Casa Vasco

Casa Vasco was the last space opened by Porto’s Danny Meyer: Vasco Mourão; occupying the former corner of the Cafeína Fooding House. By giving his name to the space, Vasco surely wanted to create a different environment from his other restaurants, a house that could also be a tavern, a familiar one, where his friends (and clients, of course!) could join at any time of the day, to eat and drink without great formalities.

But we’re talking about Foz do Douro and a Tavern or “Casa de Pasto” must have something more than food and wine to please the clients. With the decoration also in charge of the Mourão family, the space has a cozy environment in a well accomplished mix between the industrial of the chairs, the rustic of the wood and the modern of the tones and details. In terms of food, Casa Vasco found the ideal concept in the Latin cuisine’s informality, or wouldn’t Camilo Jaña (the responsible chef) be a proud Chilean.


But on to our experience. Arriving at the scheduled time we were kindly accompanied to our table, where quickly arrived the couvert (1,80€), a good bread, accompanied with olives, a great smoked butter and an excellent tomato, peeled and marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs, which becomes a great (and less sinful) partner to the bread.

The Menu is divided in several categories, like “Comes”, “No Pão”, “Verdes”, “Made in Portugal” and “B.B.Q. Natural”, and we ended up choosing some options to share, within the several categories.

Ceviche of the Day (6,5€)

Our followers already know about my perdition for ceviche, and Camilo Jaña knows what he’s doing when the subject is one of the most beloved dishes of his region. A mixture of croaker and salmon, with prawns, and excellent avocado puree, acidic and seasoned on spot, spicy just right. Positive note to the combination with the crunchiness of the tortillas. I missed a bit more liquid from the seasoning, probably because of the cup it was served in, the Leche de Tigre (I like to drink it with a spoon!). Excellent beginning.

Salmon Tataki, avocado puree and seaweed (6,5€)

A fusion dish where the Oriental cuisine is well integrated with the restaurant’s concept, a nicely sealed tataki and succulent fish, very well combined with the avocado puree, the sea flavor of the seaweed and the soy sauce that seasons and elevates the flavors of the dish.

Huevos rancheros (4,5€)

A nicely prepared and crunchy tortilla, to the style of American tacos, filled with an interesting tomato sauce and a fried egg with the yolk on spot (same as saying raw) that gives greasiness and connects nicely with the other elements. Nice comfort food! Too bad the dose didn’t bring another little taco!

B.B.Q. Burger (8€)

Nowadays there’s not a tavern, tapas place or pub that has not surrendered to hamburgers, and Casa Vasco is no exception. Excellent presentation (they knew it was to share), won by the underdone meat, full of juices, also good the cheese, the bacon and the combination of the fresh and slightly spicy notes of the watercress. With a more interesting bread, this well prepared meat could easily be the best burger in town. A high note also to the crunchy onion that comes as side, instead of the usual and boring fries.

Tomahawk steak (24€)

Tomahawk is a cut inspired in the axes of the American Indians, by the way it stays with the long and clean bone – in this case it was sawed, most likely to fit better in the grill or the table. Enough meat to feed 2 people or to be shared by 4, presented cooked as requested. Tender meat with good flavor, well accompanied by salt flower for seasoning by taste, a nice ratatouille, fries and a good salad. A meat feast.

Hot and Cold Chocolate Brownie (4,5€)

Warm cake, prepared in the moment and an excellent homemade vanilla ice cream. The cake just had a bit too much walnut, which flavor and texture overlapped the other elements of the dish.

Chocolate Cheesecake (4,5€)

Much more interesting than the cake, the cheesecake presents a creamy and delicate chocolate layer, not being overly sweet, over a thin and flawless cookie base. Very well accompanied by the praline and the marinated strawberries that give some lightness and freshness. Very good.

There was still space to try a good cinnamon ice cream (2,5€), full of flavor and not too much sugar.

The wine list is one of the other strengths of Casa Vasco, and distinguishes it from most of the same gender restaurants. An excellent wine selection, now in charge of the master Raul Riba D’ave. In our glass was, and very well, the Loureiro from Quinta do Ameal 2014 (16€).

The service worked correctly, with sympathy and professionalism.

Final Remarks
Casa Vasco is, once again, an accurate bet of Vasco Mourão, a little corner where you feel like being and that many use as meeting point (the business hours and the extended service allow just that), in a weird mix, but well achieved, between a Brazilian street pub and a cosmopolitan room of a big city. Camilo Jaña’s kitchen prepares a true festival of dishes, travelling between Portugal and Latin America, with special focus on the grill, where it reveals the chef as fish in the water!

An inclusive space, where you can stop for a drink, a tea or a big dinner like ours, a unique environment and some dishes we won’t certainly find anywhere else in the city. To go once, and return!

Casa Vasco
Rua do Padrão, 152 – Porto

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

We were at Casa Vasco by invitation,whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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