This is one of those places that I’d have missed if it wasn’t for serendipity.
It’s not in my neighborhood (though it’s not far from it), it doesn’t look particularly appealing from the outside and it’s not the everyone-talks-about-it-I-just-have-to-go-there type of restaurant. But I’ll tell you: everyone should be talking about it!
Pombeiro ranks high in the competition for the ultimate Portuguese food experience, which includes the feeling of being so (pleasantly) stuffed that you can’t even fit a pea in your stomach. It’s about homey, no-frills, regional, countryside food.
‘We’ were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, Francesinha. Not your average Francesinha though. Pombeiro’s version has a twist: Instead of the typical white bread, the contents of the Francesinha are involved in puffy pastry. It may be controversial, but this version might convert even the most unyielding, traditionalist ‘tripeiro’ (an informal designation of Porto’s inhabitants).
‘We’ were off to a good start, and then came the dessert: The most luscious chocolate mousse I’ve ever had. It’s a rich, dense mousse, served in a chocolate covered waffle, with Chantilly and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Just: wow!
In later encounters, I’ve taken the more traditional route, choosing from the main dishes. There’s plenty of fish and meat options and they never seem to disappoint. Try Bacalhau à Pombeiro or Tripas à Moda do Porto (or both, if you think you can handle it) for a genuine taste of Portugal. The hardest part? Making a choice. Good luck with that!