“O Buraco” meaning “The Hole” is a landmark restaurant in Porto. Their authentic cuisine coupled with the northern hospitality, have guaranteed them steady business for the last 40 years as well as a large local clientele. They are so popular that they give themselves the luxury of closing every Saturday for dinner and for the whole month of August.
It is a good idea to book on weekends for dinner, but during the week it is ok if you just show up. Lunch is from 12:00-15:00 and dinner is from 19:00-22:00, it is best to go as early as you can, because due to the place´s popularity among the local community the best dishes tend to run out towards the end of the day.
Normally there are always 5-6 meat and fish options to choose from, but not everything that is available is on the menu. So ask the waiter if there are any dishes that are not listed that day. The owners are normally present and also serve the tables, giving this restaurant a personal feel when it comes to service. The food also feels like it is made just for you. I am proud to say that I could eat here every day and not feel like I am eating out, as the food here is made by Portuguese mothers in the most traditional way possible and served by Portuguese fathers in a way which makes you laugh like you are at home.
Once you order your meal the owner transmits your request to the kitchen through an intercom close to the bar, making the interaction with the kitchen staff sometimes comedic, when misunderstandings occur.
Getting down to what is important: the food. You will normally start off with a plate of “presunto”, Portuguese Parma ham or “Rissóis de pescada”, Portuguese fish empanadas, the house speciality in terms of entrées. This is one of those types of places where you don’t have a favourite dish because all of what they make is exceptionally good, and since I love everything they serve here all of their dishes are my favourite. The classics here include “rojoes”, pork chunks served with tripe, boiled blood, roasted potatoes and pickles, sounds disgusting I know but it is not for any reason that this mixture of flavours is a northern favourite. “Arroz de Pato”, duck rice which is covered in “presunto” and cheese before it is finally baked in the oven. “Tripas a Moda do Porto” a bean stew with tripe, the staple dish of Porto which gives us locals our regional name “Tripeiro”, tripe eaters. “Empadão de Vitela” a Portuguese version of Shepard’s pie made with veal. “Vitela Assada” Roasted veal which is served with roasted potatoes and rice, the classic double carbs that Portuguese people cannot live without. “Figado a Cebolada” fried cow liver served with slightly caramelised onions. “Arozz de frango” chicken rice, which is made fresh when you order it. Last but not least they always have 4-5 types of fresh fish which are either fried or grilled, my personal favourite being the fried baby sardines that can be eaten whole like chips.
These main dishes vary from 5-7 euros per plate and if you are not too hungry, you can share one portion between two people. I am greedy so I never share.
In terms of home-made desserts you can find “pudim” French flan and “rabanada” a Portuguese version of French toast, the difference being that the bread is a specific kind of local bread and the sauce has a distinct taste of cinnamon, typically served at Christmas time, but here it is served all year round… hmm deliciously caloric. There are other options that vary on a daily basis but most of them are not made in-house. Desserts normally cost around 2.20 euros.
To drink, the house Red and white are affordable and of standard quality for Portugal, they cost around 4 euros for a small jug. If you feel like something more fancy and wish to make your meal that tiny bit more special, you have a large selection of bottled wines, ask the waiter if you are undecided he will be glad to help. Normally the bill will get to 10-15 euros per person depending on what you order.
Don’t be afraid to order what you like in “Buraco” if you make any mistakes with your choices the waiter will let you know what you are doing wrong immediately and tell you what you should eat and drink, this is one of the things I love about this place, when I eat here I normally let the owner order for me which quickly has gotten me into his good graces. Happy Ordering!
Address: Rua do Bolhao, 95
Opening Hours: Sunday – Saturday: 12:00-15:00; Sunday – Friday: 19:30-22:00;
Links: O Boraco