“Adega Sao Martinho” Saint Martin’s Cellar is a quaint “Tasca” (old school Portuguese bar) that has been open for the last 44 years, always with the same proprietors. The owner Maria Teresa runs a one women show and takes care of everything that is needed to be done, from cooking to serving the food and drinks.
Dona Teresa as she is known is the heart of this place and her interaction with her customers is interesting to witness. There are various regular customers that often set up a running bill within the bar, and it’s funny how Dona Teresa settles those bills; with a pencil on the marble counter she calculates how much customers owe by hand, the old school way. As you walk in on the left there are 20 wooden post boxes, these are actually piggy banks where 20 regulars can store their money. These boxes are opened twice a year, One week before “Sao Joao” Porto’s Saint Day celebration and Christmas. They open the boxes all together, settle any bills they have and take advantage of the extra money they have managed to save over those particular months. This tradition is common in older Portuguese bars.
This is an interesting place to go to have a drink, talk to the locals/regulars and have a 70 year old grandmother cooking for you. As she says “I am 70, no one has given them to me and no one can take them away”. As well as her humour Dona Teresa continues to cook good homemade food, she says that there are no specialities, she just cooks whatever she feels like and whatever is in season. She mentioned that she normally cooks the following dishes on a more regular basis: “moelas” chicken gizzards, “bolinhos de bacalhau” small cod-fish cakes, “polvo” octopus, “pataniscas de bacalhau”, battered codfish fish cakes, different from the ones mentioned earlier and “chispe” pig foot/shin. To drink you have the standard options, red and white wine, young or matured, as well as beer.
“Adega Sao Martinho” is one of those places you cannot replicate, copy or replace. The family atmosphere you experience there is unmatchable and a strong community feel resonates from the moment you step in. Since Dona Teresa’s husband has passed, she has been running this place by herself and her clients are her family, she says, with one difference, once its 20:00 everyone has to leave. In general a Porto social experiment that is worth participating in.
Address: Rua D. João IV 795 Porto 4000-304 PORTO
Tel.: 225 370 632
Opening times: Mon-Sun 09:00-20:00