24 August 2019

Guide to Supermarkets in Porto, Portugal – Everything You Need to Know + Handy Tips!

Supermarkets in Porto are fairly easy to find, especially since the city is small. If your accommodation is located downtown or in the city/central area, chances are high that your nearest supermarket or grocery store is only a short walk away.
 
Since I've lived here for over 4 years, I thought I would put together a little guide detailing the types of supermarkets in the Porto downtown/central area that might serve you. I’ve also included a a few that are out of the city, if organic/health-food is what you need. 
 
Whenever I travel to any new city, I like to check out a local supermarket to see the kind of food they have and how different the choices are compared to what I’m used to. For example, in Porto it’s common to see big pieces of ‘bacalhau’ (salted/dried cod fish - a national staple) being sold, especially in (but not limited to) larger stores. 
 
Obviously, shopping at a supermarket is also a great way to save money if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to pay for a restaurant meal every time you need to eat. Many travellers or tourists I know like to stock up on basic items such as milk, yoghurt, cereals, and/or fruit, which can help with breakfast in the morning. A lot of Airbnb apartments also come with a kitchen so it’s possible to buy meat/vegetables etc to cook a hot meal for lunch or dinner. 
 

Of course, now that I live in Porto, I do a lot of my grocery shopping at my local supermarket. By that, I mean I often send Ricardo down to the shop.

A useful thing to note is that ’supermarket’ in Portuguese is ’supermercado’, and ‘grocery store’ is ‘mercearia’. 
 
If you're looking for specialty shops for traditional food to bring home, jump to SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO FOR TRADITIONAL PRODUCTS. I recommend paying a visit to one of these if only just to look around!
 
Important info:
You can buy local wine and/or beer in pretty much all of these supermarkets for a fair price.
 

GENERAL/CHAIN SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO

These are in Porto (or Portugal) what Tesco and Sainsbury’s are in London or the UK. They offer a good variety of popular, local name-brand products at affordable or low prices. 
 
Some of these stores may be very small compared to what you’re used to (especially if you come from the USA!). This is normal in Porto as the downtown area has very old infrastructure with narrow buildings that don’t really allow for anything much larger. The larger supermarkets or hypermarkets are mostly found in the suburban areas surrounding the city (rather than the central/downtown area). We go to these once every fortnight, with our car! 
 
Here is a quick rundown of the main supermarket chain names that you can find in/around Porto:

Pingo Doce

This is one of the most popular chain supermarkets in Porto. It’s really your average supermarket for common everyday items. There are about 4 or 5 in the city but note that none are in the historic centre of Porto, which constitutes the areas closer to the river.
 
These Pingo Doce supermarkets generally close by around 9pm, give or take 30 minutes. The easiest way to find one closest to you is to search for ‘Pingo Doce’ on Google Maps!

Minipreço / Dia

Another popular chain; may sometimes be referred to as ‘Dia’ by locals. 
 
They’re generally smaller than Pingo Doce stores and some are ‘Minipreço Express’ which can mean they’re even smaller. But on the upside, some stay open until 11pm. This is great if you like midnight snacking or if you simply enjoy shopping at night like a weirdo.
 
There are six Minipreco supermarkets in the city, three of which (the most central ones) close at 11pm. Click here for Google Maps 'Minipreço' search results in Porto.
 
In fact, one is located within the historic centre of Porto (see next heading) and this will be the one I’m guessing will be the most convenient to you if you are a visitor/tourist in the city. It’s close to the Clérigos Tower/ Torre dos Clérigos.
 
 
Opening hours: 9am - 11pm daily

Supermercados Froiz

Froiz is a Spanish supermarket chain and it is one of our favourite supermarkets in Porto. It has only one branch and I would call it medium sized.  You can find it inside a small shopping arcade (Galeria Trindade Domus), not far from Aliados (the big main square in Porto), and the Trindade metro station which is 150m away.
 
They have a good meat selection with an in-house butcher, alongside a fish counter. We like to get our ground/minced meat here as they do it on-demand here (rather than pre-packaged ground meat). It also has a small organic/health food section with a few gluten-free items. The bread is said to be pretty good, too!
 
This is where we go whenever we’re looking for something a bit more specific or uncommon, that might not be found in other stores. For example, bottled anchovies and Spanish nougat (only during Christmas season though). They also sometimes have mangosteens (but for a premium price).
 
 
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm daily (except Sundays from 10am)

Continente

Continente is a larger supermarket brand with many bigger branches (that are more like hypermarkets) located outside the city in suburban neighbourhoods, catering to families and more long-term shopping. 
 
BUT there is one in the city and you can find it in basement level of Via Catarina Shopping Centre, which is on the main shopping street (Rua de Santa Catarina) in town. This is useful if you’re staying in this area (outside the historic centre) and want more variety especially in terms of fresh produce/ingredients for cooking.
 
 
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm daily


GROCERY STORES IN THE HISTORIC CENTRE OF PORTO

A handy little section with a list of convenience stores ( to their small size) located in the most central area of the Porto, where most tourist attractions are.

SPAR Ribeira

’Tiny’ would be the more appropriate word to describe this shop. More of a convenience store or mini-market which tourists frequent due to its close proximity to the riverside (Ribeira). Good for picking up essential items if you happen to be staying in this busy area. Although SPAR supermarkets are known for their low prices, this is not the case here. You pay for the convenience 🙂
 
Opening hours: 8am - 8pm daily

SPAR Passeio das Virtudes

This is a well-known area where locals and visitors alike come to watch the sun set. You’ll likely have this on your ’to-do’ or ‘must-see’ lis if you're visiting. This SPAR serves as a convenient place to pick up a cold drink and/or a snack before settling on a nice spot with a view.
 
 
Opening hours: 9.30am - 10pm Mon-Fri; 10.30am - 10pm Sat-Sun

Minipreço Express

As described above (under 'General/Chain Supermarkets), this is one branch that is located in the historic centre of Porto. It's close to the Clérigos Tower.
 
Opening hours: 9am - 11pm daily


Mercado São Joao

Another small shop on the same street as SPAR Ribeira with fair prices for fresh fruit and vegetables, plus other essential items.
 

R. de São João 11
4050-199 Porto

Opening hours: To be confirmed!

Mercearia BeloSabor

"Your neighbourhood grocery store".
Not far from the bottom of the popular 'Rua das Flores'.
 
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm daily (except Sundays 7pm)

Mercearia Frutaria Misangala

Small shop for essential items close to Passeio das Virtudes.
 
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.
 

SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO FOR TRADITIONAL/LOCAL PRODUCTS

These supermarkets/shops are perfect if you are looking for locally produced groceries and other Portuguese delicacies. When I say this I mean items such as cheese, bread, wine, olive oil, jams, preserved meats (sausages and ham), as well as canned/tinned fish and seafood, which are popular in Portugal.  OH and not forgetting 'bacalhau' (dried/salted coffish).
 
If you’re only visiting, you might like to visit these shops buy something to bring home. When I used to come to Porto on holiday, I would buy sardine paté, canned ‘bacalhau’, and even canned octopus/sardines as a gift or souvenir, either for my friends or for myself (the latter is mostly the case).
 
Marmalade and pumpkin jam are good items to consider bringing home - the Portuguese enjoy eating cheese topped with either marmalade or pumpkin jam. I personally love the pumpkin jam ('doce de abóbora')!
 
The grocery stores listed below generally pride themselves on selling gourmet, high-quality, fine foods from Portugal. They are old-world shops (some over 100 years old!) that are packed with traditional and regional Portuguese foodstuff including a variety of natural products such as of nuts, grains, spices, loose tea leaves, olives, and dried fruit, which you can purchase by weight. Also sweets and chocolates!
 
Some walking tours in the city will include at least one of these shops as part of their itinerary as many tourists enjoy having the opportunity to visit a traditional supermarket in Porto
 
Note: Many of these are in the close vicinty of the iconic Bolhão Market (Mercado do Bolhão - which at the time of writing (August 2019) is still closed for refurbishment). You'll notice that a few of them are on the same street.
 

Casa Chinesa  

Lots of teas and dried fruit! Even has dried octopus.

Rua de Sá da Bandeira 343
4000-435 Porto

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm Mondays to Fridays / 9am - 1pm Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

 
NOTE: There used to be a very similar store right next to Casa Chinesa called Casa Ramos, but they have unfortunately closed and relocated elsewhere.

A Favorita do Bolhão

 

 

 

Personally my favourite place for buying Portuguese food as gifts for my friends whenever I'm making a trip back to London or Malaysia.

Rua Fernandes Tomás, 783
4000-218 Porto

Opening hours: 9am - 7.30pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.

A Pérola do Bolhão

 

 

 

This shop dates back to 1917, meaning it's over 100 years old! Its name translates to 'The Pearl of Bolhão'.


Rua Formosa 279

4000-252 Porto

Opening hours: 9.30am - 7.30pm Mon-Fri; 9am - 1pm Sat; Closed Sundays

Mercearia do Bolhão

 

 

 

Not to be confused with 'MERCADO do Bolhão' which is the MARKET (that is currently closed for refurbishment). This shop used to be called 'Confeitaria do Bolhão'.

Rua Formosa 305
4000-252 Porto

Opening hours: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 7pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.

Casa Natal

 

 

Claims to have the best 'bacalhau' in Porto. The name translates literally to 'Christmas House'! It is a family-run business which dates back to 1900.

Rua de Fernandes Tomás 833
4000-219 Porto

Opening hours: 9am - 7.30pm Mon-Fri; 9am - 1pm & 230pm - 7pm Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

*Special hours in December: Open every day inclusing Sundays & holidays.

Comer e Chorar Por Mais

 

 

Another centenary traditional grocery store, opened in 1916. They also serve some 'tapas' (small plates of food) which you can enjoy with a glass of good Portuguese wine.

Rua Formosa 300
4000-248 Porto

Opening hours: 9am - 7.30pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.

BONUS: Casa Diogo

This is in the Cedofeita/Arts District area. Casa Diogo is a charming family-owned shop + restaurant business set in on the ground floor with rooms with decor that mimic an old Portuguese house. 
 
Opened in 2014, the shop sells locally produced groceries such as olive oil, biscuits, fruits, jams, and even wine. Bread and biscuits are baked by the family in their own rustic oven in a village north of Porto.
 
Traditional dishes are served (lunch only), with limited but cosy seating areas spread across two rooms and the general shop area.
 
The tiny restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and serves some traditional dishes.
 
Opening hours: 11am - 7.30pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.


ORGANIC & HEALTH FOOD SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO

If you are looking for health-food items or organic grocery products in porto, you may have to venture a little farther as there aren’t many options downtown/in the central area. Bear in mind also that you may have to pay a higher price than ’normal’ groceries as demand for these items isn’t as high in Porto as in some other bigger cities you may be used to. Plus, many items have to be imported.
 
I’ll start the list with a little shop/cafe that is more accessible from downtown Porto:

Quintal Bioshop

This is a combined cafe and shop with English-speaking staff. The shop offers a fair selection of organic groceries including vegetarian and vegan products. I’m pretty sure I have seen vegan cheese and faux meat in the fridge. 
 
If you’re not keen to cook, there is a cafe at the back that serves wholesome vegetarian/vegan meals. In addition to freshly pressed juices, they serve organic, gluten-free beer.
 
The space extends into a pretty little outdoor terrace/patio at the back, which is also enjoyed by a few resident cats.
 
Quintal Bishop is located in the Arts District of Porto (Cedofeita) which is fairly easy to get to from the centre of town on foot.
 
 
Opening hours: 10.30am - 8pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.

IdealBio

This is a proper grocery store/supermarket and it is located in the Boavista area near Casa da Musica, which is about a 30-40 minute walk from downtown (depending on where you start), or a quick uber/taxi ride away. This is the closest organic supermarket to the city of its size. It has a good variety of organic and ‘biological’ groceries, as well as personal care items (like face creams).
 
 
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.

Go Natural

Lots of vegan and vegetarian groceries as well as organic products. Has a cafe attached to it. Kind of like a 'Whole Foods'. You'll have to take a bus, taxi, or cycle as this supermarket is located in Foz, by the river. If you're determined enough you could also go on foot but it will take you more than an hour.
 
 
Opening hours: 8.30am - 9pm daily except Fri & Sat until 10pm.

Maçaroca

This organic grocery store is just slightly farther than IdealBio (about a 20 min walk from Casa da Música). Also has a small cafe attached to it.
 
 
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays.


ASIAN SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO

VERY IMPORTANT SECTION especially if you are Asian like me and the ability to source Asian ingredients is an absolute necessity in life.
 
There are two Asian supermarkets in Porto. IMPORTANT: On Google Maps they are BOTH referred to as 'Supermercado Chen', but as of now, one of them is called 'Supermercado Asiático'
 
Our preferred option is Supermercado Chen on Rua do Bolhão, which is the newer and bigger store. We find the staff more friendly and the store more organised. Both stores have a good selection of essential food items from Japanese, Korean, and other South-East Asian cuisine. 
 
Thanks to these stores, we have been able to stock up on basic Asian cooking items such as sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and rice vinegar/wine. If you like Japanese food, miso paste, mirin, dried seaweed, and tamari soy sauce are available here.
 
One thing I wish they had was refrigerated or fresh kimchi. At the moment you can only get canned or bottled kimchi, which isn’t ideal but does the job in desperate situations!
 
NOTE: They do not accept card payments unless you have a local/Portuguese bank card.

陳氏超市 Supermercado Chen

 
Opening hours:
9.30am - 8.30pm Mon-Fri
10am - 8.30pm Sat
10am - 8pm Sun.

Supermercado Asiático

 
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm daily
May sometimes close for lunch


OTHER INTERNATIONAL SUPERMARKETS IN PORTO

Glood

Glood is a supermarket in Porto offering international/imported groceries from all over the world. It’s located slightly outside the city next to Carolina Michaelis metro station, and this is where you can find a lot of British and American (even Australian) products especially snack food such as Pop-Tarts, lots of different crisps/potato chips, and proper butter shortbread biscuits.
 
I like going there to get fluffy pancake mix, Horlicks, and Vegemite. Expect to pay higher prices for the convenience of having your favourite snacks from home! 
 
 
Opening hours:
10am - 8pm Mon-Sat
10am - 7pm Sundays & holidays
Closed for lunch 3pm - 3.30pm during all opening days

Ali Indian Groceries

The only Indian supermarket in Porto! It’s located close to São Bento train station at the back of it. Can be a little difficult to find.
 
This is the place to go if you’re looking for grains and spices (and curry leaves!) for basic Indian cooking. It has a fresh meat counter that provides halal beef and chicken.
 
They sell some ready food as well, e.g. samosas (called 'chamuças' in Portuguese).
 
 
Opening hours: 9am - 9pm daily except Sundays 11am - 9pm


USEFUL PORTUGUESE WORDS & PHRASES

Bom dia / Boa tarde / Boa noite
Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening.
 
Desculpe, trabalha aqui?
Excuse me, do you work here?
 
Pode ajudar-me por favor?
Can you help me please?
 
Vende produtos biológicos?
Do you sell organic products?
 
Vende produtos sem glúten?
Do you sell gluten free products?
 
Está maduro?
Is it ripe? 
 
É doce?
Is it sweet?
 
Onde está a àgua?
Where is the water?
 
Tem bebidas frescas?
Do you have cold drinks?
 
Aceita cartão?
Can I pay with card?
 
Qual recomenda?
Which one do you recommend?
 
Que nome devo dar a este ananás?
What should I name this pineapple?
 


Pão
Bread

Leite | Manteiga
Milk | Butter

Fruta | Maça | Laranja | Morango
Fruit | Apple | Orange | Strawberry

Vegetais 
Vegetables

Couve | Pepino | Cenoura
Cabbage | Cucumber | Carrot

Compota
Jam

Cerveja
Beer

Vinho
Wine

Sumo
Juice

Queijo
Cheese

Carne | Frango | Carne de vaca | Porco
Meat | Chicken | Beef | Pork

Peixe | Marisco
Fish | Seafood

 

 

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