Hi all- just back from great but soggy 2 week POrt. trip (bring good rainjacket and waterproof, grippy shoes, we had 2 weeks of rain and saw multiple falls on the slick sidewalks)- I will mostly list hotel and restaurant recs here-we did most but not all RS recs for attractions in each place listed and agree with his star system for them so I wont say much about things to do. We did immensely enjoy the Decorative Arts museum in Lisbon.
Lisbon- Casa Balthazar (4 nights)-great! big room, great breakfast, very helpful staff
restaurants all near that hotel (in guidebook) in Chiado/Alto: Carmo-great meal; Pateo-excellent, amazing service-went back to the pizzeria there another night; cervejaria da trinidade-was ok; doesnt get going till later. Pinochio good seafood;very busy.
Evora- MAr Hotel;(2 nights) -big room;quiet;free underground parking;good breakfast; had a geat meal at the Pousada; amazing lunch at Tasquina de Oliviera (only 5 tables so book ahead).
Tomar- Hotel templarios-our least favorite hotel-no major issues but nothing special either; good dinner at Bela Vista
Coimbra- Hotel Sapientia (NOT in RS book) amazing hotel; great room and staff; decor is Joanna Gaines meets POrtugal; we ate dinner there both nights and it was great. Lunch at Castro Mus. had nice view but standard cafe menu
Douro- 1 night (should have done 2 as it was so realxing) at Quinta da Corte-dining on site;excellent food; port/wine tour included; lodging very comfortable and quiet; is high above river and driveway is not for faint of heart, esp. if you are driving a stickshift.
Porto- Inpatio Guesthouse-tied for 1st place with Sapientia for our favorite hotel-Olga and Fernando were so personable which made all the difference. Dinner at Cantinho Avillez was ok but we liked his Lisbon places better; A Grade had the best seafood we had on the trip-octopus and sole; 3rd night dinner was at Vinum was very good-don't try to walk there! take taxi, the streets are all being torn up and very steep climb with no sidewalk; also amazing service and great views of Porto.
Overall a great trip, with a few bits of advice: Porto is doing their Big Dig, streets torn up everywhere so plan for traffic etc. if trying to get somewhere, only working trolley line is #1, the other 2 are interrupted by constxn; lots of tourists everywhere even late Oct. so book ahead (we booked pretty much every dinner a few weeks ahead). Lisbon airport utter chaos esp. for departures, poor signage; you can do VAT after security and is very quick; VAT line pre-security was huge. Checkin for US airlines is on level 4. Dont worry too much about the language, pretty much everybody speaks English and were all so helpful.
Hope some of this helps! The forum helped us plan a great trip and we found the RS book spot on for recommendations.