Ah yes, Sunday in Porto. Joao had told us when he gave us a short orientation to the apartment; many local restaurants are closed, of course tourist restaurants are open, but you don't want to eat in those, right?
Getting out early on Sunday, it was pretty obvious that things were going to be very quiet.....
The only place that seemed alive and kickin' at this hour was the corner coffee shop and bakery.......you still needed your morning "cafe express" even on Sunday! Strangely, after having their morning caffeine boost and pastry, there's no dallying around, folks just seemed to walk out of the shop and disappear, like a scene from Dr Who.......
We headed up the street.....empty except for just a few folks....stragglers it seemed...waiting to fall victim to the Sunday Zombie Apocalypse...
We headed off to the Minipreco Supermarket next to the Mercado do Bolhao.....which we knew was open, to grab a few items for dinner. Our cab was set to pick us up at 5am in the morning for our flight to Rome, so we decided to just have something light for dinner.
After a nice walk back to the apartment, dropping things off, we headed back up.....
Joao told us that on special Sundays, he takes his family to Matosinhos, a town located to the west of Porto....this is where the docks are....and where we were told, the fish come in and where locals go to eat it. So we headed off on the Metro, getting off at the Matosihnos Sul stop and finding ourselves in Matosihnos.....
We headed down a bit, turning on Rua Herois de Franca and after a couple of blocks things started perking up a bit. We hit a restaurant row. Each restaurant had what looked like makeshift dining areas set-up in front, which seemed to be built on wooden pallets.
You could tell that there was a bit of partying going on here on Saturday night....
There were restaurants all lined up in a row, simple looking tascas next to some pretty nice white tablecloth looking places. Most of them had a grill being primed in from of the shop.....
But which one to choose? Well Joao had told us to "walk past all the restaurants on the street, don't worry, do not get discouraged.....do not stop until you come to Tito 2." And so we did that, even passing Tito 1 on the way.
So this was the place, huh? It looked just like every other place on the street....but heck, Joao hadn't let us down yet!
We looked over and a very nice young man smiled, greeted and seated us, then proceeded to call another studious looking young man...who spoke perfect English....
You know, the pallet seating looked pretty nice, don't you think?
While we waited for our menus to arrive, I peeked around the corner where the grill action was just starting up.
The menu arrived....it was sardine season, so that was a no-brainer....I then saw something that was on my food "bucket list"....something that I just had to try.....I just knew this was going to be a great meal.
Meanwhile, the Missus had snuck off to use the restroom, coming back to tell me to check out the interior of the brick and mortar restaurant....which looked pretty nice.
Just next to the doorway were the "fresh catches"...fish you could select for your meal if you so desired.
Soon our appetizer arrived, something that I'd been waiting to eat for several years....I never thought I'd be getting it in Portugal......
These were percebes, goose barnacles, you know, the stuff you scrape off the hull of boats. Yes, they may be pests to some; but to the Spanish and the Portuguese these are delicacies...rather expensive delicacies. Our Server kindly suggested .2 kilos as being enough.
So the deal is you twist off the head of this, squirting water on yourself is mandatory......you then eat the flesh.
The flavor is intensely briney, like taking in a chewy piece of the ocean...I really liked the texture. It was a bit too briney for the Missus, but I loved the intense flavor.
The Missus wanted to give Sopa de Peixe, fish soup another try......this was really thick and a bit too fishy for our taste...like fishy glue. Not our thing.
The sardines on the other hand were fantastic.
So simply done, no messing around with a fresh product....rubbed in salt, a bit of acid, so nice. The finish was that rich oil that coats your tongue, but also very clean, without that lingering and somewhat off-putting bitter fishiness that often accompanies sardines. This was one of our favorite dishes during our trip.
The potatoes were very nice....so much flavor, so simply done; olive oil, salt, garlic, parsley....
The salad broke things up nicely....also simple.
I also ordered the Lulas Grelhadas - grilled squid with lemon and olive oil.
What was really strange was that two parties came in after us; both spoke Portuguese...both looked at what we were eating and ended up ordering exactly the same thing (we'd already finished the percebes...), which I thought was kind of strange.
The price was amazing, all this, plus a carafe of wine and water for 36 Euros!
The service was very nice, the food very good.....if we're ever in Porto again, we're headed back to Tito 2.
Rua Herois de Franca 321
We stopped for some espresso before going to the metro stop. At the stop a metro police officer headed up to us. In some countries this is not a good sign...not here. He stopped to ask if we needed some help, but we already had our tickets. He smiled and look at us and asked, "how is you time here? Are you enjoying it....having any problems?" What could we say? We loved our time here....
We had a nice night's sleep. We woke at 4am, got our act together, and our ride to airport was prompt. The way to the airport was interesting as we got to see what a sprawling city Porto was.......a city we were going to miss.
Thanks for reading!