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Jul 27, 2006 08:42 PM

O Cantinho (YUM YUM!)

Aps (5-8$) and Entrée’s (14-19$) Beer (3.50$)

Wow, it has been a while since I’ve really had a meal that everything I’ve ordered was an absolute treat to eat. Me and my girl went on a Wednesday night and when we walked in it was pretty much empty. I had a strange feeling about that, as my first impressions of a place are usually based on how many people are eating there. Anyway, we went on despite the lack of patrons. I had read on this board that they served stewed octopus and was disappointed when I didn’t find that option. We ended up getting three small plates and one entrée to share: Fava Beans, calf liver, and finally some steamed mussels. My favorite was the calf liver while my date loved the mussels. The calf liver had a great steaky taste that dissolved into a really nice liver texture. The mussels were cooked perfectly and were served in an amazing broth with tons of onions on top. Both of us agreed that the Fava beans were amazing and it would be the only thing we would order again if we ever return. We clean platted the aps (even soaking up the sauce with the delicious white bread they gave to us when we sat down) and were pretty much full and then our entrée of Salmon came out. It was one of the largest pieces of Salmon I’ve ever seen served in a restaurant. I work at a seafood restaurant and this piece of fish looked like twice the size of anything we would ever serve. We ended up looking at it and grumbled a little bit about how maybe we might have over ordered. Then we tasted it and ended up finishing it. It had a nice light lemon sauce with a rich dill flavor that goes really well with Salmon. Though we both really enjoyed it, we would both get something different next time. Overall it was one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in a while.

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  1. O Cantinho is one of my favorite places. It's a very enjoyable dining experience. Good food, good prices,friendly service. I got to go back asap. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Glad you liked O Cantinho...try the squid appetizer next time. The bread is great in the squid sauce....not to mention the fava beans, as I guess you discovered. Also try the pasteis de nata (I seem to mention these in every post I write). The restaurant is almost always empty when I go there, even on weekends, but I always have had great service and good if not excellent food. It shouldn't be empty though.....I hope they are still getting enough business

      Dave MP

      1. O Cantinho is very good. I went for the second time today. I was sad to see it empty--it's definitely an underhyped, underappreciated place. I haven't been this happy with my meal for the money in a while. Not saying it's incredible--but it's a quaint place with good service and accessible, tasty food. I'd say this is my favorite restaurant in Inman Square, just ahead of Muqueca.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fenian

          I have to wholeheartedly agree. The way they deal with seafood is really excellent. Their sangria is wonderful and their service rocks. Also, very good value for the money.

          1. re: gini

            Yes, I had two seafood dishes--the squid appetizer with fried polenta and the baked cod. The appetizer reminded me of a mushroom and fried polenta appetizer I had at Hamersley's for $10 more (though it wasn't quite as good as Hamersley's). The cod was huge, and baked to a good, flaky texture. Also really liked the homemade potato chips that came along with it.

        2. How is O Cantinho compared to nearby Casa Portugal? I ate at Casa Portugal last week and I feel bad to report that I was not wowed by the pork and littleneck clam dish, which has been raved about many times by Hounds. Is this "the" place to order that dish?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Prav

            I HATED Casa Portugal my one time there.

              1. re: Prav

                I have eaten a few times at O Cantinho and also at Casa Portugal. I found O Cantinho much beter. I travelled in Portugal for 2 months and find O Cantinho to be quite authentic considering it is hard to get the exact ingredients here.

              2. In my opinion, Casa Portugal is the Portugese equivalent to a red sauce Italian joint. Comfort-food, but not particularly finely crafted. The ingredients at O Cantinho are fresher and the recipes, execution, creativity, and taste have it all over Casa. They fill different needs entirely, only one of which I have.