Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email

or


Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

“Where to eat in Porto?” Google search this sequence of five words and a multitude of articles listing restaurants and eateries will naturally come up as a result. Some of those suggestions – the trustworthy ones, at least – will mention Casa Nanda.

It’s a fair choice: Casa Nanda is, indeed, one of the most traditional and historic joints in town. What most listings won’t mention, though, is that the couple who founded it and were its driving force are now working somewhere else.

That place is called Senhor Zé, which is also the way most customers greet José Canelas, its owner. His wife of 45 years, Maria da Soledade, is the woman responsible for all the great recipes that gave – and still give – Casa Nanda fame.

“After a month and a half of doing nothing I got really bored.”

A year and a half ago, Mr. Canelas thought it was time to retire. He sold his family’s share of the restaurant to their partners and went home, to finally relax after a life of hard work. “But after a month and a half of doing nothing I got really bored,” he now recalls, laughing.

That boredom led both him and his wife to an area of town they know quite well: Rua do Campinho, right next to Praça da Batalha. It was where they had met in 1969, while working at another restaurant, Montenegro, which for most portuenses was unofficially known as Mamuda (“Big Breasted Woman”), thanks to the physique of the owner. They opened their new restaurant on that exact same street in November 2017 – an unexpected return to where it all started.

Porto restaurantSenhor Zé is a simple restaurant, painted in light colors, with standard furniture and tables covered in white linen. But the kitchen is all that matters, and it does not disappoint: it delivers exactly what one would expect from the culinary talent behind Casa Nanda.

Many of its staple dishes are replicated here with exactly the same richness. It’s the epitome of Portuguese comfort food, as cooked by most northern grandmothers. For instance, pescada, hake, is a fish that many families eat often in Portugal. Here as well, where they serve it as fried fillets with arroz malandro, slightly soppy rice, or just the head, roasted in the oven with potatoes, a delicacy loved by many. “We brought all the best sellers here. We had to,” says Mr. Canelas.

Those aren’t the only ones. As it was in Casa Nanda, weekends are very important at Senhor Zé. Every Saturday, for instance, is Tripas à moda do Porto, Porto-style tripe, day. A spicy stew with tripe, several meats, beans and white rice, it is the city’s most famous dish – probably a technical tie with the francesinha. Sundays, on the other hand, are reserved for cozido à portuguesa, the national stew made with meat, sausages and vegetables; cabrito assado, roasted kid; and vitela assada, roasted veal. In the kitchen, Maria da Soledade makes sure every recipe is followed to the letter.

During lamprey season, from January to April, Senhor Zé is already a sure destination for those who love to eat this jawless fish, boiled in its own blood with rice. Don’t be scared off by the description – it’s simply delicious, especially if José and Maria are the ones responsible for making it.

Get directionsExport as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
Senhor Zé

loading map - please wait...

Senhor Zé 41.145834, -8.605068 (Directions)
 
Senhor Zé
Address: Rua do Campinho, 13-15 (Batalha), Porto
Telephone: +351 919 927 431
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 12-3pm & 7-10pm. Sun. 12-3pm; closed Monday

Related stories

Dine at Porto’s local institutions on our culinary walk!
April 9, 2019

Taberna Santo António: A Virtuous Corner

By Cláudia Brandão
Porto -- We arrived at Taberna Santo António after lunch, looking for a bit of warmth in the middle of winter. It wasn’t a shot in the dark – we already knew that we would be enveloped by a comforting hospitality at this classic Porto spot. The sun was shining, so we sat on the…
March 15, 2019

O Buraco: In the Trenches

By Cláudia Brandão
Porto -- Manuel Azevedo and Francisco Moreira, now both in their 70s, have been friends since childhood. Such a close connection has afforded them the trust and togetherness required to run O Buraco, the restaurant in Porto that the duo have presided over like generals for almost 50 years. In fact, it was right after…
Discover some of Porto’s best traditional restaurants on our walk!
August 20, 2019

Adega Vila Meã: Big Portions, Full of Love

By Cláudia Brandão
Porto -- Carla Santos is a busy woman. On the day we go to meet her, it is pouring rain in Porto and Adega Vila Meã, the restaurant she runs, is full. Carla doesn’t stop for a second: “One of those pork firecrackers with potatoes?” she asks a customer as she swings through the dining…