Hi, handsome, it’s Esteban from International Horizons, and today I’m delighted to be writing this blog for you! A blog about your future Portuguese experience (I hope so, anyway). If you’re looking to do a catering internship abroad, and more specifically in Porto, well, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, I’m going to explain and introduce you to Porto’s culinary specificities, the neighborhoods with their types of restaurants, and side activities to do outside your internship.

Restaurant internships abroad in Porto: Restaurants in Porto in general

Before I talk to you specifically about your restaurant internship in Porto, I need to give you an overview of Portuguese cuisine, the types of food cooked, Portuguese consumer trends, Portuguese specialties…

In Porto, eating out is more than just a necessity – it’s a true passion, expressed through a rich variety of emblematic dishes and a deeply rooted gastronomic culture. Let’s delve into the nuances of Portuguese cuisine and local food trends. Porto, with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, offers a diverse culinary scene that appeals to locals and visitors alike. Portuguese cuisine is renowned for its simplicity, featuring fresh, high-quality ingredients. The most common ingredients are simple vegetables such as chard, cabbage, onions, basil and spinach. Otherwise, in Porto, there are of course many fish and seafood dishes (cod, sea bream, hake, sole and swordfish).

Pastel de nata:

One of my favorite Portuguese specialties is the famous pastel de nata! I can’t talk about Portuguese cuisine without mentioning this little gustatory nugget. Every time I’m in Portugal, I know I’m coming home with a few extra kilos. In addition to all the delicious seafood dishes, bowls of rice and endless glasses of wine, Portugal is also home to the arch-enemy of my figure: pastéis de nata (pastel de nata in the singular). Simply put, a pastel de nata literally means “pastry with cream”, and is an emblematic delicacy of Portuguese gastronomy. It’s a variation on custard flan, often enjoyed at lukewarm temperatures. These little Portuguese flans are so delicious that it’s hard to stop after eating just one! There’s something special about the combination of caramelized crème brûlée and golden puff pastry. Try one, and you’ll want to make them again and again!

La francesinha :

Francesinha is a veritable culinary institution in Porto, a gastronomic masterpiece that appeals to lovers of bold flavors. This specialty, sometimes nicknamed “la petite Frenchie”, is a Portuguese interpretation of the famous French croque-monsieur, but with a twist all its own. Imagine a sturdy, hearty sandwich made up of several layers of deliciousness. Inside, you’ll usually find ham, fresh sausages, beef, or sometimes even linguiça (smoked sausage). Once this mix of proteins is well assembled, the whole thing is generously covered with melted cheese. What really sets Francesinha apart is its sauce. A thick, spicy sauce made with tomatoes, beer and piri-piri, it gives the palate a real kick. The dish is then gratinated in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned golden, creating a texture that’s both melting and crispy. Traditionally, Francesinha is served with crispy French fries and sometimes with an egg on top to crown this culinary creation.

Cod or Bakalaw

Well, we’re talking about a real subject here: cod. Frankly, for non-Lusophone people here, apart from “Bakalaw” and “aligatô” (no, I’m joking, that’s Japanese), you don’t normally know many words in Portuguese. So where does this myth about the fish come from? There are 900 km of coastline, so the Portuguese are all sailors. Fishing is their history. So, we’re involved in a very generous and varied fishery, after which the great wealth comes from cod, known in Portugal as “the faithful friend”.

If you’re doing your internship in a restaurant, you’re bound to have at least one cod-based dish, so get ready to cook some poiscaille! In fact, Portuguese culinary expertise with cod is impressive.

And just for culture’s sake, only in France do we have two names for this fish, morue and cabillaud (morue being for the prepared dish and cabillaud for the live fish variety).

Ah, and if you ever get lost in the passionate discussions about cod, remember that for the Portuguese, cooking this fish is much more than a simple culinary preparation, it’s a true cultural expression and ode to their rich maritime heritage.

Baixa de Porto, the Central District to explore :

Hey there, if you’re feeling like a restaurant trainee, Porto’s Baixa is a nugget. Imagine everything you need at your fingertips, and when it comes to restaurants, it’s a festival of choice. In this area, you’ll discover Portuguese brasseries that are well worth the detour. If the idea of working in a cool atmosphere appeals to you, then this is the neighborhood for you. As an added bonus, they’re famous for their local Francesinha, a real killer!

Ribeira de Porto, a not-to-be-missed event:

Now, if you really want to immerse yourself in the Portuguese essence, the Ribeira is THE spot. The cute little streets, the winding Douro, it’s magical. If your heart is set on a course in a more traditional restaurant, this is where you’ll find what you’re looking for. And as for the hotel, Lusitana Hôtel, it’s comfortable and strategic.

Vila Nova de Gaia, le Coin des Caves and much more:

Ah, Vila Nova de Gaia, where Porto’s wineries put on a show. If you’re into the wine scene, this is the place to be. The icing on the cake is that there are plenty of typical Porto restaurants for courses with a local touch. For your temporary roof, the Park Hotel Porto Gaia, not bad and well connected.

Foz do Douro and Matosinhos, Beaches and Gastronomy in Harmony :

If the idea of an internship in a more peaceful area appeals to you, head for Foz do Douro and Matosinhos. Beaches as far as the eye can see, lively markets, and on the dining side, the restaurants here are generally top-notch. Yes, it’s expensive, but quality comes at a price. And for a good night’s sleep, the beachfront Hotel Boa Vista is a guaranteed haven of tranquillity.

Boavista, Modern and Lively Life at your Pleasure :

And if you want a hint of modernity, Boavista is THE district. The Casa da Musica and its trendy bars are the place to be. If you’re looking for an internship in a cool little bistro, this is the perfect place.

So, here’s the range of choices available to you for your internship. Enjoy the experience!

Restaurant internship abroad in Porto: What to do outside your internship in Porto?

The Douro is one of Porto’s most popular spots, with many restaurants and a magnificent view, so there’s plenty of…

You’ll also have a magnificent view of the bridge and the Port wine cellars on the other side of the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia. To reach Gaia, simply cross the bridge from below or above “” and admire the architecture of the bridge, inspired by our very own Eiffel Tower :).

As a good restaurateur, I recommend that you visit at least one Port winery. I recommend a visit to the Calem winery (€15 per visit), where you can taste 2 glasses of Port. You’ll be able to discover the history of Porto and the culture surrounding this very important viticulture for the people of the Porto region.

To continue your tour of Porto, I recommend a visit to Porto Cathedral, which is very pretty on the outside and even prettier on the inside. What’s more, it’s 2€ for students. You’ll have the privilege of climbing onto the roof of the cathedral, perfect for a superb view of the city: also a good opportunity for a quality Insta story (or post, for that matter).


In conclusion, Porto offers you a rich gastronomic and cultural experience. Whether you choose to work in the lively neighborhoods or explore the peaceful beaches, your internship will be an unforgettable adventure. Make the most of every moment, whether you’re at work or discovering new things outside the workplace. If you’re interested in the adventure of an internship abroad, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll take care of organizing your stay in Porto. In the meantime, if you have any questions, we’ll be sure to answer them here. The quality of life here is excellent, and Portugal’s reputation in this respect is second to none. See you soon in Porto, for an experience full of flavors and discoveries!