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Portugalia or Atasca?? please help me choose

looking for the best portugese restaurant...
Portugalia or Atasca?? please help me choose (or if you have better choice then these 2)..
Thanks in advance
- Perceptor

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  1. What are you looking for: a business dinner, something that appeals to a wide range of tastes, a specific Portuguese dish, etc? Atasca tries the hardest to be a high end restaurant, although the service can sometimes doesn't meet up. Its got a wider variety of small plates, its a decent setting for business (both are loud when full), and offers a broader menu for more tastes. Portugalia is one of the nicer homestyle Portuguese restaurants. Dishes will come close to serving two people. They do particularly good renditions of the most traditional Portuguese salt cod dishes -- bacalhau a gomez de sa (potatoes and onions) e bacalhau a braz (potato sticks and eggs), as well larger portion of bacalhau a lagareiro and another less comon salt cod dish. Their meat dishes have always been a miss for me and there are some seafood clunkers (the camarao a africana, which is excellent at Sunset using head-on shrimp is a basic portuguese shrimp saute here), but largely seafood is a good bet here. In fact, while they specialize in food from Northern Portugal, instead of doing feijoada a transmontanha, they do a seafood version. And they have seafood rice dishes and creme de mariscos (not really my thing, though). Both use traditional serving dishes, but Atasca has cataplanas.

    Both have unique dishes, Atasca is a bit higher end, and for a lot of people is the right choice. But if you are looking for best execution of certain dishes, perhaps better value (the braz and gomez de sa are on Portugalia's lunch menu and a deal), Portugalia might be better and you are more likely to see me there (as much because of some real service no nos at the Kendall Atasca, but the food is more interesting to me eating around the misses) . You will run into Portuguese at both, but if you want to really feel like you are in Portugal Casa Portugal and JJ's are potentially even better options with their own certain specialties (the latter being a lot more informal). Con Sol is also a bit more intimate and offers a variety of small plates, maybe a good date place although I really haven't been enough (and it was inconsistent) to strongly encourage it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: itaunas

      what great advice/recommendation Itaunas... thank you...

      1. re: itaunas

        So I am coming from SF bay area and have never really had authentic Portuguese food before. My BF and I are foodies and very adventurous eaters and would like to get a taste of real Portuguese food. Right now I am leaning toward Atasca for lunch... Is this the right choice? What should we order? (BTW, we are not big potato fans unless they are fried or heavily seasoned... plain potatoes are just not our thing although we will eat them).
        Thanks!

        1. re: lrealml

          when itaunas is describing those dishes, understand that bacalhau is salt cod, so that is the protein in the dishes with the potatoes. and portuguese style potatoes are great.

          i've been to atasca a few times. the room is pretty and they have a very nice patio. the renditions are decent, not great. the service is friendly, but if the place isn't busy, the staff tends to disappear and/or be forgetful of basics like bread and water refills.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I've had bacalao and baccala, so I am familiar. I don't really understand your comment about potatoes being good with bacalhau because they are protein... a lot of things are protein.

            What are Portuguese potatoes like? I've had some really great potatas bravas. Are they similar? I just don't normally care for baked potatoes or any kind of plain style potatoes (French Fries are great though).

            1. re: lrealml

              i apologize if i misunderstood your comment. when you said you didn't really like potatoes, i thought you inferred the described dishes were only potatoes and onions or potatoes and eggs.

              the potatoes are generally not spicy, like bravas, and come different ways with different dishes. but generally cooked with plenty of olive oil and salt. in a dish like bacalhau a braz they soak up all the juicy goodness. :) it's peasant food, and mostly those cuisines know their way around spuds.

      2. Casa Portugal on Cambridge st. is my favorite.

        1 Reply
        1. re: inmanchick

          So Casa Portugal over Portugalia ?

        2. I went to Astaca about 2 months ago and I was very disappointed. The bread that they gave us at the start of the meal was actually stale which is always a bad start. We ordered their big rice dish filled with meat and seafood which takes 40 mins to prepare, happy to wait after ordering a bottle of decently priced red wine, however it came out with bad seafood, severely dried out chicken and rice that tasted like it came from a mix. Maybe it was an off night but it was a real let down.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shellicopter

            Hate to say, but I've had mixed (not quite as bad as above) experiences at Atasca myself and don't really go any more.

          2. Since this old post got revived, can I ask advice on a specific dish? I've been craving carne de porco alentejana lately. I've had the dish at Atasca a while ago, so I was hoping to try someplace new. I'm leaning towards Casa Portugal unless someone has a better suggestion.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ali G

              O'Fado in Peabody does the most amazing version.