Porto - O Paparico

28 March 2012

O Paparico is the number one beloved restaurant at Trip Advisor for Porto. It's worth for a visit to enjoy the exquisite food.  Here is the motto of the restaurant -'Food is both science and art, and the man who puts all his heart into satisfying his fellow men deserves consideration'.

It's a Wednesday night. After reading the prices at BOOK, I proposed to try the highly recommended restaurant, Opaparico or Oh Rich Dad. We called quickly to reserve a table. With luck we could get a taxi right away to get to it, located in a residential district, about a €6 ride from the downtown.

We did not see the name but approached a nearby bar. We were escorted to the restaurant a few doors apart. The door opened upon a few knocks. The owner, Sergio, came and greeted us.

Two to three appetizers were sitting on the table. We could take them or order different dishes. Calamari was out. Veal terrine remained. It was velvet with wonderful flavours. We ordered codfish and scallop. Both were excellent! Vinho Verde, forgot the vineyard, was a perfect match.
For main, we opt for veal cooked with wild mushroom. Taste was superb and texture was perfect. Kind of mushroom can be found in China, my idea, but extraordinarily matching the veal. We were offered choices of red wine to pair up.  The potato chips were terrific, thin with light passing through and not greasy at all.


We picked rice pudding with cinnamon ice cream to end the dinner but offered two extra desserts. Only satisfactions and happiness. it's certainly one of the best meals in my working life, not second to but better than Table Number One in Shanghai, run by Jason Atherton.  I believe every guest can sense Sergio's (the owner) passion about gastronomy.  It is a wonderful experience dinning here.  Hope there will be another chance to visit again.  It's so far from Hong Kong........

Arouquesa- veal terrine with port wine

Codfish crevice with parsley, onion and olive oil
Grilled scallop with coral butter and chorizo vinaigrette

Veal with wild mushroom and Oporto wine sauce, new potatoes and savage rice dose for two persons

Rice puddings with cinnamon ice cream + 2 complimentary desserts
Cheese ice cream with bay leave, rosemary and honey + Pearl in coffee cream and chocolate

Rue de Costa Cabral 2343, Porto
Tel: 225 400 548


Porto, Part 3

1 April 2012

Wanna see another form of beauty after reading Part 1 and 2? Let's go to the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. If you go on Sundays between 9am and 1pm, you can save 9 Euro entrance fee for visiting the museum and the garden. At time of visit was the exhibition of Raymond Roussel. It features 300 pieces of collection which recreated his universe and inspired some of his surrealism movements.

Its restaurant serves buffet lunch at a reasonable price. It was quite crowded. We were there after 2pm, too late to enjoy the buffet which would be ended at 3 pm. Some tables in the terrace overlooking the museum garden, a great pleasure to dine in the nature.

The best part is the beautiful and tranquil garden. Families, couples, students with teachers, friends dotted the garden but not crowded. I like the mini farm with animals feeding themselves lazily on the green lawn. Feel like in the nature and not in a city. No one will overlook the striking red sculpture by Claes Oldenburg, who also inserted his needle and thread dominating Piazza Cardorna of Milan.

The icon of Crystal Palace Gardens is a huge domed pavilion which is used for concerts and sport events. It is a landscaped gardens, surrounded by a lake and dotted with roaming peacocks. A bonus is it overlooks River Douro and you have stunning views of Porto. The Garden is located a bit up the hill but still within the city centre, with walkable distance.

Out the park, going back to the main streets scatters with historic buildings.  First one comes into sight may be Soares dos Reis Museum.  It showcases art from dissolved monasteries and convents.  Collections include paintings, glass, ceramics and jewelry.

Going forward will come the hospital with a dark wall. Restoration needed! Still further on the right is one building of Porto University.

Soon the renowned book store Livraria Lello will appear.  The exterior is Gothic white wall with elegant paintings.  We were there on Sunday.  It was closed, unfortunately.  The interior is intricately decorated and admired by an amazing staircase leading to the heaven.

Continue to stroll along the street, up and down, to view the undulating city. 

For more information, also read Part 1 and 2.


Porto, Part 2

28 March 2012
Porto Cathedral is dated to 12th century but underwent subsequent changes.  It is one of the oldest architecture and most important Romanesque momements in Portugal.  Insides are tile panels, cloister, sacrophagi, treasury and sculptures.  Outside is an open square with a high column.  Guarding the catherdal is a hero on a horse, like declaring victory.

If I need to define a distinct characteristic of Portugal churches, it's definitely the tile panels.  Well, tile panels are not limited to churches but as a common decoration for architecture.  The most famous in Porto, perhaps, is at São Bento Station.  The rest are the façades of Carmo and Capela das Almas churches.

One of the recommended sightseeing points is having a drink at Cafe Majestic.  It has been in place since the twenties (1920s).  It is one of the luxury and decorated cafe with chandeliers and mirrors.  In the old days, visitors were from the high society.  Nowadays it serves locals and tourists.  Price level is not at the high end.  Our light lunch of two fresh orange juice and one burger cost 15 Euro.  Good deal. 

On my way to the restroom, an elderly woman sitting alone with a glass of white wine, initiated a conversation (in perfect English) with me.  She hoped that I enjoyed staying in Porto.  This formed a very good impression:  Portuguese are very nice and friendly.  They love their countries and to hear if tourists have a good impression of it.  It is frequently validated during my trip.  One observation in the cafe: it is not uncommon that elderly people sitting alone in the cafe, having wine or a coffee, watching people.  I wonder about the story in the life.

We've got a catalogue of music programme hosted in Casa da Música and decided to go for one.  World class musicians always have performance here.  The price is very reasonable.  We paid 34 Euro for each ticket, a programme for orchestra and a meal at its renowned restaurant.  Half of the price is attributed to the meal.  If you wish to have a ticket only, you can visit fnac at C and A Department Store at the centre.

It so happened  that there was a drink and dinner party for the founders.  We had to wait for more than half an hour before we could take a seat.  We stood at the stuffy corridor.  A pretentious restaurant manager came some time to say, 10 minutes, 10 minutes which turned out to be 40 minutes.  The menu came with a good price but I cannot match the quality and service to the reputation.  The food was OK but not great. Perhaps, a la carte is better.

Casa da Musica was built as part of the project of European Culture Capital in 2001.  It was completed in 2005 and since then became an icon of Porto.  See the unusual configuration.  The design won appreciation for the Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas.

Casa da Musica is a beloved place for young people during the day.  Youngsters gather around the building for chatting, playing, roller coaster, bicycle practice and performance, etc. 

Though a bit dusty it's definitely a pleasure to walk along the river Douro.  You will pass by the Tram Museum.  Trams are still running around the city.  Enjoy a glimpse of inhabitants' houses.


For more about Port, read Part 1 or Part 3.