Food: A few days earlier, in my attempt to seek out fresh and tasty seafood, which Porto is well know for, I ended up in a cramped, overpriced tourist trap called Taberna dos Mercadores, where the clams were as tiny as boogers, and very forgettable.
Unsatisfied with this lacklustre seafood encounter, I caught sight of a humble looking establishment just off Aliado Boulevard called Lagostim, which had a picture menu outside that showed photos of traditional, fuss-free seafood (and meat) dishes that looked good to me, so I made it a point to return. I was not disappointed, as the food was even better than I had hoped it might be. Everything on the menu is very simple, no fancy plating, just really fresh ingredients cooked with Portuguese soul. Seafood items include octopus with green sauce, grilled prawns, Bolhao Pato clams, grilled sardines with peppers, fried hake fillet, fresh grilled codfish, and meats include roast pork or lamb, veal, and beef or turkey steaks. Your choice of protein is served with a side of vegetables and potatoes.
Must try: Their grilled prawns – an item listed in the “starter” section of the menu – was so generously portioned, that it could easily work as a satisfying light meal if you aren’t too hungry. The eight prawns (with shells on) on my plate were fat, juicy, fresh, sweet, and packed with umami flavour. They were served in a garlic and cilantro-infused tomato sauce that was so delicious, I told the waiter to leave the plate after I was done with the prawns, so I could dip my bread in the sauce. Also really yummy was their grilled sea bass, served with a healthy portion of steamed cabbage, kale and string beans, and roasted potatoes. The bass is split open so you can easily get at the firm and flaky flesh.
Service: Even though he didn’t speak much English, the waiter, who recommended the bass, was helpful and friendly.
Ambience: The place fills up at lunchtime with a mostly local crowd, which is always a good sign when it comes to local cuisine.
Average price per person: €24 for a starter, a main course, and a non-alcoholic beverage.
Address: Lagostim. Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre 200, Porto, Portugal. Tel: (351) 222-056-141.