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Roasted Suckling Pig done to PERFECTION!!!

bcmchong Jan 31, 2010 12:35 PM

So excited to find and thus share this diamond in the rough.

Just drove up to Elizabeth to Casa Do Leitao (http://casadoleitao.com/casadoleitao.... and got me a true suckling pig, not a roasted whole pig faking as 'Roasted Suckling Pig' but a TRUE suckling pig! Skin is done to perfection and not fatty at all. Meat was tender and juicy. Price for whole was reasonable, about $140 and the best part is they will sell it however you want it. A half, a quarter or by the pound and you don't have to order ahead. They are closed on Mondays but they have suckling pig every day. Best to call ahead so that you'll know when the next batch is coming out of the oven.

Place was spotless too, whoever the guy was behind the counter, owner or manager... he was very friendly and polite.

Highly recommended. Area wasn't the best but the immediately block seemed fine. I did take-out but have not eaten there yet. I'll report back once I do.

If anyone ventures there please let me know what you thought.

Casa DO Leitao
307 Walnut St, Elizabeth, NJ 07201

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  1. j
    joonjoon RE: bcmchong Feb 1, 2010 08:19 AM


    Those pigs...omg those pigs...I'm so there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: joonjoon
      bcmchong RE: joonjoon Feb 1, 2010 06:28 PM

      When I got there, those babies were ten minutes from being done... and when I got my order, it was still piping hot. I took a fork and tapped the skin... let's just say, you won't be disappointed. Planning on going back there on Friday for more. Can't wait!

    2. j
      jmoryl RE: bcmchong Feb 1, 2010 12:33 PM

      Thanks for the report. One question: do they have a licence or is it BYO. BTW, the thing to drink with leitao is sparkling red wine from Bairrada.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jmoryl
        bcmchong RE: jmoryl Feb 1, 2010 06:26 PM

        From what I could see is they do have a liquor license so it is not BYO. Sorry.

        1. re: bcmchong
          jmoryl RE: bcmchong Feb 3, 2010 08:16 AM

          That is OK: I just wanted to know if I should bother to pick up a bottle before going. BTW, one of their website photos shows has a bottle of sparkling red Bairrada, so I guess they may have it available.

      2. f
        fourunder RE: bcmchong Feb 1, 2010 08:23 PM


        I see from your history you have also enjoyed Chinese Baby Pig. Looking at the pictures in the link, the skin doesn't seem exactly the same in appearance, so my question is this. Which version do you think is better and which skin is more delectable?

        In the past, I have had very many ethnic versions of roast pig......I find Chinese Roast Pig to have the best crispy skin.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fourunder
          bcmchong RE: fourunder Feb 20, 2010 03:06 PM

          fourunder, I've had both and I have to say that at Casa Do Leitao I was not disappointed. The skin is done to perfection. Since it is a suckling pig there's just a little fat, but just the right amount. I prefer it to the Chinese crispy skin roast pork since it could be a little on the fatty side. The owner/chef, Joe is super friendly and seems like the only one that speak English there. Make sure you call ahead b'cuz the suckling pig goes quickly. People stop in and by slabs of it. So call and reserve your order. Also the restaurant is pretty small so call ahead and see if they have a table.
          I also tried their desserts and found them really delicious!

          1. re: bcmchong
            fourunder RE: bcmchong Feb 22, 2010 05:28 AM


            Thanks for responding and the insight. I plan to give it a try soon. Here's another place I read about......but they only serve on Sundays. The following is copied and pasted from nj.com.

            Cuisines: Portuguese
            665 Monroe Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07201

            6006. Roast Suckling Pig
            by bybybybye, 2/21/10 15:06 ET
            I just wanted to give you guys the heads up on the Valenca Restaurant in North Elizabeth.

            Every Sunday they slowly roast Suckling Pigs in their Brick Ovens from early morning till the evening. These are so good that all the surrounding restaurants in the area buy these pigs from Valenca. If you go in the later afternoon, you'll be lucky to experience one of this crispy suckling Piggies. If you go in the early afternoon, they are usually out of them, because thats the batches the restaurants pick up.I traveled around Spain two years ago and thought that they made the best Pig I've ever tasted. Guess what I was wrong. Valenca beats the restaruants in Spain. If you love crispy Roast Pork with tons of flavor like I do, you've got to try this place.

            1. re: fourunder
              bcmchong RE: fourunder Feb 28, 2010 12:23 PM

              So I did the trek up to Elizabeth today to pick up my order of Suckling Pig which I put in yesterday morning. I wasn't disappointed but I wasn't more impressed than what I had at Casa do Leitao. In fact from a customer service stand point I prefer Casa Do Leitao since Valenca was a bit of a mad house. It was super busy and there was a wait even though I put the order in a day ahead. The pig was good but I think that b'cuz they have such high volumes, quality is not quite there. Just my two cents - take it for what it's worth.

        2. Duppie RE: bcmchong Apr 27, 2010 10:04 AM

          Had a very nice lunch at Casa do Leitao on Sunday, We got lost and called the restaurant and got Angela who spoke no English but transferred us to Rick who then directed us all the way to the front door and was waiting to make sure we got parking. Nice.
          Casa do Leitao is basically a catering and take out operation with a small, spotless,tidy dining room with 7 tables set with white table cloths and 6 stools at a well appointed and stocked bar.
          Between our stumbling Portuguese and Spanish we ordered a full order of suckling pig which came with a simple but very fresh green salad with onions and a huge portion of fried potatoes.
          The pig was golden brown,succulent with a thin layer of fat and seasoned with vinegar,garlic and salt. excellent .
          Next we had the ever popular shrimp in garlic sauce, while the shrimp was cooked perfectly, the sauce is the reason to order this dish. White wine,olive oil,lemon juice,smoked paprika and just the right amount of garlic sopped up with fresh Portuguese rolls.
          The pork with clams was next,and while I have had this dish from Nazare to the Ironbound section, this one stood out in it's simplicity, cubes of fatty pork and plump clams sauteed in wine, garlic and shallots with fried potato cubes and pickled peppers,carrots and young cauliflower.
          We really love this place because the dishes are simple but honest in it's ingredients and seasoning and reminded us so much of the small family restaurants of Portugal.
          Call ahead on weekends and while we were too full for dessert,every thing is made there and you must check out their selection of Ports and 1/2 bottles of wine.
          Definitely a find. ps: Rick and Angela were delightful.even with the language barrier.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Duppie
            jmoryl RE: Duppie Apr 28, 2010 09:39 AM

            I too had lunch here on Sunday and just want to second what you write. While sitting at the bar I got to watch the owner's son (would this be Rick?) prepare several leitao for takeout and to cut up one for the dining room guests. Clearly people who take pride in what they do. I have spoken with the owner Joe (or would it be Joao?) on both of my visits - he will give you the lowdown on what is available in both food and wine. Because it takes a couple hours to roast a pig, it is good to call ahead to see if one will be available for dining in. The wine selection is good for a small place and reasonably priced too. While I haven't tried it, they also use free-range chickens if you are so inclined. A real chowhound type place, IMO.

            1. re: jmoryl
              Duppie RE: jmoryl Apr 28, 2010 09:53 AM

              Were you the gentleman with the longer hair and the whole bottle of red? I remember telling my wife that it looks like another Hounder/Yelper was checking out the place.
              I was really surprised how well stocked and appointed the bar was considering that it would only fit 25 to 30 diners at 1 sitting.

              1. re: Duppie
                jmoryl RE: Duppie Apr 28, 2010 02:11 PM

                Yes, that was me. BTW, I asked for a half bottle of wine and Joe opened a full bottle for me and told me to drink what I wanted and he would charge me for what I had. Turned out to be a nice Alentejano red and very reasonably priced as well. The traditional wine to accompany Leitao is a sparkling red from Bairrada, which they also serve.

                1. re: jmoryl
                  Duppie RE: jmoryl Apr 28, 2010 04:47 PM

                  I was happy with a Ice cold Super Bock and a chilled glass.

          2. Ike RE: bcmchong May 10, 2010 11:48 AM

            Anybody know how Casa Do Leitao's pig compares to any roast suckling pig in the Ironbound in Newark? I heard it's good at Seabra's Marisqueira. Anybody have any favorite places for this dish in the Ironbound? (For my group, the Ironbound is much more easily accessible than Elizabeth, although if a bunch of people tell me that Casa Do Leitao's pig is 100 times better than anything in the Ironbound then maybe I'll consider it.)

            Seabra's Marisqueira
            87 Madison St, Newark, NJ 07105

            7 Replies
            1. re: Ike
              buttertart RE: Ike May 10, 2010 11:57 AM

              I've had the suckling pig at least 10 times at Seabra's Marisqueira and love it. The pan sauce with it is delicious and the fried potatoes a nice contrast in crispiness to the skin. I don't think they have the sparkling Bairrada to go with it (that would be brilliant, must try it) but they have other reasonably-priced reds. Great restaurant, you could be in the Bairro Alto when you're there.

              Seabra's Marisqueira
              87 Madison St, Newark, NJ 07105

              1. re: buttertart
                Ike RE: buttertart May 10, 2010 12:43 PM

                Thanks Buttertart! So, about how many people would you say the suckling pig at Seabra's will serve? Is one pig enough for about 8-10 people to get a decent serving if we order a bunch of seafood and some other entrees to go with it?

              2. re: Ike
                Duppie RE: Ike May 10, 2010 12:47 PM

                Seabra's has been my "GoTo" restaurant in Newark even before I moved to NJ and is still one of my very favorites.
                It is hard to say which pig is "better" because they are so different. Seabra's lechon is made from a more mature and larger pig and offers more subcutaneous fat as well as thicker skin.
                The suckling pig at Casa do Leitao is no more than 14 lbs, thin skinned, less fat but is more moist,subtle and flavorful than their older and larger counterparts.
                The dining experience is totally different because Seabra's is a real family restaurant and offers it's diners a comprehensive menu while the dining room in Casa do Leitao and menu is more of an afterthought to their takeout and catering business.
                In essence, you go to Seabra's to experience a wide range of Portuguese food and have a raucous good time and introduce some friends to the simple pleasures of Portuguese cooking and Casa do Leitao to relax, linger in their small but well appointed dining room' eat pig,snack on home made sausage,enjoy a bottle of Tinto,espresso with a cognac chaser and home made desserts then drive home satisfied, fat and happy.

                1. re: Duppie
                  beariebird RE: Duppie Dec 10, 2010 07:32 PM

                  Sorry to reply to an old thread, but I just found this and am fascinated. I plan to order a few items for a dinner party I'm hosting. For those of you who have visited in person and seen the pigs, can you gauge whether two whole pigs (and a TON of sides) would be enough for a group of 25 adults? I tried asking the restaurant, but they were very vague and didn't want to give me an exact answer, stating that a pig can feed anywhere from 6-10 people. I plan to get the pigs, rice, veggies, and bread, and a few orders of the chourico, chicken, shrimp in garlic sauce, and one of the codfish as well.

                  Thanks in advance!

                  1. re: beariebird
                    Duppie RE: beariebird Dec 11, 2010 03:45 AM

                    We had 2 for my birthday with a number of sides for about 25 people and it was gone with no leftovers but got the Bacalao and pork with clams from Seabra's instead although I really like the homemade chorizo at Casa do Leitao better.
                    One hint. ask for a bottle of "Mang Thomas" lachon sauce or pick one up at any asian grocery instead because their sauce is just too salty.

                    1. re: Duppie
                      beariebird RE: Duppie Dec 14, 2010 09:46 AM

                      Thanks for your input Duppie! Just as an update, I got really frustrated with dealing with Casa Do Leitao when calling (people did not speak English well, and for some reason kept hanging up on my concierge service when they called to translate for me) so I ended up ordering from Valenca. The customer service made the experience much smoother, and they were able to answer my questions about portion sizes and ordering an adequate amount. Strangely enough, it was cheaper too! I'll give an update after my dinner party on Saturday!

                      1. re: beariebird
                        Duppie RE: beariebird Dec 14, 2010 10:34 AM

                        That's too bad... We had a similar problem but after insisting on talking to another person we were able to find the owner's son who was terrific. I am not familiar with Valenca so I look forward to your post after the party. If you're still ordering the Bacalao from Seabra and depending on your guests taste you will want to get 3 orders because they gave me a total of 1/2 of a large salt cod with all the fixings and well worth it.

              3. b
                BigBlue120 RE: bcmchong Jul 10, 2012 08:12 AM

                Are these guys still open and good?

                3 Replies
                1. re: BigBlue120
                  bcmchong RE: BigBlue120 Jul 10, 2012 08:56 AM

                  They should be still open. Give them a call - http://casadoleitao.com/casadoleitao_...

                  They are consistently good!!!

                  1. re: BigBlue120
                    jmoryl RE: BigBlue120 Jul 10, 2012 09:07 AM

                    As an aside, Joao, the owner, suddenly passed away last year. I think I may have mentioned it elsewhere on Chowhound. When I last visited, his sons appeared to be running the show, and the pig was still quite good. I miss Joao, and hope the family can make a go of things.

                    1. re: BigBlue120
                      rujak RE: BigBlue120 Aug 20, 2012 06:40 AM

                      Has anyone been there recently? Called on a Tuesday and they said (I think) they are only open on Friday to Sunday. Call on Friday and said they don't have suckling pig on Fridays, only on the weekend. Call back on Sunday and they said they were not open today?!?.......I'm so confuse.

                    2. i
                      italianices RE: bcmchong Sep 15, 2013 08:21 AM

                      Love the food at this place, but since I hadn't eaten here in a while I decided to stop by recently. Unfortunately, the place was closed and had a "For Rent" sign in the window. I'm guessing this means that the restaurant is permanently shuttered or has moved to a different location.

                      Also, their website's domain name has expired, so no help on that front.

                      A quick google search reveals that there's a Portuguese roast suckling pig restaurant named Casa do Leitao in nearby Roselle Park:


                      Since it has the exact same name and is in relatively close proximity to Elizabeth, I'm wondering if this place is run by the same people.

                      Anyone know if this is the case?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: italianices
                        drongo RE: italianices Sep 15, 2013 02:06 PM

                        The address listed on Yelp is in a completely residential neighbourhood.

                        1. re: italianices
                          jmoryl RE: italianices Sep 16, 2013 09:26 AM

                          If you read my comment above from July 2012, you would know that Joao, the owner, died. His sons were running things for awhile, but were pretty non-commital about what the future held (they were college age guys). So it appears they finally wound things down. Too bad, because it was the best leitao around. I think the address in Roselle Park is an error.

                          1. re: jmoryl
                            italianices RE: jmoryl Sep 20, 2013 07:49 AM

                            Upon closer inspection, the Yelp address for Casa do Leitao is indeed wrong: it's supposed to be a listing for the restaurant's one and only storefront in Elizabeth rather than a non-existent location in Roselle Park. The imbecile that created the page mistakenly indicated Roselle Park as the town, which was the reason for my confusion.

                            Otherwise, the information on that Yelp page matches the listed street address and phone number for Casa do Leitao in Elizabeth: 309 Walnut Street; (908) 659-0234.

                            Can't believe I didn't catch that. I'm also perplexed that the guy who created the Yelp page could mix up an inner city neighborhood of Elizabeth with suburban Roselle Park.

                            And btw jmoryl, I did read your post below about Joao's passing before creating my post above. :) I was just hoping against hope that maybe the business had moved rather than closed for good.

                            Now I'm wondering where I'm going to get my leitao fix. This place was so much better than any of the other Portuguese restaurants in the Elizabeth/Newark area.

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