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Portuguese, Anyone?

I just came back from an amazing trip to Portugal (Lisboa/Lisbon), Spain (Seville, Grandada, Toledo, Madrid, Marbela) and Morocco (Tangier). With perhaps the exception of two breakfast buffets (scrambled eggs should never be served in the consistency of soup!:}) and one so-so meal at the end, all of the food was amazing. I have yet to try tapas in the city but as I already know of its existence I figured I would ask the board if they know of any Portuguese places. (I'm starting to think that Portugual is the Canada to Spain!) True, I did prefer the Spanish tapas to what I had in Lisbon, but what I did have was really good- flaky custard tarts (similar to greek pastry without the syrup), grilled sardines and bread soup. I'm interested in trying out what I missed as I was only in Portugual for 2 days and I am sure their cuisine is more expansive than that. (I did hear about piri-piri chicken but did not have a chance to try it) I am sure Brazilian cuisine has some similarities but I am sure it is also very different. Menupages has nothing- can you help? I like the simplicity of it- REALLY good olive oil and REALLY good bread.
PS- Tangier was very dirty and poverty stricken (I am very glad I saw it though), but the food was incredible. I was afraid that the "belly dancing evening entertainment" would be cheesier than anything at Disney World, but they proved me wrong:} They also served the best couscous I ever had. Also, drive just 30 minutes to the coastal Assilah and you could be in the Greek Islands.

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  1. I'm not a big fan of Portuguese food (Spanish cuisine is generally more refined & varied), but the best I've had in the area is in Newark's Ironbound at Tony da Caneca.

    I wouldn't recommend Alfama in the West Village, which is mediocre & expensive. I haven't tried Tintol, the midtown Portuguese tapas place, but it has had some good reports here.

    Brazilian food is very different from Portuguese. There are a bunch of Brazilian places on 46th Street between 5th & 6th. Emporium Brazil is pretty good.

    http://petercherches.blogspot.com

    1. alfama in the west village is probably your best bet for a nice portuguese dinner. the party i went with had the chourico, stone-grilled filet, a bacalhau dish, and a really good cataplana dish. it was all good, medium price range, nice, if not really portuguese, decor. zagat gave it a 23-21-23-$45. here's a menupages link to it: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

      tintol is a new portuguese tapas restaurant in (believe it or not) times square. this has quickly become my favorite place for a pre- or post-theatre bite, though i've heard people complain that it's not the place to get a whole meal. search this board for more reviews and specific dishes. i liked the old standbys, the chourico, and the piquillo peppers with bacalhau. also, don't forget to get some vinho verde (the murhales at tintol is one of the better ones i've had). menupages link: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

      1. Alfama is overpriced, but the food's good and portions ok. I would say the food is more nouvelle (read cute and pricey) rather than authentic. I've had better Portuguese food in East Providence RI at half the price. I don't like their habit of trying to pour your wine for you. That stopped after they did it once.

        1. Agreed on Tintol (46th st.) The owner, Jose Merailles (?) is Portugeuse and truly a professor of Portuguese cooking. Everything we tried on a recent visit was very good, with the prok belly a stand out.

          1. The pastry you describe is called a "Natas" (pronounced natash). There are many bakeries in Newark, a quick walk from Penn Station, that sell fantastic ones, almost as good as in Belem (I actually brought home 10 from Lisbon once, didn't hold up too well.) They are best fresh from the oven and sprinkled w/cinnamon (canela). Otherwise the only place I ever ate here that compared to food in Portugal was Luzia's on the Upper West Side, 429 Amsterdam Ave Btwn 80th & 81st St. I remember their pork and clams being amazing, and I was with my Portugues boyfriend at the time who agreed. It has been a few years, but I would check it out. Here's the menupages link:
            http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

            4 Replies
            1. re: esyle

              The Natas, or custard filled tarts are absolutely delicious. I used to get them in a
              Portugese store in New Rochelle, but the store is now long gone. Where can I get these?
              Hounds, it's worth the trip for these, believe me. I guess I'll be going to Newark.
              Ironbound here I come. http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/sho...

              Image: http://ummundomagico.blogs.sapo.pt/ar... ... I am psyched.
              They are about 2 to 2 1/2 inches or so in diameter. Two bites and they are history. Deliciousness from the Portugese culture (especially if with a hint of lemon or lime).

              1. re: Cheese Boy

                These look a lot like the "Portuguese-style" egg custard tarts I often see in Chinese bakeries. I'm sure they're not the same, but it might tide you over for now. I've had them at Taipan Bakery on Canal near Mulberry, and they're good. I think the Chinese in Macau adopted the Portuguese style. I didn't do exhaustive research, but here's a Wikipedia article:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_tart...

                I love the part where it says, "There was a craze of Portuguese-style egg tarts in Singapore and Taiwan in the late 1990s."

                1. re: AppleSister

                  I also found a recipe:
                  http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                  The website in general has lots of Portuguese recipes. I've made the pasteis de bacalhau, the fried codfish balls. Yum.

                  1. re: AppleSister

                    Ah yes, the Portugese and their salted cod. Some of the best and most sought cod in the world believe it or not. (Norwegians will also admit to that).

                    I WILL try a Chinese version of the Portugese NATAS. I'm amazed of the craze, but I'm not surprised, because they are really really good.