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Really Good Portuguese

sablemerle Mar 23, 2009 08:41 PM

My SO and I are always looking for different cuisines we can try --- we can't afford to travel, so try to expand our horizons through food, at least until our financial responsibilities lighten (i.e., the kids move out).

It's occurred to me that, although we're lifelong Southern New Englanders, we have never been to a Portuguese restaurant. Where should we go, and, just as importantly, what should we order?

I am interested in trying mainland Portuguese, Azores, or Cape Verde, in the Boston area.

  1. t
    taxi Mar 26, 2009 11:07 AM

    O'Fado's in Peabody.

    1. MeffaBabe Mar 26, 2009 09:45 AM

      East Cambridge still has a large Portuguese community and places to eat...

      3 Replies
      1. re: MeffaBabe
        itaunas Mar 26, 2009 10:14 AM

        FWIW, here is a post which discusses the Portuguese shops in East Cambridge and the restaurants more or less follow this path. Snack Bar (Azorean) and Portugalia (O Porto/Northern Portugal/Seafood) near Central Bakery, Sunset Cafe near Pires Mkt, and Casa Portugal just past Casal.


        There is a lot of good discussion of Portuguese food from a lot of hounds that can be found in the archives (among them aromatherapy, striperguy, galleygirl, danincambridge, mcslimjb, and Louis). I have a few thoughts about the question "what to eat" which I will try to post. Note that Moqueca and Midwest Grill are Brazilian restaurants (part of the lusophone world, but so is Angola, Goa, and Macau) -- Moqueca does do several Portuguese dishes, but I would go to both for Brazilian and not necessarily Portuguese food.

        For the Vinho Verde lovers, there is a lot more out there than just Casal Garcia. Also VV is a DOC, there are other regions of Portugal which make interesting wines (not all in the same style) using the same grapes, particularly Alvarinho (also planted in parts of Spain).

        1. re: itaunas
          sfumato Mar 26, 2009 11:03 AM

          My point about the Casal Garcia is that I KNOW how much a case costs retail, so it's hard to cough up triple that in a restaurant (as it is with many wines).

          Thanks for the thread link!

          1. re: sfumato
            itaunas Mar 26, 2009 11:18 AM

            Understood, I didn't take issue with that comment. However, larger markups for less expensive wines are quite common and Casa Portugal probably may have the best overall wine list (certainly the better Port selection) possibly at the expense of higher markups. Its pretty impressive though that Portuguese restaurants still offer $12-18 drinkable bottles (thinking more about the red than VV). And I have seen Oleana offer the same bottle for $28 (not current winelist) as offered for $16 in restaurants.

            WRT to O'Fado (a board favorite), I think a number of hounds owe updates since they reopened (hint hint). I had one nice meal for a Portuguese steak, but we recently had both a caldeirada and sandwich which should not have been served. I had been waiting the better part of the year for that caldeirada and I hope next visit is better.

      2. Snoop37 Mar 24, 2009 07:18 AM

        I just noticed the last sentence of your post and for Cape Verdean there's an awesome place in Dorchester called Restaurante Cesaria ... very affordable and delicious Cape Verdean. I think there's a possibility I'm getting food there tonight.

        1. h
          hckybg Mar 23, 2009 09:22 PM

          Many good Portuguese and Brazilian restaurants (and cafes, fish shops, and stores) are in Inman Square and the few blocks to the east, just about ten minutes north of the Central Station T stop. There are definitely some experts on the boards who will hopefully find your post, but I would recommend Muqueca as the most interesting of the Portuguese places in the Inman area. Midwest Grill, an all-you-can-eat spit roasted meat restaurant (with some good stuff on steam trays) is also fun, and Casa Portugal is pretty straight forward and dependable.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hckybg
            celestialmundane Mar 24, 2009 06:35 AM

            Yes to Casa Portugal -- a lovely family restaurant. My family has taken me there for the past two Mother's Days -- every one dressed up and bubbly. It pleased my teenage son that we were the only folks there who weren't speaking Portugese.

            1. re: celestialmundane
              sfumato Mar 25, 2009 12:09 PM

              Casa Portugal seconded (thirded? fourthded? :)). Mr. Sfumato's Portuguese family really likes to go there when they want certain dishes (or just a trip out).

              The only thing I can't manage to do there is pay $14 for the bottle of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde that I can buy at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for $3.99/4.99!

              1. re: sfumato
                Taralli Mar 25, 2009 12:30 PM

                I'm with you on the fizzy VV.

          2. Snoop37 Mar 23, 2009 09:00 PM

            I can't really think of many Portuguese restaurants in the area... but there it Atasca in Kendall Square and the Neighborhood Restaurant in Somerville is pretty good, but they are only open for breakfast and lunch.

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