A TRULY OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE: Dining at the Restaurant O Paparico! It already starts when you get there (most likely by cab as it is located a bit outside of the city center). The taxi driver dropped us and all we saw was a simple door of a regular house – finally someone knocked because the address was right and then we were granted access to a very unique dining experience.
When you are brought to your table a selection of cold starters already waits for you on the table like when you come home and your mother has already put up the dishes to eat. We were expected by “salada bacalhau” (EUR 6.00) which was good as well as …
… “polvo molho verde” (octopus ceviche with parsley, mint and fennel; EUR 8.00), “terrina com porto” (“Arouquesa” veal terrine with port sauce; EUR 5.00) and “queijo de azeitao” (creamy Azeitão DOP cheese; EUR 5.00). The octopus ceviche was delicious and so was the veal terrine. The cheese was creamy and rich in taste.
As we could not get enough of the delicious food we decided to go for another round of starters so I had the “chourico especial” (chorizo grilled with Aguardente; EUR 7.00) which was nicely prepared and dainty.
But as the octopus ceviche was so luscious we decided to go for “polvo batata murro” (grilled wild octopus with baby potatoes, shallot and cherry tomatoes; EUR 30.00 for two persons). I have had a few times octopus in these days in Porto and I must say that this one was absolutely tender and very mouth-watering. It was not chewy at all but perfectly tenderized – it was cooked spot on!
Also the side dish with baby potatoes, shallots and cherry tomatoes was tasty – especially the combination of the shallots and the cherry tomatoes was brilliant.
Actually, at that point we were all pretty stuffed but because the dishes were that scrumptious we just had to go for desert. I asked the owner what he would recommend and then went for an apparently typical Portuguese restaurant “toucinho-do-céu” (hazelnut tart with lemon sorbet; EUR 8.00). The tart was good by itself but it was outstanding in combination with the lemon sorbet. The port which was recommended to me too, a “Br Ferreira 10 Cpo” (EUR 8.00) fit well and was good.
As a final greeting from the kitchen we got chocolates filled with eucalyptus (or something similar). They tasted interesting but were definitely the weakest course of the evening. All other dishes were great though.
The prices are actually way too low for what you get – the dishes are outstanding and are very payable. The prices for water (EUR 2.50), coffee (EUR 2.10) or the cover (EUR 2.50) are very decent too.
The restaurant O Paparico does not only serve outstandingly prepared, high-quality and mouth-watering dishes but the place has a great atmosphere. It is like you are dining in a cave as the walls are thick stone walls. On the other hand, there is a little room which is basically a library where you can also dine. It is this perfect interplay of various elements which perfectly fit together which makes the place so appealing. Additionally, someone has put a lot of effort into the decoration work and it pays off as it looks very appealing.
Last but not least, also the service is outstanding – the waiters and waitresses are there without being noticed. It is as if your water or wine glass gets filled by a mysterious invisible hand. Also, the dishes are served from the correct side and taken. One can see that the job is their passion, the orders are taken without being written down and everything is brought to the right person. And on top of that they are very friendly and patient. Only when it came to the serving of the wine there was some confusion (we had three different wines, all recommended to us by the owner: O Paparico, EUR 16.00, the house wine; Po Poeira TT, EUR 25.00 and Passadouro EUR 45.00). Each bottle was brought to someone else to try which I consider a bit confusing as normally all wines would be tried by the head of the table. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing to complain.
To sum it up, the dining experience I had at the Restaurant O Paparico was definitely among the top 5 I have had the last three years! The food is delicious, the service is outstanding, the atmosphere is very nice and appealing and the prices are low for what you get. Finally, we had a chance to have a casual chat with the owner as he invited us to the bar to try some port and drinks. He opened the restaurant about 2,5 years ago and made it the most successful and famous restaurant in Porto – he is still pretty young but you can see from his dedication and passion why it worked out.
When you are in Porto, you absolutely must dine at the O Paparico. It is very recommendable to book about 3 to 6 months in advance though.
Restaurant O Paparico
Rua de Costa Cabral 2343
4200-232 Porto (PT)
Tel.: +351 225 400 548