As part of its head-to-toe design overhaul - which included the addition of 50 rooms and suites earlier this year - hotel Pestana Vintage Porto just unveiled a marquee restaurant: Rib Beef & Wine, a stylish steakhouse that is hoping to lure more locals to the Ribeira, the riverfront neighbourhood of touristy eateries and the embarkation point for many of the Douro River cruises.
To do that, Rib, which is housed on the ground floor of one of the centuries-old homes that Pestana Vintage occupies, foregoes typical Portuguese visual flourishes in favour of a contemporary decor scheme dreamed up by Cristina Matos, a Lisbon-based designer whose portfolio includes Lx Boutique Hotel and Pestana Alvor South Beach in the Algarve. Eyes are immediately drawn to the graphic palm tree wallpaper that covers most of the restaurant. Surprisingly, it complements the contrasting textures found throughout such as the bright blue chairs, the black-and-white plaid carpeting in the private dining area and the studded leather panels on the bar.
Most of the furnishings are auction-sourced vintage and then restored specifically for the project, like the Midcentury Modern chairs in the private dining room that were reupholstered in tweed. They orbit around a custom-made table on which to enjoy award-winning Portuguese chef Rui Martins’ meaty dishes such as a 14-month-old smoked Cecina and Black Angus Tomahawk steak.