Ferry Street, Newark
Haven't been there recently (but plan to go soon).
Don Pepe's was very good the last time I went (portions huge). Vibe is very "old school" '50's family restaurant. There are other great ones but I can't remember the names.
If you mean Brazilian Portuguese, Brasilia (on Ferry) used to be very good.
Never had bad food in Newark
If either of these have gone down hill, others will say so I am sure.
Iberia was the restaurant I would judge other Portuguese places by but their quality has gone down over the last few years. Their lobster deal is the best ever and they usually have some monsters 8-15 lbs. DONT GET THE STONE CRAB IT IS INEDIBLE.
I ate at Don Pepe's in the last few months and I thought it was great. For some reason the food seemed to need salt which is unusual for a Portuguese place. It's not on Ferry St but it is probably worth checking out. Great sangria and a cool bar.
The most consistent (and expensive) Portuguese place in Newark is Forno's Of Spain. It is notoriously difficult to get a table there without a tip for the Matre D even with a reservation but the food is top notch. The service and decor is a step up above the others too. Couldn't find a website:
Forno's of Spain Restaurant 47 Ferry St Newark, NJ 07105
I guess I would advise you to try Iberia first (and get the lobster - even for an app). If you like it plan a trip and save up to grease the doorman at Forno's. There are many other Portuguese restaurants in Newark - a Portuguese guy I work with is trying to get me to go to Fernandez but it's in the hood and hard to get to with public transport - but these three are probably the most well known and worth trying. Hope this helps, Pete.
Personally I've always found Iberia and Don Pepe's to be underwhelming and bland, and in my opinion Forno's is not even as good as those two. For Portuguese seafood go to Seabra's Marisqueira on Madison St. instead. I believe Seabra's Rodizio is also somewhere in the vicinity. For outstanding Spanish food of a sort not dissimilar to Portuguese, go to Casa Vasca on Elm St., which has gotten many favorable notices on this board. It's a longer walk from Newark Penn Station than Iberia or Forno's, but worth it. Do a control-F search on this board or the Tristate board for "Newark" or "Ironbound" and you should find many other posts on this topic.
re: Ike Hull a.k.a. D'Argo
Although I have been a patron of Casa Vasca for about 20 years, I have to report that I was not impressed by my two most recent visits. While the management remains the same, the food just isn't up to their original standards, IMHO. The food at Casa Vasca seems to have become fairly pedestrian and it just wasn't exciting or even well-prepared on my recent visits. As a result, Seabra's various restaurants are probably better bets for good food at this point than Casa Vasca.
Iberia is crowded and noisy, but is still pretty decent, at least in my experience. As to Fornos, as good as it may be, it is just too difficult to get seated there in my opinion. (NOTE: There is no apostrophe in the name of the restaurant. Forno means "oven", so the name, Fornos of Spain, means "Ovens of Spain". Would "Oven's of Spain" make sense? I think not.)
saturday night at 9pm ... showed up at Ibera ... ordereded a $15 pitcher of Sangria .. waited 10 minutes after the "bus boy" put a wilted salad in front of us ... I asked about what I'd get for the $32 lobster special ... menu notes 4 to 10 lb. lobsters for $9.00 / pound ... had to wait for a waiter to explain .. sipping sangria... Waiter shows up .. 2 1lb. twins for $32 .... no 2 or 3 pound lobsters .... the $9/pound started at 6 pounds ...
... walked out and went to Seabra's Marisqueira ... it was OK ... I'd go back ... lobster was better than my recent visit to Franciso's Centro Vasco
... but where is the value delicious lobster ... ????
I'd make another trip to Newark .... anybody remember the Robert E. Lee around South River, NJ ... I'd travel further for something like that again ...