed empty as I sat in the nicely appointed lobby writing my daily email and waiting for the restaurant to open at 7:00 p.m. If you are not having seafood in Portugal, then it is likely that you are having pork. The caldo verde soup has chunks of pork chouriço sausage, the porco à alentejana has cubes of pork shoulder, and every albergue serves thin pork cutlets with french fries. There is the cured air-dried serrano ham, the bacon boccadillo sandwich, and the carne de vinha d’alhos—a dish that is a progenitor of the vindaloo from the Portuguese colony of Goa. But the pinnacle of pork dishes is the leitão assado da bairrada—roasted suckling pig basted until the skin becomes a crunchy counterpoint to the moist meat.
After tramping along the four kilometers through the main avenue running through Mealhada, I would not have suspected that this small city was a food mecca. Mealhada’s reputation for leitão was forged in 1949 when Álvaro Pedro opened his now famous restaurant Pedro dos Leitões. The family-run establishment can seat more than four hundred people and may prepare up to one hundred pigs in a day. The success of the eatery led to the opening of other leitão restaurants, including Pic-Nic dos Leitões, Meta dos Leitões, Rei dos Leitões, and of course Três Pinheiros, where I would try my first roast suckling pig.
Pigs from the Bairrada wine-growing region surrounding Mealhada feed mostly on acorns and are considered to be the best quality in Portugal. The pigs are slaughtered when they are four to six weeks old. The meat is prepared with a rub of garlic, salt, and pepper and then skewered on a long metal pole before going into the wood oven to roast for two hours. The ovens are fueled with wood from eucalyptus trees, and later sections of grape vines are burnt to add additional flavor. At Três Pinheiros, I munched olives and ate bread for about half an hour before my waiter brought out my roast suckling pig on a platter and served me a few slices of leitão with some roasted potatoes. The texture of the dish is its most remarkable feature. Like roast duck, the skin is crunchy while the rich meat falls apart. The suckling pig had the unctuousness of a duck with the flavor of slow-roasted pork ribs. The meal was exquisite. I lingered with coffee and flan, thinking how cool it would be to spend a week in this town eating at a different leitão restaurant every night until I’d tried every one.

From "Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment"
 

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