Cantinho do Avillez – Porto

cantinho - 8José Avillez is the biggest name in the national gastronomy, few will doubt that, but when the rumor emerged that the “King of Chiado” would install himself in Porto, the murmurs were immense, among the believers, the skeptical and the competing entrepreneurs. The certain thing is that José Avillez doesn’t stop, and if the number of restaurants in Lisbon’s downtown were not enough, he still managed to become a frequent customer of the highway between Lisbon and Porto.

The Cantinho do Avillez was his “first son” since leaving Tavares. A success since its opening, having already doubled its capacity and keeping the reservations filled almost daily, so the sharpest option was to bring that concept to the agitated city of Porto. The menu and the ideas are the same as in the one at Lisbon, with one or another adaptation to the city and the region’s gastronomy (like José Avillez told us, in this interview).

The design was in charge of Ana Anahory and Filipa Almeida, who had already signed the first restaurant, the space is quite pleasant and functional, with a light and modern decoration, which transports very well the restaurant’s concept.

cantinho - 7Leaving the impeccable cocktail menu aside, with the classics from the Lisbon brother, we started our meal with an excellent couvert (2,85€), good breads, olives, a great truffle butter and an amazing tomato cream.

cantinho - 5Codfish nuggets with garlic and scallion mayonnaise (9€)

An almost healthy version of the children’s classic. They arrived to the table with a bit of excess oil, but crunchy. With a surprising interior with the codfish bits cooked perfectly and falling apart, also keeping its gelatin. Very good.

cantinho - 6Foie Gras Tureen with onion jam and toasts (13,75€)

When the menu has Foie tureen, or mi-cuit, whatever you want to call it with Foie, it rarely doesn’t end up at our table. Here a very tasty tureen that could have been a bit less cooked for a better texture. The onion jam worked very well as a side. A great start.

cantinho - 4Portuguesinha (“Little portuguese”) (3€/unit)

The Portuguesinha is one of the news at this Cantinho of Porto, a patty in which the filling is a tribute to the Cozido à Portuguesa, with the meats and the cabbages. Excellent filling, moist and tasteful. Less positive note to the pastry that needed a little bit more cooking. But still, a patty that promises to create some followers.

cantinho - 3Sautéed scallops, truffle roes, asparagus risotto, saffron and lemon (18,75€)

We asked to split, one of the most chosen dishes in the menu, it already came divided and with the same careful presentation. Risotto cooked on spot, which is rare in our restaurants, with a nice combination of flavors and textures, besides the scallops technically flawless. It is explained the reason for its success among the clients.

cantinho - 2Prego Mx-Lx (9,25€)

Inspired in a trip of the Chef to Mexico, this is a different way of eating a prego (usually grilled meat on bread). Tasty and delicate meat, soft peppers, red onion and a good guacamole, are the filling to some nice and homemade Tortillas. These just had a small something against them, for those like us who wish to create more than a prego and share the dish, they were too big for us to just put some ingredients, being the combination too much doughy.

cantinho - 1Hazelnut 3  (5,50€)

Despite some news in the dessert menu, we did not abdicate the classic hazelnut combination created by José Avillez, ice cream, foam and grated. Balanced sweetness, with a light caramel touch (from the praline used in the foam) and a nice texture game. A great ending to a long meal.

The wine list is not long, but has some of the best national options. We accompanied our meal with an excellent Red, Rufo do Vale D.Maria.

The Service was one of the things that surprised us the most, with the house open for just over a month (by the time of our visit), and with a full room, everything went well, the dishes arrived on time, with the right attention and a sympathy and relaxation perfect for the space.

Final Remarks
Nothing else would be expected from a chef like José Avillez and maybe that explains a bit his success, but I never expected that everything would work so well in a first visit and in a space open for such a short time. Good concept, good ingredients and good technique (with one or another small mistake). With the great name of our capital travelling to Porto and presenting this type of cuisine, Cantinho do Avillez will certainly be a case of great success in the city and one of the year’s revelations of Porto’s gastronomy. The remaining question is if his other concepts will also travel to Porto in the future.

Cantinho do Avillez – Porto
Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, 166, Porto
+351 223 227 879

A Refeição descrita foi oferecida pelo Cantinho do Avillez Porto, sendo a opinião e o texto da exclusiva responsabilidade do autor..

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