Cafe Funchal in New Bedford,MA
Given the depth of selections for Portugese Cuisine, throughout the New Bedford area, it is not uncommon to overlook some of the real treasures in the area. Cafe Funchal, and Lydia's Bakery are just two of the relatively unexplored pleasures that can be found along Acushnet Ave.
Lunch at the "Funchal" was, as usual, close to perfect. The owner/chefs have put together a menu that features some of the finest "Maderia style" Portugese dishes to be found off the island itself. An appetizer of Fava Beans, cooked fresh to order, with bits of home made chorizo, were extraordinary. We followed that with a freshly made soup for two, known as: Acorda Madeirenese. It is a thick bread & garlic soup, flavored with fresh thyme, peppers and poached eggs. Unbeliveably good! The entres of Bacalhau de Gome Sa,(Codfish, potatoes & eggs) and Barbequed Meat Madeira style,(seasoned, skewered, tender, juicy sirloin tips) were both specials for the day. Portion sizes are huge, and "Take Home" packages will definately make another meal. Here is the website for them:
Although they also serve dessert, it is impossible to resist finishing with coffee and a slice of coconut flan cake, at Lydias, which is just a couple of doors away. Lydia's Bakery, is the equal of Mikes, and the Modern, in Boston without the Cannoli's, and other well known Italian delicacies. Their fine pastries, have reached the top of the art form. We have never been able to leave empty handed.
That said, the food of this area, Bristol County, which includes New Bedford and Fall River, is so good, that it is worth a special trip of at least a half day, if not a whole day. The area is rich in historical, as well as cultural legacies, and should be explored, by many more people, from nearby Boston, & Providence.
My sons and I had a late Sunday lunch at Funchal. Be warned that it is not located in a homey, ethnic neighborhood and that the restaurant is not charming. It is a banquet palace with a humongous bar with about 10 huge screens blaring. The main dining room is quiet, but so huge that it may intimidating if the place is mostly empty. We got mostly Portuguese dishes. The food was good, but not great. I would try a different place next time.
re: tarte tatin
Cafe Funchal just moved to their new location on Church Street. It was located on Acushnet Avenue in a much more ethnic part of town and it was also a lot smaller. I also think the quality of food was much better. Since they have moved to their enormous new location, things have slid a little.