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Restaurant Review: Tia Tia, Porto in Portugal

tia tia is serving up Portuguese cuisine and natural wines in a more creative way in the heart of Porto.

By LLM Reporters  |  June 2, 2022
tia tia porto

Words by Peter da Silva

Anyone familiar with the Portuguese diet will know that pretty much everything is eaten in this coastal country facing the Atlantic. Portugal famously consumes record levels of fish, has centuries old recipes on preparing most meat dishes and, given its climate, has a wide selection of fruit and vegetable available throughout the year. Portuguese wines have also become internationally recognised like never before. So, opening a restaurant in Portugal means serving a bit of everything right? Not in tia tia’s case.

tia tia wanted to be different from the start and have sustainability in mind in everything they do. Aware of over consumption, the restaurant wanted to offer local and seasonal dishes only and without meat, although one fish dish appears on the daily changing menu. tia tia also wanted to diversify their service by providing a daytime ambiance for easier meals and an evening setting for a longer one sitting only dinners.

tia tia Porto food
The restaurant offers local and seasonal dishes only and without meat

Much like a balanced diet, tia tia offers a variety of dining options, the space is open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday to Friday between 9am and 4pm and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays only between 7.30 and 11pm. This makes the place that bit more special.

Tiago Feio and Cátia Roldão (tia tia, combines the owners’ names CáTIA and TIAgo) have been serving up daily changing menus since November 2021 which include a breakfast menu featuring granolas, breads, eggs and juices. The lunch and dinner menus vary and are updated every day with up to eight dishes. All menus include a combination of pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan dishes and the style of cuisine is contemporary, seasonal Portuguese.

All wines served at tia tia are natural wines, one of the reasons for this was a lack of venues with a heavier focus on natural wines in Porto. The wine list showcases 16 references with a strong focus on Portuguese producers but also a small selection of international producers. The drinks list also features two artisanal ciders and three artisanal beers. Throughout the day coffees, teas, juices and water are also available.

tia tia Porto
The spacious and minimalist restaurant can seat 26 guests inside

The spacious and minimalist restaurant can seat 26 guests inside and a further eight in the garden, located at the rear of the building. Tiago operates the kitchen, preparing all dishes and menus daily, and Cátia operates the front of house, managing the guest experience and compiling the wine list, which is updated often. The interiors feature wooden tables and chairs and a large rectangular table designed for gathering friends and family. Tiago had previously been head chef at several restaurants in Lisbon and Cátia had launched and managed various Porto restaurants.

The lunch and dinner menus feature dishes combining several ingredients including ‘miso broth/ turnip/ carrot/ chard’, ‘beetroot/ cottage/ radichio’ ‘hake/ almonds/ cabbage’, ‘naan/ beetroot/ raspberry’ and ‘cashew/ turnip/ chilli oil’ and ‘mackarel/ almond/ apple’. Desserts include ‘shortbread/ lemon/ olive oil’ and ‘banana from Madeira/ nuts/ port caramel’ among others. Dishes are served in a variety of formats; starters may appear on an azulejo (Portuguese tile) or in beautiful ceramic bowls. Wine pairing is encouraged, and the restaurant offers a wide selection of natural red, white, orange and green wines (vine verde).

Music and art are both passion projects and evident inside the restaurant. A vast collection of vinyl records is on rotation throughout the meal and the playlist is shared online ahead of dinners and selected pieces of local art are displayed. A mini collection of natural products to buy is also available.

tia tia Porto food
The lunch and dinner menus vary and are updated every day with up to eight dishes

tia tia will launch a gallery inside the restaurant further showcasing art by local artists. Pop-up events are also being planned with guest chefs and wine makers for tastings. Unique art tours of Porto also take place with local specialists, and these are followed by lunch at tia tia. The restaurant has partnered with Urban Art Porto for guided walking tours to discover the city’s urban art. These start at 10am and are a great way to meet locals, see the city from a different perspective and end with a meal. More collaborations are planned.

In a nutshell

This is not just a restaurant, but also a cultural space filled with art and music. tia tia is also trying to reinvent the Portuguese dining mindset introducing natural wines and reducing dependence on meal and excess fish whilst still serving imaginative dishes in a stunning setting.

Factbox

Dishes are priced between 3€ (starters) to €16 (mains) and natural wines from 22€

Address: Rua do Almada 501, Porto
Tel: 967866236
Instagram: instagram.com/tiatia.porto

Images credit: tia tia, Porto