Those who visit Porto have a lot to see. But there are some commercial spaces, which, for me, are compelling. Let’s meet them!
Right next to the Clerics Tower, one of the symbols of Porto, the Casa Oriental (Oriental House) is one of the oldest shops in the city.
The entrance bench, normally illuminated by the bright colors of season’s fruits and vegetables, lure you to enter.
Inside, this grocery store, born in 1910, offers products from other times, but also some from present days.
The Casa Oriental started its business selling the goods that arrived at the north of the country, in the beginning of the 20th century, coming from the Portuguese colonies, in the East and in Africa.
The colonies were extinguished but the importance of this store resisted until today.
To say that a bookstore is part of any sightseeing tour of Porto may seem strange, but if you arrive at the door of Lello and peek at the inside you’ll see why.
Born in 1906, this house has always been a meeting point for men of arts, a gathering stage and source of inspiration for writers. Today, the Lello Bookstore is visited by thousands of people who want to admire the architecture of the building (by architect Francisco Xavier Esteves) and enjoy the woodwork shelves or the grand staircase that leads to the upper floor.
The influx of people to this place is so big, that the administration decided to start charging entry. After all, the bookstore was always crowded by tourists, giving little room for those who really wanted to enjoy the books and even buy some of them.
The advantage is that if you want to purchase a copy, the entrance value will be deducted in the bill.
A VIDA PORTUGUESA
Neighboring the Lello Bookstore, in the Galeria de Paris Street, there’s a centenary building that houses the Fernandes Mattos old store. And it’s on the first floor of this place that you can find A Vida Portuguesa.
This isn’t an exclusive store. There’re already four across the country (the first born in Lisbon). But this one recovered a space of over 300 m2 in a prime area of Porto, making a total reuse of the natural light coming through the large windows and the use of the original furniture.
No wonder that this store was the first to appear in the Retail Directory of Wallpaper magazine in 2010.
And given that the products sold by A Vida Portuguesa are old and truly genuine Portuguese brands, nothing more suitable.
MERCEARIA DAS FLORES
Since we’re speaking of Portuguese genuine items, the Mercearia das Flores (Flores Grocery Store) is another place to visit in Porto.
The store located in Flores Street is small and simple, but with high quality products. You can taste them right there or take them home … or do both!
Canned food, cheeses, honey and regional sweets. Everything here calls for gluttony.
In days of good weather, take time to experience a beautiful craft beer in the small outside terrace. You’ll have many to choose from.
Now you: Have you ever visited Porto? What’s your favorite place in town? Tell me all in the comment box below.