Our bus carried us slowly up the long winding mountain road, taking us somewhere that really seemed like nowhere.
Enroute to our lunch destination – Restaurant Casa No Campo – our curious group of travel bloggers wondered just where it was that we were heading?
The lush green mountains stretched out around us, as did the endless blue sky. Only the occasional farm dotted the landscape.
Taking in the beauty that surrounded me, I couldn’t help but think again (for perhaps the 1000th time) about how much I adored Portugal. The country never ceased to amaze me!
The suspense finally ended as we pulled up to a remote spot resting atop a mountain peak. Looking not like a restaurant and more like a farm, I learned later that the main restaurant area occupies a former barn. In fact many of the farm’s traditional historical buildings remain, crumbling but still intact.
The eager to please staff pulled out all the stops for their only customers. Being in Northern Portugal, we were treated with none other than Port wine in this lovely setting.
Casa No Campo serves up traditional Portuguese cuisine that’s unique to the region – our very generous lunch menu started with cooked chestnuts and meat (unfortunately not pictured here), followed by two mains which was codfish in a special corn bread dish and steak with frites.
My lovely vegetarian friend from Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler (check her blog – it’s amazing) was treated to some nice non-meaty dishes and lucky for her, a much lighter fare.
Lastly the staff delivered a Mortal Kombat styled “finishing move” to our waistlines. This heavenly apple cinnamon pudding! Oh my, good thing we hiked afterwards.
The meal while on the heavy side, was absolutely delicious. The dishes were simple and tasty – the way good food is meant to be – in my opinion. There’s no pretension to be had at Casa No Campo, it’s as down to earth as you can get. The rustic farmhouse, the dramatic back-drop, the friendly staff made for an unforgettable experience.
Cringe fellow travel writers, stifle your vomit and don’t judge me for what I’m about to say – but if there was ever really a “hidden gem” or a place that’s “off the beaten path“, Casa No Campo is the honest to goodness real thing.
So it’s simple, if you’re in Northern Portugal – make your way to Arouca (about an hour’s drive from Porto) and make a day trip here to enjoy lunch or dinner. This place deserves your visit even though it seems so remote. And by the time you start stuffing your face with their delectable fare, you’ll harbour no regrets about coming so far.
Happy eating my friends! If you ever do end up visiting Casa No Campo as a result of my very heartfelt recommendation, leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Casa No Campo
Moldes, Espinheiro, 4540 Arouca, Aveiro, Portugal
256941900 – 914252284 – 918528946
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*Disclosure – A special thanks goes out to the Portuguese tourist board for hosting our lucky group of travel bloggers on this trip after the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Porto. Check out Visit Porto and the North and Visit Portugal for more information about the region.