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Jun 15, 2010 01:21 PM

Portuguese (or Azorean) Restaurant Recommendations?

I've lived in Boston for a while, and somehow neglected to explore any of the Portuguese restaurants in the area. Any recommendations for the best Portuguese restaurants in eastern MA? Specifically, I'd love to find cuisine from the Azores (I just saw a documentary on the Azores, and became obsessed.)

Willing to travel if the food is worth it. Also, recommendations on what to order would be much appreciated!

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  1. My favorite is Estoril in Fall River, but I also like J&J in Somerville (Union Square) and Casa Portugal in Cambridge (eastern edge of Inman Square). Probably the best dish I've had from any of them is the Madeiran steak at Estoril, though I really like the pork in garlic sauce at J&J as well.

    Casa Portugal
    1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    1577 Pleasant St, Fall River, MA 02723

    2 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      These look awesome -- thanks!

      Do you know how much entrees typically run at Estoril? It looks beautiful, so I am guessing it's rather expensive?

      1577 Pleasant St, Fall River, MA 02723

      1. re: HazelShade

        It looks a bit upscale, but the prices are quite reasonable, actually. Most of the entrees are in the teens, with some being close to $10.

    2. HazelShade in Cambridge you will find that many of the better known Portugese restaurants are owned by Continental Portuguese. And more recent Azorean immigration has more heavily been to Brockton/Taunton/Fall River/East Provience than Eastern MA. (In fact there has also been a lot of movement of Portuguese from East Cambridge/Someville to the suburbs which has led o more restaurants there.)

      So if you reall want to check out Azorean specialties and influences, its worth the investment in a trip to the South Coast. Nab has recently posted links to reviews and photos from a couple of visits a little over a year ago, which included TA's, Marisqueira Azores, markets including Nobrega's, some take out options. Regional specialties like the clam boil have roots from the Azores. UMass Dartmouth also hosts some Azorean cultural events (and in Boston there is a whaling boat race a part of the Boston Portuguese Festival but that is usually held in _early_ June).

      In Cambridge its worth checking out Fernandes Fish Market for Azorean cheese, fried torresmo and other items on the weekends. The Snack Bar offers a few Azorean specials (specifically Alcatra in the style of Terceira which is almost always offered). In Somerville Cross Street Market used to offer prepared foods which was the closest to the markets in Fall River selling cacoila and stuff, but they had scaled it back to pretty basic offerings. The Azorean in Gloucester is a bit more upscale restaurant with a pan-Portugal menu, with some Azorean specials and twists -- worth the trip, but you won't find as large a diference in the menu from something like Casa Portugal or JJ's as you might Marisqueira Azores or something on the South Coast. Its continental Portuguese, but Portugalia is worth putting on your list for their salt cod dishes and some more unusual items like a seafood feijoada.

      If you keep your eye out for Portuguese festival in the Summer you can find ones which feature Azorean dancers, musicans and other stuff (the Portuguese "rancho folclorico" in Cambridge is oriented more toward the continental). Of the various festivals the Feast of the Holy Ghost (celebrated in Somerville, Fall River, some Central MA towns) is the most associated with the Azores.

      BTW, there is a decent English language reference to Portugese recipes from Ana Taveira (it moved with the Geocities close, but this appears to be a current link):

      Somethings like a cozido das furnas you need to grab a plane to the Azores and check out yourself (I still haven't, but its something I really want to).

      Casa Portugal
      1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Fernandes Fish Market
      1097 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Marisqueira Azores Restaurant
      1445 S Main St, Fall River, MA 02724

      3 Replies
      1. re: itaunas

        I was just thhinking that it would be nice if Itaunas weighed in. I expected more responses' given the strength of our Portuguese food scene.

        For a "nice" spot, I like Atasca in Kendall Sq.

        For "downscale," I had a nice bowl of kale soup and cod cakes at Senhor Ramos Snack Bar..691 Cambridge St. From the outside, it looks like and standard Italian sub shop. I think the owners are from the Azores.

        If I find myself in the Fall River area, I've had a few nice meals at the Pork Alejanta..pork and littlenecks.

        Though I enjoy it, I'm not particuolarly experienced with the cuisine and would gladly listen to more suggestions

        1. re: 9lives

          Is the original Atasca still open? I liked the atmosphere there better, but the cooks made everything much too salty. Liked the food better at Kendall but it's not as atmospheric.

          1. re: Guido

            I would second the rec for Casa Portugal. Just an overall nice place. Try the littleneck s .Bulhao Pato

            Casa Portugal
            1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      2. The original Atasca is long gone, and its successor closed, too. I also much preferred its atmosphere to the Kendall Square location.

        O Senhor Ramos has a chef/lowner from Teixeira in the Azores, and does many Azorean specialties. That's a place I had totally overlooked until it was talked about here: it looks like a dull American sub shop if you aren't paying attention when you go by.

        I've had some lovely traditional Azorean dishes there: rabbit stewed in white wine and herbs, alcatra (Azorean beef stew), dobrada (linguiça/tripe/bean stew), carne de porco à Alentejana (pork and clams: decent, but not my favorite version in East Cambridge).

        As mentioned, there are many good Azorean places in Fall River, with some Brazilian ones starting to appear. My not super up-to-date list: Sagres, Zita’s, Academica, Costa’s, Soares', Caldeira’s, the aforementioned Marisqueira, and Lusitano.

        Cape Verdean food will give you some of those flavors, too. Cesaria is still going in Dorchester, I think, though Ká Karlos closed recently. I'm going to guess that Restaurant Laura has gone by the wayside, too, but I'm not sure.

        Sagres Restaurant
        177 Columbia St, Fall River, MA 02721

        Lusitano Restaurant
        822 King Philip St, Fall River, MA 02724

        2 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          The cool thing about O Senhor Ramos/The Snack Bar is that they open and serve a full menu super early. I stopped in around 8:45AM and got some great fava stew with linguica.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I know that you're aware and that this is an old post but since this thread got the zombie treatment - it's worth noting that Snack Bar/O Senhor Ramos is under new ownership who took it pretty rapidly in the direction of normal american sub shop with various bits of Bourdain memorabilia hanging around.

          2. A bit outside Boston, but I've heard crazy good things about the Portuguese club in Stoughton from a friend who's married to a Cape Verdean. The kitchen is putting out some terrific, soulful food according to my rather discriminating friend. Opening day of the World Cup was apparently out of control good.

            1. The Azorean Restaurant in Gloucester, MA. is Outstanding!