Depending on which source you consult, Tapabento Trindade usually ranks #1 or somewhere between #2 and #5 of all Porto restaurants. It is the second opening of the owners of the original Tapabento tapas restaurant which we had visited just a few days earlier and which had impressed us with their delicious seafood and beef carpaccio. We came with extremely high expectations.
Like at nearly all restaurants we visited in this Portuguese seaside town, the staff immediately made us feel welcome and somehow managed to squeeze us in without prior reservation.
We ordered Rodovalho Manteiga for €24 (turbot) and Eryngii (king oyster) mushrooms for €19. The presentation was professional like in a top London or Paris restaurant, and we certainly couldn’t say anything bad about the food. However, the taste was not very strong. We also felt that some of the combinations of ingredients were a bit far-fetched and seemed to be aimed more at ‘sophistication’ and effect rather than achieving the right kind of tickle of the pallate.
My wife enjoyed her mushrooms, but admitted they were a bit bland. (I’m no one for vegetarian dishes anyway.)
I used to cook turbot quite regularly at home and completely understand why for centuries the French used to consider it to be the best seafood around, but I didn’t find anything too special about the turbot fillets that sat on my plate that day.
The Beurre Noisette was nice and I liked the texture. The purple potato puree was quite to my liking, but I never understood the fascination with samphire and certainly the shellfish sour and passion fruit veloute seemed out of place. The turbot itself was of a nice texture and good taste, but – again – the Beurre Noisette was not by itself sufficient to bring out the best of the fish.
Overall, we’d give this lovely restaurant a 4 out of 5, it’s just that our expectations were even higher.