Oratorio de Capela de Sao Sabastiao – Porto, Portugal

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Oratorio da Capela de Sao Sebastiao

The Oratorio da Capela de Sao Sebastiao (Chapel of the Lord of the Steps) is located close to the Sao Bento train station.

The church sits at the top of a hill, and like many of the sights in Porto has great views of the city and Douro River.

Being so close to the city center, this is a must visit for any tourist. Even locals come her to appreciate the view.

 

Graham’s Port Wine Tour – Porto, Portugal

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Graham’s

I had read online about the great job that the Concierge desk does at the Intercontinental Porto, and could arrange a tour at Graham’s, which is famous for their port.

After speaking with the concierge, they made a call to Graham’s to see if they could accommodate us, and was told that they could.

After making the trek to Graham’s, which has a great view of the Douro River and the city, we entered through the main entrance. The receptionist had noted that the Intercontinental had called, and had our names on file.

We arrived a little bit late, and was told to have a seat in the lobby and someone would come and get us. After several minutes, a group of people exited from a room, which apparently is a movie on the history of Graham’s.

We were then taken on a tour of the winery. The tour took 30-40 minutes, and finished up in the cellar, where they have a vertical collection of their ports.

Then it was on to the tasting room, where numerous awards are proudly displayed, as well as bottles of wine. This includes a special edition port specially made for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.

While the other people on the tour did their wine tasting at tables, we were seated in a separate area with gorgeous views of the Douro River. This apparently the arrangement the Intercontinental has with Graham’s.

We were also provided a complimentary tasting, that was not part of their normal tasting menu. We were given tastings of the Graham’s Six Grapes port, along with the 10 and 20 year-old tawny ports. It was their Premium Tawny Tasting (€15) except the “Graham’s The Tawny” was replaced with the Graham’s Six Grapes port.

I would have done the tour of Graham’s on my own, but having the Intercontinental provide this as an undisclosed benefit of staying at the Intercontinental made the tour even more special.

Ze Bota – Porto, Portugal

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Ze Bota

Ze Bota is a tapas restaurant that is highly regarded by locals and tourists. The restaurant is on the smaller side with a main dining room, and a smaller one that is located down a few steps.

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Dining Room

 

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Wine Crate Walls
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Wine Crate Walls

The restaurant is decorated with wine crate boards throughout with pictures and inscriptions from guests.

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Garlic Bread

The Garlic Bread (€2.50) was nice and crunchy on the outside, and buttery on the inside. It could have used some more garlic to give it a real punch of flavor however.

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Beef Medallions with Garlic

The Beef Medallions with Garlic (€11) were tender and flavorful. The beef was also topped with garlic, and came with house made potato chips, and a small side salad.

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Sea Bass

The Sea Bass (€11) was a whole fish seasoned with lemon and butter. It could have used some salt though. The fish was tender and moist, with a subtle flavor. The dish also came with small roasted potatoes, and a small salad.

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Beef Medallions with Mustard Sauce

The Beef Medallions with Mustard Sauce (€11) were nicely cooked and tender. The beef had good flavor, and the sauce added a depth of flavor. The sauce was made with mustard, cognac and butter. Although usually made with heavy cream, I did not taste any but the sauce was very flavorful. Once again, the dish came with potato chips and a small salad.

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‘Leit Creme

The ‘Leit Crème (€2.75) is the Portuguese version of crème brulee. It had a nice, crunchy sugar topping that wasn’t too burnt. The custard was smooth and somewhat runny, the way I prefer. Custards that are very firm tend to have more of an “eggy” taste, which I don’t prefer in desserts.

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Chocolate Mousse

The Chocolate Mousse (€3) isn’t pretty sight, and kind of looks like a turd in a bowl, but had a deep, rich chocolate flavor. The mousse was a little too sweet with too much gelatin. Although it looked light and fluffy, it was on the stiffer side. A little less sugar would have been a nice way to end the meal.

The food here is top notch, and the prices are very reasonable. The restaurant tends to get packed, so expect a long wait unless you get there soon after they open. Service was also good, but not rushed.

Douro River Cruise – Porto, Portugal

No trip to Porto is complete without doing a cruise along the Douro River. There are several choices of cruises, ranging from the 6 bridges cruise which lasts about an hour, up to ones that are full day excursions which require a train ride back to the city.

We felt that the 6 bridges cruise would more than suffice. After speaking with the concierge at the hotel, he informed us that for the most part doing anything longer than the 6 bridges cruise was not really worth the time. The next shortest cruise is about 6 hours long, unless you did a private river tour in which you could choose the length of the cruise you desire.

The 6 bridges tour heads towards the Atlantic Ocean, but once you get to the point where the river begins to widen.

Views of the city and port wineries are abundant from the cruise and is well worth your time.

Sao Bento Train Station – Porto, Portugal

The Sao Bento train station in Porto began operating in 1916. It is something that one should take the time to look at. The tile work in the entryway is absolutely stunning. The entire room is done in the classic blue and white tile. The tiles depict the history of Portugal. It is situated in the city center and is easily accessible.

The site of the train station was initially the spot of a Benedictine monastery in the 1500’s, but was burned to the ground by a fire. It was subsequently rebuilt, but was not maintained. It was then rebuilt into the train station that still operates to this day.

If taking a train to or from Lisbon, the Sao Bento train station is where you will either start or end your journey.