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Jun 4, 2003 03:08 PM

Whither Portuguese food in the Chicago area?

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I just got back from a trip that took me to Newark's Ironbound (great pork and clams a la alentejana) and Toronto (Chiado is one of the best restaurants in North America, with fish flown over from Portugal, from sea to your plate in 24 hours). But is there anything like this in Chicago? Not that I know of. Help.

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  1. I moved here from Boston last fall and asked the same question on this board -- the word I got back is that there are no known Portuguese restaurants in Chicago. So every time I head back to Boston, I make it a point to visit the restaurants there.

    I did pass a sign not too long ago, either on North Clark St. or Sheridan, an ethnic grocery store selling salt cod...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hinman Guy

      There are several sources for salt cod in the city. I have in the past ordered it - once from Whole Foods and the other time from Fox & Obel. I was heartened to see it available regularly at the Italian food store connected to Pasta Fresh on Harlem as well as at Dirk's Fish & Gourmet.

      Prepared portugese food I have not had the pleasure to see in Chicago, at least at a restaurant.

      1. re: Hinman Guy

        My favorite restaurant in the Boston area is Casa Portugal in Cambridge. I live in Iowa so visits to Boston do not come too often however both times I have visited the area I have made it a point to stop there for dinner. They have some excellent wines food that is great. It has an authentic atmosphere and you could sit there and imagine you are in a restaurant in Tavira, or Lisboa.

      2. Portuguese food, alas, has not been with us since the departure some years ago of Lisboa Antiga on Clark, just north of North Avenue, across from the Treasure Island. It was very upscale, reasonably priced, and quite good (at least in memory). It has long since departed and never been replaced. Good Portuguese food is thus unavailable in Chicago--at least to the best of my knowledge.
        Salt cod, however, is quite easily found. One need not go very far, either. In fact, the Del Rey grocery at Foster/Broadway frequently has it. They have concluded (for reasons I don't quite understand) that Andersonville, where I live, is a Hispanic neighborhood but I am nonetheless grateful--it makes a whole grocery of specialized fresh products available that otherwise would require a little bit of a jaunt. I hadn't ever associated salt cod with Mexican cuisine, but never look a gift horse....
        Good luck--when you open a Portuguese restaurant, I can almost guarantee your success here.
        PS If any knowledgeable hounds/houndettes/houndistas know of a place, PLEASE write!

        1. Nionio,

          Unfortunately there are no, to my knowledge, Portugese restaurants in Chicago, which is our loss. My wife and I were in Toronto last year and I would agree Chiado is an excellent restaurant, but wouldn't go so far as 'one of the best in North America.' We also had an incredible lunch at Amadeus, a Portugese restaurant in the Kensington Market area. I'll link to my short review on the Toronto Chow board.

          Speaking of best restaurant in North America, it seems like every fourth restaurant in Toronto labels itself best in North America, Lai Wah Heen, in the Metropolitan hotel, made a point as we walked in to say they had the best dim sum in North America. OK, it was pretty good, very upscale dim sum, but I'll take Tong Kiang in San Francisco for dim sum any day and spot Lai Wah Heen points.

          I really like Toronto, it's a lot like Chicago, but everyone is polite, speaks in full sentences and your money goes farther.