The North bank of Porto is in the shade during the evening so my tip is to walk over the Ponta Luis I iron bridge and explore the South bank of the "new town". I found a restaurant high up on the cliff face that is in the best position to see the sunset over Porto.
Porto's cafe Miraporto is a good place to eat and drink with great views.
Use your Portocard to obtain a slight reduction on the price of a single one way Cable Car ticket. Yes it is expensive but it is worthwhile. The ride is fun and you get great views over the top of the Port Wine warehouses. You will not need a return ticket as after you have had your meal there is a downhill walk straight down to the bridge.
The Cable Car top station is right next to the Metro railway station called Jardin Do Morro. If you do not want to arrive by cable car you can always take the Metro. As you get out of the station walk along the edge of the Garden Do Morro along the road called Rua Rocha Leao. The Garden is a small patch of green surrounding a little hillock covered in trees to give shade.
Keep walking on the road away from the Cable Car Station until you find a set of steps on your right going downhill. Walk down them and turn left at the bottom, still going downhill. This road is called Rua Pilar. About 100 yards along this road you will suddenly come across a wide set of steps going downhill, on your right. These are called the Escadas Pedrosa. At the bottom turn left and this time walk up hill for 100 yards.
This is the view from the cafe Miraporto over the port warehouses down ot the River Douro.
You will see on your right the cafe restaurant called Miraporto perched on a man made out crop. It has a glass balcony around the outside. It overlooks all the red tiled rooves of the houses and Port Wine warehouses below as well as the River frontage, bridges and main city. This is what makes this place special.
Cafe Miraporto is not a five star posh restaurant. It is a cafe bar that serves food for the locals. Not many tourists find it, which is a real shame because the views are wonderful. Try a few of the local drinks. Order a half bottle of Vino Verde, the young slightly fizzy white wine that is produced just north of Porto. They do not sell wine by the glass.
The cafe Miraporto is built on the side of cliff and has great views of the city of Porto.
Try out some of the different Portuguese beers. Try a dark beer. Ask for a Stout. As the sun starts to set order some food. They have unusual starters. Try Cod pancakes or Suckling pig pancakes. They are a bit like the packet pancakes you cooked back in the 1980s but with a lot more flavour.
The Francesina local speciality
For your main meal order the classic local speciality, the Francesina. Order one between two. This is huge. It is slightly more expensive than the tourist restaurants that populate the river front long the Cais da Ribera but this is the real thing cooked for the locals not tourist.
It is a meal of layers. A steak is placed on bread. Cheese is put on top of the steak followed by layer of ham. More cheese is added before another slice of ham is put on top. That is then coated in more cheese, another slice of ham followed by more cheese and then a slice of bread. It is heated. A fried egg is put on the top and the whole thing is covered in a rich savory tomato sauce. It is eaten with a plate of French fries.
The Francesina is made from layers of meat and cheese and coated in a savory sauce
There is a version on the menu that does not have the egg on top but what the hell have the egg. Ask for two plates so you can share this calorific monster dish. Make sure you order some more beer to wash it all down with. You are sharing a Porto speciality in a cafe frequented by locals whilst enjoying one of the best views in the city. That is how you spend your first evening in Porto. Not sitting with a bunch of tourists in the crowded river front restaurants. You can do that on your second evening.
The Francesina originated in the 1960's. Daniel da Silva, a Franco-Belgium chef tried to adapt the French classic dish the Croque-monsieur to Portuguese tastes. The secret is in the savory sauce. Each restaurant has their own version.
When you have finished your meal and the sun has set, turn left outside the cafe and walk downhill along the cliff edge road called Rua General Torres. It goes all the way down to the Iron Bridge where you can either catch a taxi or walk back to your hotel.
Walk down the hill from the Cafe Miraporto and you come to the Luis I bridge.