Restaurant Review: Porto, Portugal

O Gaveto


As a gentle breeze carries mouthwatering aromas of salt and sardines grilling over hot coals, a pescador (fisherman) sits on a wooden box mending and patching green mesh to the sound of the sea. A long line of assadores (grill masters)—often the restaurant owners—stand terrace-side gripping worn tongs to flip giant prawns, fresh squid and sweet sea bass. Welcome to the seaside town of Matosinhos, where hungry Portuguese have come for their fish fill for decades, more frequently than not to O Gaveto. Manuel Pinheiro’s family has run this shrine to local seafood for more than 30 years and thanks to the professionalism of their wine service—they have a range of wine glasses and decanters on hand—they’ve made it a second home to top winemakers from across the region. Choose your catch from the numerous tanks swimming with lobster, crab or lamprey, or revel in the mounds of locally caught gooseneck barnacles, mussels and sweet orange shrimp. Be sure to order the sapateira recheada, stone crab stuffed with a creamy purée of cornbread, pickled cauliflower, onions, egg, beer and Port wine. To drink, order one of the many sparklers on the wine list, such as the Soalheiro Rosé Espumante, or a rich white from the Dão like Druida, or ask co-owner João Silva for an off-the-beaten-path recommendation. If you have time, hike up the street to Garage Wines, a retail shop where you can schedule a VIP tasting with Ivone Ribeiro.


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