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Aug 28, 2012 03:10 PM

Portuguese Chicken - which is currently the best?

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

Rotisserie Romados?
Coco Rico?
somewhere else?


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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.

            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.