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Taberna da Esquina: A collision of quaint and cozy cuisine

Taberna da EsquinaThe day was cold and windy as I waddled down the Leça da Palmeira coast deep in conversation with friend over the intense difference in weather between Barcelona and Porto. Seven and half months pregnant, my dress barely draped below my belly as the wind whipped my skirt high in the air bastardizing everything Marilene Monroe stood for. Cold and annoyed that my attire failed to adequately cover me even in the lightest of breezes , I whimpered my desire to find a cozy nook to bury my maladjusted state.

“I know a fabulous little spot just near here! You’ll love it! Super cozy and cute, you’ll fall in love!” she bubbled.

Tripping over cobblestone for the umpteenth time, incapable of seeing anything below my mid-drift, I spread my arms wide like an handicapped dodo and screeched,”Please…now!”

She immediately grabbed my hand and veered me off the coast and inside a tiny corner restaurant just behind the 17th century Fort of Leça da Palmeira called, Taberna da Esquina (The Corner Wine Bar).

If you could envision Frodo Baggins setting up shop along the Atlantic, this would be the place. Despite tall ceilings, the space felt cave-like with white wood walls and votives flickering brightly beyond tuffs of potted herbs propped on thick, chunky wood furniture. It boasted of elegance and charm with large dollop of cozy.

Admittedly, the brilliant smile of co-owner Liliana Marisa doesn’t hurt as you walk through the door either. With an intrinsic maternal feel about her, she passionately explained her vision to offer a wide range of homecooked petiscos (tapas) at a reasonable price, allowing the customer to savor a vast number of textures and flavors. Personally, I’ve always loved this concept. It allows me to not only share dishes, but keeps conversations focused on the experience at hand.

pic 3The menu primarily features warm dishes, a strategic idea when considering that Porto endures more rain than London. You know that bone chilling cold that never leaves your body? This is a normal state of being during the winter months, hence the aroma of spicy blood sausage paired with warm baked apple makes one’s knees buckle as they wander past the kitchen! Equally enticing and delicious were the alheira sausages, the chicken wrap in a mango sauce and the scrambled eggs with asparagus and sausage. The dishes were rich and flavorful, delivered with just enough time to sit and savor that very last bite. It’s the type of place where you could easily order a second bottle of wine, alongside another round of petiscos, and have zero idea that 4 hours just flew by.

However, for those liquid geeks among you, I wouldn’t zero in Taberna do Largo as you “go to” spot. Their offerings are limited but good, including a decent selection of wines from across the country among a handful of port and cocktails, but this isn’t a “wine bar” per se. Here the primary focus is on the ambiance and cuisine.

If you happen to find yourself just north of Porto along the coast, swing by, you won’t be disappointed.


Gabriella Opaz

Taberna da Esquina
Rua Santa Catarina 102
Leça Da Palmeira, Porto, Portugal

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