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Portuguese Chicken - which is currently the best?

Visiting this week, & am curious...
where should I go for the best Portuguese chicken meal?

Rotisserie Romados?
Portugalia?
Coco Rico?
Chez-Doval?
somewhere else?

Thanks.

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  1. The one you like most. ; )

    All good choices I would give the edge to doval and portugalia for being made in a artisanal kind of way. Ramados is a factory production style now. But still a very good and juicy chicken when cooked properly and just off the grill. They stack all their chicken in drawers under the grill.

    One thing I learned with Portuguese chicken like for any other food is that nothing can beat freshly cooked or grilled.
    I got caught once buying a whole chicken that was probably cooked for a while and the result was a very dry meal.

    Coco rico is more of a roasted chicken and I'm not a fan of it. I prefer Au-coq chicken also when you get a nice juicy peace. Often hit or miss with them.

    I like the charcoal style chicken like romados, chez-doval or portugalia, piri is good same rule apply when was it cooked.

    6 Replies
    1. re: maj54us

      I love the chicken at Barroso, but only the one on Ontario. I have been to the one in Lachine a few times it was good but not as good as the one on Ontario.

      1. re: PierreGuy

        I went to the one on Ontario and swore never to go back. The chicken was dry and pretty bland, and the fries were completely burned.

        1. re: nonpareils

          Many places pre-cook the chicken and leave in open air. So result is dry chciken. All they need to do is to put in the fridge in a sealed container and reheat it. It's nothing like the real deal but would help so much.

          Coq lala does this technique and I never had a dry chicken. Of course it's not portugese but I have my own piri piri sauce whick makes for a nice mix between 2 cultures.

          I went to the place on rosemont and st-michel friday and was disappointed to eat dry chicken. Forgot the name. But I must also say I had very good chicken there.

          1. re: maj54us

            Thats the problem with many places - precooked chicken too far in advance.

            Portugalia cooks their chicken to order (at least they did in my previous visits which was quite some time ago). You gotta wait, but the results were generally better than the pre-cooked places. They are fully licensed, making the wait (for me) enjoyable...

            Service-wise (again based on visits quite awhile ago) they can be gruff, rough, and brusque, but hey, if you go in expecting it, run with it and enjoy...

            1. re: porker

              Yes at Portugalia they are stupid and rude that's why many call them the Chicken Nazi place. lol

              They also have a great pork sandwich called bifana. But apparently the real deal bifana is not made on charcoal but in a pan. I prefer the un-official charcoal version better.

              I think their chicken is one of the best ones out there. Better and tastier than what ramados does. We can say that portugalia is more artisanal and ramados more factory. Now if they could loose the attitude it would be a great spot.

              I believe it's still like this but at portugalia you have to call a good hour ahead and sometimes when you call they might tell you 2 hours wait. I heard the guy telling a customer that on the phone once. Their grill can't hold more that 15 chicken is my bet.

              1. re: maj54us

                I actually liked them more before the renovations, when it was a real hole-in-the-wall (kinda like the more recent renovations at La Cabane Portugal, but I digress).
                As I mentioned, I kinda like their attitude. I know its contrary to accepted hospitality norms, but if you're prepared for the attitude and don't take it personnaly, it can take on its own charm...if that makes any sense...
                About calling ahead: you see plenty of people pulling up to pick up orders. The waiters told us some great stories on how customers would try to impersonate earlier callers to get fast chicken. These people would mostly get busted, but occasionally the resto would get duped.

    2. I'd say Romados when you get a good turnover. You just can't beat those prices and huge portions. Cocorico is just electric rotisserie with piri sauce, also the prices have gone up quite a bit in the last 2 years.

      Also I believe that in every other Portuguese place, they grill it instead of roasting it like they do in Romados. Does that make a huge difference?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Ghostquatre

        @Ghostquatre: Romados is grilled chicken on charcoal not roasted. Their rotating grills are imported from portugal. Coco rico is roasted chicken.

        The difference is flavors which makes them 2 different products.

        1. re: maj54us

          oh i thought those were considered charcoal rotisserie because they rotate, instead of lying flat on a grill

          i mean chalet bbq is considered rotisserie as well right despite using charcoal?

          1. re: Ghostquatre

            I'm no expert but roasting would involve a closed environment where hot dry air is enveloping the chicken or meat.

            As for grilling it involves direct close exposure of the chicken to a heat source.
            Grilling on a gas BBQ will not give the same flavors as grilling on charcoal

            I don't what is the heat source used by coco rico or chalet bbq on sherbrooke near decarie.

            I remeber chalet swiss used to have that smoked flavors and they were using a process to create smoke to roast their chicken. Was it liquid smoke I dont know?!?!

            Also I remember someone telling me that St-Hubert BBQ, tried an experiment with electric roasters but were not satisfied with the cooking result so they switched back to gas as the heat source for roasting.

            1. re: maj54us

              FWIW, Chalet BBQ on Sherbrooke uses maple lump charcoal in custom-made, brick-lined, steel ovens. The chickens are mounted on a spit (5/spit) and fire-roasted 6 spits at a time. Theres a drip pan filled with water in front of the fire-grate, directly below the rotating chickens. Its main purpose is to catch the chicken drippings (and keep them from catching fire), but it also provides moisture to the cooking environment. The system is not totally closed as the charcoal needs air flow to burn. This flow is controlled by vents at the bottom of the oven, a standard flue-control in the stove-pipe above the oven, and a motorized exhaust fan at the top of the chimney.
              Chalet Swiss had a similar system until switching to gas (I'm not sure, but I don't think they used liquid smoke).

              In general, rotisserie chicken gets most of its flavor by drippings hitting a hot element (grates/plates/steel, coals, etc). Kinda like drippings hitting the lava rocks on home gas grills.
              Electric sources of heat ore one dimensional as the drippings/element is the only source of flavor.
              Gas adds a bit of fire (combustion) flavor to the mix.
              Chacoal adds the fire component plus smokiness.

              1. re: porker

                thank you for the info. Now you are the expert! lol

                1. re: maj54us

                  I used to be an expert in a different life....I cooked quite a bit of rotisserie chicken.

                  1. re: porker

                    just one point, unless the drippings contain aromatics, they impart moisture and not flavour or scent.

                    1. re: catroast

                      I'd have to disagree on that, but maybe its an issue of semantics.

                      Drippings alone do not add flavor or scent. However, let those same dripppings hit something very hot (as mentioned, lava rock in your gas BBQ, or live charcoal, or a steel plate) and they will vaporize, carrying with them flavor and scent.

                      This flavor and scent carries over to the food doing the dripping.

                      You can smell grilled chicken a mile away - its the scent carried by the vaporized chicken fat (drippings).

        1. I vote for Braseiro - call an hour in advance for takeout.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodNovice

            Same for Braseiro, they can get uneven at times. When they're good, they're good, but I've had dry chicken there as well.

            1. re: sweettoothMTL

              I never had take-out at braseiro, but the few times I had chicken there, it was pre-done way too early. Maybe I'm missing out on the timing...

          2. I want to report on a small meal a friend and I shared yesterday after a walk through the St-Laurent street sale (nothing food-related on sale to report there... not much else either) at a long-standing Portuguese bistro called Na Brasa. In times past it was Bistro Duluth - it was Portuguese then too, don't know if it changed management with the name change.

            There was nothing spectacularly excellent, but we really enjoyed the 1/2 Frango na Brasa, described as a Brazilian-style chicken - it was chopped into bits and grilled, a bit spicy. Really a pleasant dish to share while sipping wine or beer. Also a decent but nondescript green salad, and frites that were very tasty and had the skins on, but weren't exceptionally crisp. They weren't limp or greasy either; just that softer style. Quite a range of the usual Portuguese tapas and main dishes.

            Wine and beer very reasonably priced. Above all, the courtyard terrasse, next to the restaurant which is obviously an old tavern, was very agreeable indeed, with flowers and herbs, a wall of green trees behind. One has to access it via steps over a window threshold, but the staff assured us that they could open the door of the wooden fence separating the terrasse from the street if there was a guest in a wheelchair or otherwise unable to climb and descend the few stairs.

            Family place with both family and office-party meals going on, on a warm Friday evening. A bit noisy inside; very pleasant ambience outside.

            We (two boomer-aged women) especially appreciated not having to order a full meal; our choices were more than enough. The main-dish plates are abundant indeed.

            They do sell takeaway Portuguese grilled chickens, if I recall they were $11, plus tax.

            http://www.nabrasa.ca/
            Na brasa
            121, ave. Duluth E. coin Coloniale
            Montréal, QC, H2W 1H2
            Téléphone : 514.287.9096
            Télécopieur : 514.287.9096

            2 Replies
            1. re: lagatta

              Another plus is Na Brasa's free parking in the lot just adjacent.
              We like their caldo verde.

              1. re: porker

                Yes, that is unusual in the southwestern Plateau! I managed to find a pole for my bicycle.

                While this restaurant is not spectacularly wonderful, I'd certainly recommend it for a family meal, and moderate prices. Staff very welcoming; people of all ages present when we went, from babies to ancestors.

            2. I like this place :

              Les 3 Maria
              4886 Boul, Des Sources, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC.
              514-683-1333

              Call ahead for pick up

              1. I was at Braseiro a few weekends ago and their chicken ranks among the top. It's worth checking out at 8261 St Lareunt in Villeray. The bonus is that they take reservations.

                1 Reply
                1. re: catroast

                  The problem I find with Braseiro is that they are uneven. They can have great chicken, but I've had average, dried up chicken as well.

                2. Portugalia and Romados.

                  Couldn't choose my favourite if my life depended on it. Portugalia's is spicier and smokier, Romados is juicier. They're both heavenly.

                  PS: The service at Portugalia is just part of the experience in my opinion.

                  1. Romados. They have a block party this Sunday at 2. This is gonna kick ass.

                    https://www.facebook.com/events/14501...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Shattered

                      And of course this is just down the street from the Portuguese festival!

                      Suspect there will be a lot of Portuguese flags... and the odd Brazilian or Luso-African one?

                      1. Anyone ever tried Imperio on Jarry near Chambord?

                        1. I had chicken a the new spot called ma poule mouillée
                          accross the steet from la banquise.
                          https://www.facebook.com/MaPouleMouil...

                          Verdict. A great juicy chicken leg with tasty fries and a mini custard tart http://tinyurl.com/mgjyehf (what the official portgese name again?).

                          Nothing like freshly cooked. Even the tart was so flaky and tasty.

                          My new favorite place!

                          Ma poule mouillée
                          969, rue Rachel Est, Montreal, Quebec H2J 2J4
                          (514) 522-5175

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: maj54us

                            Natas

                            Good to hear about the chicken, closer than Romados to Parc lafontaine for a picnic.

                          2. I tried Portugalia for the first time last week. Although the chicken was some of the best, the accompaniments were terrible as was the service

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: catroast

                              Terrible service is part of the charm @ Portugalia...

                              1. re: porker

                                not charming at all - the wait staff were just lazy and stupid. the fries were terrible as was the salad. I probably won't go back because other places have chicken that is just as good.

                                1. re: catroast

                                  The chicken was SHIT too the one time I went. Completely dried out - I mean dessicated and obviously shrunken down due to this, although it wasn't a generous portion like most places to begin with. And I don't ever knowingly give my money to assholes, either!

                                  Jano or Chez Doval. It's all about them for good cheap sit-down Portuguese around the Main.

                            2. A place I keep going back to and never hear mentioned is Na Brasa on Duluth.. Don't mess with other stuff on the menu - but their 1/2 poulet churrasco is delicious, comes with fries and a salad and it's cheap.. It's very very flavorful and delicious.. (edit: I do see a couple people in this thread mentioned it and I'm glad because it's very very low key and not a place I would have wandered into if it were not for a recommendation from someone else)
                              Much better that Romados in my opinion the most overrated chicken place in Montreal (tho still pretty good I always can find better) .. Brasa also has a nice terrace to sit and drink alcohol while munching. Another thumbs up to Portugalia and Chez Dorval, and I have recently been enjoying Ma Poule, a new place on Rachel which has a nice spice and juiciness to their chicken but will benefit from their equipment blackening a bit more over time :)

                              1. There's a new contender in the heart of the lower Plateau:
                                Churrasco at 68 des Pins Est.

                                Opened by former owner and employees of Piri Piri on Mt-Royal at St-Denis, so you know it's good. Delicious, and they do it right: grilled over coal, not rotisserie. Also great fries and oven potatoes, pork cutlets, roast pork, and daily specials.
                                A welcome addition for lower Plateau and McGill ghetto dwellers who don't have to trek and lineup at Romados anymore! (& I'm a huge Romados fan)
                                (mind the music: http://www.rotisseriechurrasco.com/

                                They've also joined the Portuguese poutine bandwagon, which is the best damn thing since sliced bread (credit to Tony Alves at Ma Poule Mouillee for inventing that).

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: Shattered

                                  This isn't too far from the Royal Vic so that's one great new option. However I've looked up 68 Pine Est on Google Streetview and I can't quite figure it out. Other than the Florateria, It's mostly ugly apartment buildings on the south side of the street (which has the even numbers), I don't know where they could be located. Guess I'll have to see for myself.

                                  EDIT: Sorry I was looking at 68 Pine West, not East. West makes it corner Coloniale which is no longer casual walking distance from the Vic :(

                                  1. re: denpanosekai

                                    This is the most confusing post Ive seen in awhile. Even your edit is wrong.

                                    It is at 68 des pins EAST which makes it the corner of Coloniale.

                                    1. re: denpanosekai

                                      And 68 east is only 3 to 4 minutes walk past 68 west, depending how fast you jaywalk.

                                    2. re: Shattered

                                      A photo of Ma Poule Mouillee's Portuguese poutine (chicken, chorizo and parsley on top)
                                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

                                      1. re: Shattered

                                        Shattered, normally I don't like poutine, but that looks delicious. I see it also includes Saõ Jorge cheese.

                                        I think I'd still spring for the regular chicken, frites and salad plate though. Their prices are most reasonable: http://mapoulemouillee.com/menu.html Do they sell beer and wine?

                                        If warm weather ever comes, it will be fun taking that to go, and having a picnic at Lafontaine Park.

                                        On their facebook page, they have a platter of that lovely pork and clams dish.

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          Not licensed, although they sell non-alcoholic beer.

                                          Yep, it's amazing poutine. I introduced a friend to it a couple weekends ago, and he went back the very next day, and twice more since. You've been warned ;)

                                          1. re: Shattered

                                            I went to Ma Poule Mouillee last night for the first time. It was as good if not better than Romados and on a cold Thursday night, it was nice to be able to eat in a pretty well designed restaurant. It's a winner all around.

                                            1. re: frogsteak

                                              + 1 for Ma Poule Mouillée.

                                              I disagree about Portugalia. Ok, I only try the chorizo sandwich that i find too dry. But the terrible service is a turn-off, not sure if i will go back for the chicken. I dont get what can be "an experience" in bad service. Sure, no slavery needed, but maybe just "Hi" and "Thanks"...

                                              1. re: vabou

                                                Portugalia has nice chicken and everything else is crap. Their fries are just sad.

                                                    1. re: Lolaray

                                                      What's Dixon chicken?

                                                      All the internets could come up with is this: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/67/722337...

                                                      1. re: Lolaray

                                                        Possiblement rotisserie poulet Dickson?

                                            2. re: Shattered

                                              Ma Poule Mouillee--These people are great, wonderful value, and if you like grilled sardines, go Saturday. On any days, they have a couple of specials in addition to great chicken options. These guys are the best, and their positive attitude and quality product/service merits our support

                                              1. re: CMT

                                                And now it is proper weather for a picnic in Parc Lafontaine!

                                                1. re: CMT

                                                  MPM has grilled calamari every Saturday, too. It's amazing (and amazing value at $12 a plate with fries, IIRC), but get there early, there's none past mid-afternoon.

                                                  Romados has wised up and has a fixed schedule for their daily specials now, too. Very traditional clam & pork every Thursday, also only $12. Haven't tried it yet, because again it is gone by late lunch. But I've tried their other specials like paella and liver, and they're just as good as their chicken and bifanas. Maybe I'll call in sick one of these Thursdays...

                                              2. re: Shattered

                                                We just tried Rotisserie Churrasco last night and were very pleasantly surprised. It doesn't look like much from the outside and even when you walk in-- it was pretty much just one woman there getting everything together. But, the chicken was very moist with a smoky quality that was great. I wish the skin had been a bit crispier, but the meat was so delicious that it's a small price to pay. And great piri piri sauce.The fries were very tasty too.

                                                Please support this place; I'm worried it's not going to make it. It's a couple blocks from us, so we'll be there often.

                                                1. re: picklebird

                                                  We can support it if you tell us where it is!

                                                  1. re: williej

                                                    The address is in the same thread, maybe 10 posts up : 68 des Pins Est - http://www.rotisseriechurrasco.com/

                                                    1. re: williej

                                                      picklebird was replying to Shattered's comment which contains information on Churrasco including their address and URL. You can view it by clicking his name in the upper right corner of the comment window.

                                                      Here's a direct link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8656...

                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                        Thanks. Sorry about missing that.

                                                  1. Cantinho Express as an annex location to the original Cantinho on Jarry, located at Henri Bourassa and Lacordaire.Quality?, the throngs of clients attest to that. When a simple restaurant is able ro combine good food and such strong value, it is no wonder that business is as brisk. This place has the kind of atmosphere and cafeteria format of an Amir restaurant but with f Portuguese grill menu. I rate their spicy chicken as high as Romados. 24 hours after my first sampling , I was already craving more.,when I mentioned this to the two other people who recommended the place to me, they told me that precisely the same thing occured with them. Is the food that good? Oh yeah. Perhaps the secret is in the sauce.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: heybaldy

                                                      Hey Baldy, that sounds good - is the original Cantinho on Jarry good as well? I've never been there, and it is much closer for me.

                                                      http://www.ocantinho.ca/Graphics/LaPr...
                                                      http://www.ocantinho.ca/Graphics/TheG...

                                                      The Gazette and La Presse reviewers like it.

                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                        The original Cantinho on Jarry is a solid, unpretentious establishment. If you want grilled fish and a nice steak, you cant go wrong. The prices are different than at Cantinho Express, as they are a full service restaurant on Jarry, But I wholeheartedly recommend this place as the menu has something for everyone. The menu is featured on their website, which will give you the chance to plan your choices in advance. Two thumbs up.