We all dream of travelling right now and even more, of fun food and dishes that we can’t get in our hometowns. One destination you should visit once you can is Braga in Portugal. This city was considered the Best European Destination in 2021. Braga is close to Porto and located in a lovely region called Minho, known for its fabulous green wines and hearty, comforting dishes.
What dishes should you eat in Braga?
Fish. Fish and especially cod is big in Portugal. The cod is usually dried and then prepared in one of many ways. One of them is ‘Bacalhau à Braga’, fried cod with onions, peppers and tomato, served with crispy potatoes. Another is ‘Bacalhau à Narcisa’, spiced with cloves, bay leaves and garnished with a dense cornbread.
Try ‘Caldo Verde’, a creamy, light green soup made from the traditional Portuguese kale. It also includes potatoes, pieces of sausage, and garlic. A truly comforting dish, not to miss. ‘Frigideiras’ is another specialty from Braga. It’s a pastry with several buttery and crunchy layers, similar to a puff pastry, filled with meat. The meat can be spiced with garlic, onions and sometimes the savoury pastry contains some Bechamel sauce, too.
If you feel like trying a rice dish, there is ‘Pica no chão’, a creamy risotto-like dish. Rice is cooked together with preferably home-raised and corn fed chicken and any other vegetables that can be found during the season. The better the chicken broth, the better the dish!
Other dishes to try are ‘Papas Sarrabulho’, potatoes cooked with different meats, pork blood, cumin and lemon and are served as a soup or a side dish. ‘Rojões à Minhota’ are fried pieces of pork that have been previously marinated in white wine and garlic. ‘Cabrito Assado à Moda de Braga’ is an oven roasted goat, accompanied by rice and potatoes. It’s a very festive dish, often found during Easter celebrations.
Fancy some sweet stuff? ‘Pudim Abade de Priscos’ can be found in any traditional restaurant as dessert. It’s a custard pudding, rich and sweet, made from a lot of egg yolks. It’s slightly firmer on the outside and often soft in the middle, having a little jiggle when giving it a small push. Try also ‘Tibias’ (there is a pastry shop only dedicated to them, it’s called Tibias de Braga), a pastry made from choux dough, filled with cream, sometimes with fruit, and dusted with powdered sugar. Finally, ‘Francezinha’ is not only famous in Porto. There are great Francezinha places in Braga as well, such as Taberna Belga.
Ah, and don’t forget to have some glasses of Vinho Verde, which is from the Minho region.
Which restaurants to try in Braga?
1. Tabique Restaurant
Tabique is a young restaurant on the more modern side, with a laid back and cosy interior. Dishes have a modern twist, but are based on traditional dishes and Portuguese ingredients. On the menu you’ll find interesting compositions like stuffed partridge on a puree of chestnuts and grapes or mussels with a spicy tomato sauce and almond piccata.
Another amazing restaurant, featuring many local, traditional dishes, presented in an exclusive and beautiful way. Fried cod fillet, local soups, rich meat and potato dishes or seafood – everyone can find something they like, here. Comfortable, wide armchairs, tables covered in white table cloths, along with rustic walls and cosy lightning will ensure a memorable dinner experience.
Centurium is a more chic, classic restaurant that has plenty of traditional dishes for you to choose from. From meat, to fish and seafood, the offer is large and everything here looks tasty. Located just next to the historical center it’s perfect for lunch or dinner after visiting Braga.
It might be strange seeing a Japanese restaurant on this list, but this spot apparently is one of the best Japanese places in the North of Portugal. Michizaki is impressive with it’s great quality produce, aesthetic plating and interesting dishes – A restaurant to try when pausing from Portuguese food for one evening. The menu goes far beyond ‘just’ sushi.
A genuine, traditional restaurant with non-pretentious dishes. Retrokitchen’s menu changes very frequently, with different meat and vegetable dishes as well as very tasty looking desserts. The interior is simple with vintage vibes. Wooden tables and chairs, old and more modern decoration and an outdoor space that looks very inviting.
6. Casa de Pasto das Carvalheiras
All dishes at Casa de Pasto das Carvalheiras are very flavourful, tastefully plated and well thought through. Fried octopus on big white beans, seared tuna with pepper, coriander and peanuts, or beef wellington, all are dishes you can find here. The overall menu is a mix of Portuguese and Mediterranean influences with a modern twist.
7. Bem me quer
If you want to taste the regional cuisine of Minho in a rustic and cozy atmosphere and with a family service, the Bem-Me-Quer Restaurant is the ideal place. This restaurant is located in the building of the former Casa de Pastos Bem-Me-Quer pension, in Campo das Hortas, next to the Arco da Porta Nova.
8. Restaurante Inácio
Renovated last June 19 while maintaining its gastronomic “backbone”, Inácio restaurant reopened with the signature of chef Paula Peliteiro. It serves regional food, with a refined and contemporary touch.
9. Dona Julia
Dona Júlia is located next to one of the most famous curves of the old Falperra circuit. In this restaurant you can find four different spaces: the Red, Blue, Green room and one magnificent terrace. The differentiated rooms emerged in order to maintain the original structure of the building, resulting in four spaces that perfectly combine modern and rustic design.
10. Dona Elvira
Located in Adaúfe parish, in Braga, right next to Cávado river, Dona Elvira offers everything that the public looks for in a restaurant: good food, a great customer service and a nice space where elegance and simplicity reign.