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Oporto is a Portuguese Small Plates Food and Wine Bar with an Indian Twist

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Described by one diner as European dining without a passport and by owner-chef Rick Di Virgilio as chef-driven, wine-friendly small plates, Oporto is not your traditional Portuguese food. The unique menu items reflect Chef Di Virgilio's Portuguese/Italian heritage and his wife Shiva's Indian ancestry. "We are best known for packing flavor punches into small plates," Di Virgilio assures.

There are two Oporto restaurants in Houston. "The little Oporto on Richmond is a quaint sidewalk restaurant you may find in the streets of New York City or a taverna in Lisbon," Di Virgilio describes, "while our midtown location is an elegant, yet comfortable, oasis from the urban surroundings." Whichever location you choose, Oporto is definitely unlike other area restaurants in both atmosphere and menu items.

Depending on the time of day, patrons can order from the different lunch, happy hour or dinner menus where consistency is the key. Many dishes are loosely Portuguese with twists that play on two former Portuguese colonies- Asian-inspired from Macau and Indian-inspired from Goa. Italian touches are also present and include housemade pizzas and salads. "This may all seem really varied, but comes together very naturally," promises Di Virgilio.

For instance, Di Virgilio tells us some of the restaurant's most popular dishes are the Polvo com Batata (Portugues octopus with Indian spices), Crab and Avocado Crostina, Seafood Curry, Baked Goat Cheese in tomato sauce, Bide a Portuguesa (wood-grilled hangar steak with fried egg over spicy potatoes) or the Piri Piri Shrimp. Exclaimed Di Virgilio, "Well, I could go on and on. We have many favorites!"

As a compliment to your meal or happy-hour plate, Oporto has over 50 wines served by the glass from far-flung places such as the Portugal (of course), Spain, Italy, South America, as well as the United States. In fact, the restaurant boasts it has the largest Portuguese wine collection in Houston. Craft cocktails are also offered at the "minibar". Complete your meal with their Italian Espresso Bar and desserts made in house, such as Bolo de Bolacha (a Portuguese version of the Italian tiramisu), made with Maria cookies soaked in espresso coffee liqueur and layered with port-laced cream.

Featuring a Wi-Fi hotspot with laptop outlets, Oporto is a place to relax, eat, drink and spend some time with friends or business clients. It's also a place to enjoy a romantic date night out. Oporto offers catering, too, so you can celebrate that big event with friends and family.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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