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Azorean Restaurant in Gloucester?

galleygirl Mar 15, 2012 06:18 AM

WE know I love Portuguese food, and Galleymom is always ready to enable....We hit Trackside in Peabody for her birthday a few weeks ago, and as the hound she is, she got a rec for Azorean in Gloucester from the receptionist in her doctor's office. There's a woman who makes the best of being sick!

There aren't any reviews less that 3 years old here; anyone have anything a little more recent?

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  1. galleygirl RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2012 11:51 AM

    Wow, I'm surprised no one mentions this place! Galleymom had her first grilled fresh sardines, and they were wonderful! Now she knows why I always look for them. She's a chip off the old block, peeling off the fillets like a pro and popping the grilled heads into her mouth. She got the dinner portion at lunch (well, she IS my mother!), so I got to have a few too. They were perfectly happy to give her rice instead of "punched potatoes"...

    I, OTOH, got the punched potatoes to go with my grilled octopus, which, as we all know, I am unable to resist. Fabulously garlicky and herby, with a nice charred finish and glug of EVOO. The punched potatoes are"smashed" whole roasted baby potatoes, a nice side.

    The menu is formidable. You could definitely make a meal of their Portuguese tapas and small plates, there are sandwiches and salads for lunch, and a whole lunch menu. Not to mention a separate menu of cataplanas. Decor is tourist Portuguese just this side of kitsch, but clean, lovely and a step up from my usual barroom haunts...Speaking of which, a nice sized pour of the house Vinho Verde. We'll be back!

    13 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl
      Nab RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2012 12:35 PM

      Nice ! I heard they also have lapas on occasion - did you happen to see any ?

      1. re: Nab
        galleygirl RE: Nab Apr 12, 2012 03:49 PM

        Ooh, I didn't know to look, or ask....I didn't study the raw seafood options closely enough, because the voices in my headkept whispering 'pulvo'...Plus, we were there for a late lunch, so I couldn't inspect that many other orders....

        1. re: galleygirl
          itaunas RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2012 04:27 PM

          As far as I know its several months early for lapas and it would be a feat to eat them raw. :-) Nab should call Courthouse for a season and then bug Portugalia twice-weekly asking if they are on the daily menu. But the gallery here wants you to keep us updated, even if that means weekly visits, and that includes the Trackside! Personally I am envious of the polvo and batatas ao murro, though, so you could report on that weekly as far as I am concerned.

          1. re: itaunas
            galleygirl RE: itaunas Apr 12, 2012 04:49 PM

            Will do! I thought their menu was more varied than the Trackside, and since they're a 'little' more upscale (not much, mind you), we might have a better time finding them there...I liked their polvo better than Portugalia, and the sardines were perfect; wonder who they're getting their seafood through? Ituanas, you must know!

            1. re: galleygirl
              itaunas RE: galleygirl Apr 13, 2012 04:27 AM

              Sardines are regularly flown in from Portugal throughout the (long) season and available frozen all the time. Portuguese octopus imports are basically all frozen as far as I know, but I don't know about Spanish. Neither are likely from our coasts and the owner of the Azorean is in interesting character who would probably tell you where he buys from, if you or the chowmom asked. If you want to know what is being sold at the Gloucester Seafood Display Auction and generally fished locally (now renamed the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange after it was sold following many years of intrigue) NOAA reports on that weekly:


              Nab is inquiring about the lapas because they are an Azorean (and Madeiran) specialty and most of the other Portuguese restaurants in the area have Continental owners so for many specialties you have to go down to Fall River. They are a bit of an acquired taste and a lot of people who will eat other mollosks, don't like them. I wasn't asking you to keep track on those there, just keep us updated on future meals (and post on the Trackside because I don't think there are any reviews less than 3 years old on that either! :-). Despite the name, the Azorean has a pretty pan-Portugal menu (and when I went a few years back had other "international" food too). They are trying to be a Portuguese bistro, not an Azorean specialty restaurant.

              I don't remember the octopus as being memorable at Portugalia (or even how its prepared), so for me its not a specialty there. The real specialty there is salt cod, but they have blackboard specials in the bar (you can see part of it from the dining room, but sometimes they write one or two things above the bar I think). Thats where they sometimes put things like cod tongues (linguas de bacalhau) or cheeks (caras de bacalhau). They also have fresh fish preparations of some of their other plates -- for instance bacalhau lagareiro comes with batatas ao murro and brocolli, but they offer that plate with a pan-fried or grilled fresh fish for folks who aren't salt cod fans. Its not "polvo" (or polpo), but writing this post has given me a craving for the grilled squid and vinegar peppers at Abbondanza which was a Friday special for a long while, too bad its not physically possible to go there right now!

              Update: Nab the Trackside not only has a website now, but a chef bio (who I have seen somewhere else) and he is from Funchal, so you should bug him for Lapas this summer too! :-) No peixe espada preto on the menu, though.

              1. re: itaunas
                galleygirl RE: itaunas Apr 13, 2012 06:54 AM

                We went to the Trackside in February for Galleymom's b'day...I hadn't been there for awhile becasue I tried to go at night, coming from the wrong direction, and I couldn't find it, so I thought it was gone. Wrong, obviousy..
                She had a caldierada (used to be her fave, before she discovered sardines), and I had a stewed octopus and potatoes...Both were great! The owner(?) there always remembers us from his years at O Fado, maybe the chef is from there, too?

                At lunch, they were short a few menu items. I really wanted one of their bacalhao dishes (can't remember which one!) but it needed another day to soak (another DAY?), they didn't have the lobster for Mom's caldierada at lunch...But hey, it's a bar at lunchtime. They've definitely come a long way since they tried the buffet table at lunch...

                BTW, I would vouch for the sardines at Azorean being fresh; I'm sure you can tell the difference! I, unfortunately, tried frozen. Once.

                1. re: galleygirl
                  itaunas RE: galleygirl Apr 13, 2012 08:52 AM

                  I think you are right he is the last chef from O Fado (which I had two not so good experiences), but I am getting deja vu about seeing him somewhere else. I wish I knew where the first chef at PB Restaurant in Everett went (the restaurant itself has been closed for a while). I know the PB chef from Atasca, which is where I think I also saw theTrackside chef and the PB chef might have worked under him in the tapas "kitchen" at the Atasca Broadway. You can buy acceptable frozen sardines in the winter, but only from a good (Portuguese) fishmonger and because they are not gutted before freezing they can become a nasty mess. Luckily we have the much better fresh ones year round.

                2. re: itaunas
                  Nab RE: itaunas Apr 13, 2012 03:44 PM

                  Thanks as always for the intel, itaunas. I didn't realize we are still a couple of months ahead of lapas season. I believe there is a species of lapas that is currently or soon-to-be on the endangered list - do you know if these are the delicious little buggers that I've been eating ? I going to the Azores later this year and I hope they are plentiful !

              2. re: itaunas
                StriperGuy RE: itaunas Apr 13, 2012 03:35 AM

                Just googled lapas. Hah. Have eaten those raw off the rocks in Spain myself.

                1. re: StriperGuy
                  Dave MP RE: StriperGuy Apr 17, 2012 01:28 PM

                  I also just googled lapas. Same as limpets?

            2. re: Nab
              Dave MP RE: Nab Apr 17, 2012 02:47 PM

              I just called Azorean Restaurant and asked if they served lapas. The woman I spoke to said that in the two years she's worked there, she hadn't seen them...although she also wasn't familiar with them before I described them to her

            3. re: galleygirl
              yumyum RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2012 05:18 PM

              Good lord girl. I love it when you post. Your galleymom reports remind me of my own chowmom. Cool moms rule.

              1. re: galleygirl
                opinionatedchef RE: galleygirl Apr 14, 2012 01:07 AM

                thx much for this heads up,gg. we'll head there soon. btw, steve johnson does a wonderful job with his portuguese sardines at Rendezvous. But I had quite the shock with some really muddy tasting undelicious R.I. sardines this past week at a place in N.H. and now I know why the Portuguese ones are the ones to seek out.
                I wonder if the pork in their pork and clams- is tough or tender, and how the sauce is. We had a good version in new bedford at a new new bedford place last summer and it's amazing that from the azorean's website, their place's facade looks exactly like the new bedf spot we hit.


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