Portugal Trip 2018 (6): Sunday at the beach, then some fine eating (Taberna Stº. António) and a solid craft beer bar (As 7 Maravilhas).

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I’ve prefaced the travel narrative of our visit to Portugal (which has been backdated) with a series called Focus on Portugal, which provides background on a European destination that’s scandalously little known to Americans. Previously: “FC Porto versus SC Lusitania in Portuguese professional basketball.

Sunday (February 18) was going to be warm and sunny, and so it was time to head to the ocean. This we achieved via Porto’s handy public transportation grid.

Our terminus was somewhere in the vicinity of Praia da Madalena (Madalena beach), just south of the Douro’s meeting point with the Atlantic, and 3-4 miles west of the city proper.

Well, I suppose we have beach volleyball in the States. Why not beach soccer in Porto? Actually, these people were walking their dogs.

By lunchtime we’d navigated back to central Porto, opting to split a local eatery’s Francesinha sandwich … with an itinerant busker’s floor show.

Breaking for a nap at the hotel, I had fun with window details from the building across the street.

For dinner, it was our aim to patronize the the Taberna Stº. António, less than a ten-minute walk along narrow, often single lane streets, uphill, toward the park called Jardim da Cordoaria. It was nearing dusk, and while the streets were quiet …

 … the little pocket park-with-a-view at the top of the hill was thriving.

A big crowd of what appeared to be students from the nearby university was enjoying the stellar view and their own company. A succession of plastic-clad drinks emerged from two bars across the street — one of which was our destination.

We were fortunate to have peeked inside and reserved a table roughly an hour before the doors opened at 7:00 p.m., because when the dining lamp was lit, the joint was filled within minutes. The guests were tourist and local alike; Taberna Stº. António is family-run and by no means fancy, just traditional and down to earth, with big portions of Portuguese home cooking.

Diana had bacalao (salted cod) and my meal was pork belly. Delish.

Both to and from dinner, we paused for adult libations at As 7 Maravilhas, or the Seven Wonders of the World, a wonderful eatery and craft beer bar.

The beer list included selections from all of Portugal’s craft brewers (7 or 8 in all), and staff recommendations were spot on.

We decided to return to As 7 Maravilhas for our final meal in Porto on Wednesday evening.

Next: A pleasant walk to São Pedro da Afurada — and another round of Port in Gaia.

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