|Chestnut cream soup with pork “secretos” and pineapple|
On our second evening in Porto we had a lovely dinner at DOP Restaurant. Situated in a historic building in the very World Heritage Area of Porto, this restaurant features great author cuisine.
Opened in 2010, DOP is the brain child of chef Rui Paula, born in Porto and inspired by the dished his maternal grandmother used to cook in the Douro Region. I wonder why the granny's dishes are always the best in the world?
|Chef Rui Paula|
The moment we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by friendly staff. They took our coats, they showed us to our table and from there on we were spoiled like royalties. We've never been to a restaurant with more attentive, prompt, and considerate service. They explained us each dish as it was served with a smile on the face (everybody spoke perfect English, by the way), and they truly elevated the act of food serving to a state of art. DOP Restaurant really stands out from the crowd when it comes to this and dinning here was a unique experience.
|DOP Restaurant's cellar, with hundreds of wines from the Douro Region and beyound|
The food? The food was beyond delicious, blending traditional recipes from the region with a modern twist and lots of creativity. The menu included 7 courses and 3 different types of wine out of the hundreds they have in their cellar, all served with the utmost attention and friendliness in the most perfect of the displays. There was nothing random about the menu. Everything looked like a piece of art.
Between the highlights of the dinner was the 'chestnut cream soup with pork “secretos” and pineapple' - the most divine soup we've ever tasted. Up till now I always thought my mother's chicken soup was the best soup in the world. Well, not anymore. Sorry, mom!
However, the most surprising of all the wonderful dishes we tasted at DOP was... the explosion. It is very difficult for me to put into words the sensations it awoke in my mouth this little raspberry flavored ball. We had it just before the dessert, to clean the palate, and the moment I sank my teeth in it, it exploded, releasing a syrup with tiny crispy crumbs that still made noises in my mouth one minute later. We didn't even know something like this existed.
|DOP Restaurant, Porto|
The atmosphere was wonderful too. Soft, romantic music, orchids on each table, impeccable design. The chef, Rui Paula, passed by each table twice during our dinner to say a few words and check if all guests were happy. Everything was perfect, I can tell you.
DOP will stay etched in our memory as a special restaurant worth going back to. And apparently so it does for other people too. At the table just next to us were two gentleman, one from Brazil and the other one from the US and we started chatting just as they also had the 'explosion', because you see, this is one marvelous experience you want to talk about. They confessed it was their second time in Porto and also their second time at chef Rui Paula's DOP Restaurant. They loved it so much the first time that they had to come back. We also got the same reaction when we inquired about the restaurant at the reception of Hotel Infante Sagres where we were staying - "it's a very nice restaurant. I'm sure you will have a great time" the lady behind the desk said. And so we did!