Monday, July 15, 2013

Porto: A romantic table and view at Restaurante Mercearia

While surveying Porto's UNESCO World Heritage Cais da Ribeira (riverside boulevard), I saw this restaurant on the stone walls of the old city that has an arch transformed into a romantic dining nook. It is so inviting. Who can refuse this lovely nook? Not me. I am sure as well that from up there diners would be treated to a lovely view of the boulevard and the Douro River.

It's just half past 7PM so its still early which explains why nobody has snagged the tables yet. So let me grab one of the tables before someone else's does!

The Portuguese eat late, but not as late as the Spaniards who starts dinner after 9PM. However, in these touristy places like the riviera, many eat early because tourists are normal people like you and me who take the evening meal at normal dinner time.

Restaurante Mercearia

Website: Restaurante Mercearia Marisqueria
Link to Trip Advisor: Restaurante Mercearia

I chose the table not directly located in front of the glass so I can have a little bit of privacy otherwise all the nosy tourists walking up and down Cais da Ribeira will be staring at every morsel I put into my mouth and count how many times I chew before taking in another forkful of morsels. And I was so damn right, this little romantic nook attracts so much attention from passersby! I was like a star being marveled at, haha.

Just minutes after I grabbed the table, a Belgian couple came up and claimed the other table. Oooh, I am just right on time to have grabbed my little space! I really hope the food of this restaurant will live up to its charmingness, and my now building up expectations. We will see.

This is the rest of the restaurant, the interior of the first floor.

Presunto Starter + Red Wine

Earlier in the day during the Douro River Valley Tour we had some wine and presunto tasting in Lamego. I only had a little taste and because of that I am wanting more.

So I ordered a little portion of presunto for my starter and to go with my red wine from the region. The  presunto of the house was very good, but I have to be honest, Jamon Iberico (Bellota or not) still reigns as the king, the finest of the finest cured ham in the whole wide world.

Grilled Octopus as main

For my main, I saw that they have Grilled Octopus on the menu, and my last Grilled Octopus was last year (2012) during our summer holiday in beautiful and not (yet) driven by mass tourism Lesvos Island, Greece I decided to go for this.

The Grilled Octopus came with boiled potatoes that were also grilled, a boiled egg sliced half, green olives, and garnishings of steamed green paprika and onions.

My verdict: Grilled Octopus was quite mediocre. I told the waiter that I wanted it really well done, like crunchy, and he nodded taking note of my request, but it came helaas, as I have feared, a bit soft and looking not really grilled at all except for its slightly burnt tentacle ends. Not like. 2.5 stars out of 5.

Moi below having coffee to close my dinner:

Food was not very satisfactory in this restaurant but lovely romantic nook and great view nonetheless. I can live with that.

After dinner, I didn't stay out very long. I am a bit tired from the whole day's affair and just want to chill out near the comforts of my bed.

My hotel is about a 10-minute walk from the Ribeira. I decided to stay for the remaining evening in my hotel room, watching a few people passing by from my balcony and zipping through Portuguese TV. When I am new to a place, I always check local TV stations and just have a look really what they air even if I do not understand the language. Most of the times I have a kick on the advertisements.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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