Monday, May 27, 2013

Douro River Valley Tour 4b: Lunch in Peso da Regua at Restaurante Douro In

When I was back in the Netherlands from my Porto and Douro holiday in Portugal last March, I did a quick online research on this restaurant in Peso da Regua—Restaurante Douro In, and found out that it’s actually one of the highly recommended fine dining restaurants in the area. It is good to know that Living Tours offers good restaurant choice to their customers.

Douro In Restaurant

Website: Restaurante Douro In

The restaurant is housed in an old renovated building along the main road just across the flooded boulevard. The classic and modern interior is Philippe Starck, not sure if it’s just influenced or designed by the designer himself but the furniture were suggestive of Starck’s designs. The downside of this restaurant is the (a bit steep) stairway. Not friendly for older people, the disabled and for people like me who have a 60 year old knee. Everything else though was very nice.

There is an outdoors terrace at the back and I think a roofdeck as well.

As we were ushered into the restaurant, I naturally gravitated towards the window seat for the views. We are already aware of the state of the Douro River so the view isn’t much of a gratification, although if you are imaginative enough like me you can look past beyond the glum environment and see its beauty.

The rainy view (and flooded river view) from my table.

The server from the restaurant informing us the menu choices.

I have been chatting with the Dutch family since our wine, cheese and presunto tasting stop in Lamego so I sat together with them at the table. Language really bonds people. If I did not speak Dutch, I do not think we would have conversed this much. I also think that they were quite amused to see a foreigner (immigrant) speaking Dutch. I must admit that I do get compliments about my Dutch now, maybe because I speak proper Dutch. I do not speak street-style Dutch and my accent is intelligible. I have to give credit to my work though for helping me achieve this level of Dutch.

Lunch - Almoço

We first had some drinks. We had a choice of white and red wine from the region. Then we were served with slices of French bread, as well as some tuna and crab pate, olive oil with drops of balsamic vinegar, and black whole olives to go with our bread. Because I ordered bacalhau for my main, I settled for a glass of white.

The starter arrived: Soup. We debated if it was pumpkin soup or if it had some traces of pumpkin in it even if it was clearly mentioned by the server that the soup in our menu is potato and vegetable soup. The soup looks very boring but this was quite good though.

For my main I had a bacalhau (salted dried cod fish). This is called Bacalhau a Bras and this was very good. The only minus of this dish is that it is a bit dry, they could have added a little bit of sauce on the side or green salad and this would have been perfect.

The others had turkey fillet with rice and green peas, which they said was quite good, but presentation-wise the plate looked like it came out of the kitchen counter of a local cafeteria rather than in a posh restaurant such as Douro In.

The Dutch guy and the Belgian guy. The Dutch guy is 47 years old. He looks quite young for his age! I was tempted to ask what his secret is to staying young.

The interior of Douro In Restaurant. I really like those huge windows.

For dessert, we had something sweet of course. I do not remember the name of this cake but they said this is a local delicacy. I only ate a little bit of it because it was indeed too sweet. You know I am not into sugar stuff, but I had some espresso to finish off this meal.

It’s quite nice to meet people while travelling this way, over food and drinks and chit-chat. I learned quite a lot about the people in the group tour. The Dutch family originally came from Haarlem in North Holland. The Japanese couple told us that before Germany they lived in the USA. This guy must be working for one of the Japanese giants (I did not ask further though). His wife was so meek, she barely spoke.

Nevertheless, the whole group bonded during this relaxing lunch. Food was good, but could have been better. 3.85 stars out of 5.

Maria told us that next in our agenda is a visit to a Port estate winery and more tasting. Hmm, now we are talking. We are so looking forward to visiting the source of Port wine!

Previous entries:

Douro River Valley Tour 4a: The flood in Peso da Regua
Douro River Valley Tour 3: Wine, Cheese and Presunto tasting in Lamego
Douro River Valley Tour 2: A rainy and misty 'Douro viewing point' stop
Douro River Valley Tour 1: Amarante village, Vinho Verde (green wine) and some Travel Agency rant

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Peso da Regua (Vila Real – Douro), Portugal

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