In the heart of Porto’s “movida”, where once lived the Livraria Aviz (bookstore), is now the Book restaurant, the result of a partnership between the group Thema, of the Infante de Sagres Hotel, and the owners of the Casa do Livro Bar. Pedro Trindade was in charge of the transformation of the space, respecting very well the original character of the bookstore, using books as a strong decorative element. The room is modern and cozy, with an intimate concept.

The menu is divided as a book (and presented inside of one), prologue, introduction, chapters and conclusion. The offer varies between the Portuguese tradition and the Italian cuisine. So, we started with the arrival of the couvert (2,5€), a nice selection of breads, good butter and the least interesting tuna and olive pâtés.

Roasted Vegetables, gratin mozzarella and pesto (9,50€)
The vegetables (zucchini, asparagus, eggplant and peppers) were tasty and cooked on spot, over a creamy pesto, different than the usual. Less positive aspect for the gratin cheese that was already a little dry.

Cream of Crab, as if it was stuffed crab (6,5€)
Well, the only problem is the expression “as if it was stuffed crab”, making us expect for more crab meat than this small note, almost decorative. Besides that, the cream was very good, excellent texture, delicate crab flavor and well-seasoned. Very good, although it missed that filling.

Prawn “Açorda” with roe (17€)
The dishes are served in some nice copper casseroles I wasn’t able to photograph. Good quality prawn, sautéed on spot and with good flavor. The tasty açorda ( traditional portuguese dish made with old bread and stock) missed some texture, and if on one hand the roes worked well, on the other, the açorda was too liquid. A nice dish in need of some refinement.

Veal cheek with spices sauce (17€)
Delicate and well prepared cheek, melting and full of flavor, accompanied with gratin potato dauphinois style and greens. A nice dish if it wasn’t for the little quantity of the spices sauce in the plate and casserole in order to unit all the elements and making the dish more succulent.

Mascarpone Milfoil with fruit (8€)
The choice of the dessert won over the suposed best “pão de ló” of the Universe (there are still those who believe this kind of marketing), because of having mascarpone, that is an addiction at our home. As to the dessert itself, the milfoil was sufficiently crunchy, in a fresh combination where the weakest link was the mascarpone cream/mousse, too dense and dry. An acceptable dessert.

The wine list is short but with good options, although the prices are unfit to the service, the glasses are not the proper ones, like we verified on the table next to us someone drinking a nice and expensive wine in the wrong glass. We accompanied with a Quinta do Ameal (15€), almost at room temperature, which seems to be my faith lately, and I don’t even want my wine iced.

The service is like the wine service, unfit to the prices and the framing that the restaurant wants to be inserted in. In spite of having some very nice and professional employees, some were not, apart from having four different people attending our table, which is not the best option in this kind of space.

Final Remarks
This Book is usually filled with tourists and some locals who decide to pay a visit, however, in order to stand out in the environment which it operates much more is needed. The cuisine is correct, with some technical flaws, which are easily corrected, but compared to the prices they’re not that tolerable. That’s the big problem of the restaurant, the cost/benefit ratio, having the prices, the food and the service in account is not definitely one of the best in town that has many other good options. The beautiful space of Book needs to adjust and change some of its standards, either the prices get low or the cuisine and service are improved, and then it will be a nice choice in Porto’s downtown.

Rua de Aviz, nº 10, Porto
91 795 33 87.

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