Unapologetically Portuguese: Cafe Porto in Liverpool

While on an impromptu road trip to Liverpool hubby and I came across this quirky little place on Rodney Street. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before we spent a random week in Lisbon earlier this year in order to eat until we couldn’t move and consume our bodyweight in tasty Portuguese wine, so we thought we’d check it out. Spoiler alert: we absolutely loved it.

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

Café Porto is unapologetically Portuguese, down to the mismatched paintwork on the walls and wooden tables and chairs which are so beyond vintage they’re old as heavens. And there’s a twist: The whole place feels like you’re sitting in someone’s house! The café/bistro is plonked into what clearly used to be a home, the seating is in what I presume was the living room and the kitchen is on the other side with a mere divider between the spaces.

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

The walls have the specials and the menu has the tapas style small plates. Some of the tapas you can make into mains if you like for a very reasonable price. But because we’re greedy, we wanted tons and tons of tapas. And I really mean loads. We started with a smoked meatboard and warm bread, followed by garlic bread, grilled sardines, salty cod fishcakes, marinated chicken and roast veggies and patatas bravas. By the end of all this food we were stuffed like you wouldn’t believe.

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

The food comes in drips and drabs, basically when it’s ready in the kitchen they’ll send it out. The staff are incredibly relaxed and it kind of makes you relax too. Their wine is amazing so hubby and I just supped the tipple while watching the world go by through the windows. It’s a very unhurried experience and to be honest, very Portuguese by its very nature. I shouldn’t think dining here is a great experience if you’re in a hurry, but for a leisurely dinner with friends (don’t bring too many, it’s not that big of a place) it’s perfect.

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

The food follows this relaxed attitude towards dining; it’s almost adorable in its slapdash presentation and mismatch crockery. But the taste, let me tell you, is amazing. These dishes pack some serious punch in taste. Especially the sardines: they are to die for! Crisp and savoury on the outside and juicy and sweet on the inside. Oh my days. It was marvellous.

The only dish we weren’t mad crazy about was the patatas bravas, as we thought the tomato sauce could have done with extra seasoning but the taters themselves were nom, fluffy and crispy at the same time.

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

Did I mention the wine? Because it needs another mention even if I did. For less than £4 a medium glass and a mere £16 a bottle (or £3.50 corkage if you want to bring your own) it’s an absolute steal and went down dangerously well.

We were so stuffed once we saw the back end of the tapas we simply couldn’t face a pudding, but as we got the bill the man who’d been breaking his poor back hauling all our tapas over popped some sticky sweet chocolate on the table anyway. Heaven.

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I think to really appreciate this place you need to understand the concept. It’s small, it’s quaint, it’s like dining in someone’s living room rather than a restaurant and the food is deliriously awesome without any poncey presentation. The food comes when it’s ready and can’t (nor should it) be rushed. I remember this from our visit to Lisbon: food is adored and scoffing it seems like a cardinal sin. If you’re in a rush you go hungry until you have time to sit down and really appreciate your dinner. That’s probably why dinners take hours upon hours in the Mediterranean. And why shouldn’t it!

Cafe Porto, Liverpool

We’ll definitely be back here. Maybe next week already!

Have you visited Cafe Porto? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

3 Comments

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  • stephanie mcalea August 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Sounds lovely!

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