Haute cuisine is spreading throughout the city at a fast pace and with increasingly solid quality. So, if you are in the mood to splurge and want Michelin star’s level dishes, this is the place to go. Let’s start with the name. DOP is an acronym which stands for “Degustar e Ousar no Porto”, meaning “Daring and Tasting in Porto”. Indeed, DOP invites every client to enter and feel the city in a cosmopolite way, yet not forgetting its roots. You can see this concept particularly in the contrast between the outside of the building itself and the modern decoration of the dining room.
DOP is located at the Palace of the Arts, a building from the 14th century, former St. Domingos Convent and then it served as a place where meetings and auctions took place. Now the building also houses the Youth Foundation, whose purpose to enhance development in arts, industry and tourism meets perfectly Rui Paula’s view of gastronomy as an art. In fact, Rui Paula is a well-known chef and his fame goes beyond portuguese frontiers – Bono, U2’s vocalist, enjoyed very much having lunch at DOP.
There are two spaces: a show-cooking room and a more formal traditional dining room. In fact, DOP is a perfect place both for a romantic memorable dinner and for a lunch to discuss business. You will find the elite of Porto having lunch or dinner here and, despite seating 65 people, it fills up quickly, that’s why it’s wise to book ahead. Rui Paula uses to come to every table to meet the clients, make suggestions and hear their feedback.
You can choose “à la carte” or from the two degustation 5-course menus specially elaborated by the chef: Douro menu (65€) and Sea menu (75€). The staff is amazing and very knowledgeable in what concerns suggesting good wine to go with the different dishes. As to appetizers, try the Francesinha (Porto’s typical sandwich) with lobster sauce – traditional, with a luxurious twist; as an entree, the turbot is perfectly cooked and the veal loaf is to die for. Save room for dessert: you do not want to miss the mignardises with the coffee.
If you have the time, you may also try the other restaurant owned by Rui Paula – DOC – located at Folgosa, between Régua and Pinhão, with amazing views over the Douro valley and the same quality of DOP.