Portuguese Food+ Back

Portuguese restaurants in Macau tend to be very consistent - and consistently good - for a very simple reason.  Many of the chefs who run them are Portuguese and were trained in Portugal, before crossing the ocean to set up restaurants here.  In fact, the majority of Macau's most well known restaurants are Portuguese joints that have been open for 20 or 30 years, a true testament to their quality and class.  They’re often very good value too, far more economical than the gouging that typically goes on when sampling International fare in the big casino hotels.


Menus in Portuguese restaurants tend to be about 40% meat and 40% seafood.  Cod is a signature dish and is prepared in a multitude of ways, while octopus, sardines, squid, lobster, shrimp and prawns are also heavily featured.  Paella, or seafood rice, is another popular option, with some restaurants serving it more in a soupy form.  If you're more of a carnivore, pork, beef, chicken and lamb are all standard offerings that are easy to find everywhere. 

 

Without further ado, I'm happy to present a list of some of my favorite Portuguese dishes.

 

1. Caldo Verde @ Fernando ($40)

 

The most classic of all Portuguese soups, Caldo Verde (vegetable soup) is a staple offering in every Portuguese restaurant in town.  Extremely simple, it’s made with potatoes, onions and kale, and sometimes topped off by a slice of smoked pork sausage.  A good Caldo Verde soup needs to be thick and hearty, which is why I like the bowl at Fernando’s so much.  It’s done right, unlike so many other joints in town that serve something more akin to water, with no substance or soul.      

2. Codfish Cakes @ Dom Galo ($60)  

 

A staple Portuguese appetizer, cod fish cakes are a tasty snack to start meals with, often prepared with potatoes, bread crumbs and parsley.  I’m a big fan of the ones at Dom Galo because they’re crispy, smooth, and actually quite heavy on the cod, which you don't always get.  In more than a few places they’re something much closer to potato cakes instead, totally disappointing and inappropriate.
 

3. Duck Rice @ Afonso III ($180)

4. Suckling Pig @ Fernando ($186)

 

The Portuguese have a love affair with pork that’s well known and suckling pig is one of their few traditional pork dishes that’s ready available all over town.  The key is the texture and how well the (hopefully) crispy skin makes sweet beautiful music with the soft tender meat.  If that’s done right then everything just flows and the full flavour of the slightly smoky pig just comes right through.  Fernando makes a great Suckling Pig, perhaps the second of three dishes that he does better than anyone else in town. (FYI, the third would be his Grilled Sardines.) 

 

5. Codfish with a Bouillabaisse Jud and Rouille @ IFT Educational Restaurant ($250)

 

There’s a saying in Portugal that there are hundreds of different ways to prepare cod, one for every day of the year, and I believe them.  The overwhelming fish of choice in Macau, I’ve never quite gotten the love though, as it's often overwhelmingly salty and oily, with all the texture and consistency of a raw cadaver.  If you simply must try it though, IFT’s Educational Restaurant prepares a very tasty serving more akin to a seafood soup, using elegant bouillabaisse jus and rouille.  For a cheaper alternative, I’ve also had good luck with the grilled cod ($125) at Apo Mac too, so that might work as well.

 

6. Mirandesa Steak @ Fado ($260) 

 

a plate of Mirandesa Steak at Fado

Steak prices in Macau can be oppressive, but this rib eye at Fado is great value for money, costing only $260.  Much closer in texture to braised beef that’s been slow cooked for hours, the meat is extremely soft and tender, covered in a mouthwatering olive oil and garlic sauce.  Free range Mirandesa cows are renown for providing the best cut of beef in Portugal, so just count yourself lucky that it’s available in Macau.

 

7. Seafood Rice @ A Baia ($378)

 

Seafood Rice is the signature dish at one of Macau’s most authentic Portuguese restaurants, A Baia.  Served in a rich tomato broth sauce, it’s a soupy masterpiece chock full of clams, shrimp, fish and lobster.  Unlike its cousin Spanish paella, which is predominately dry, Portuguese seafood rice is wet and wild, so prepare to get sloppy and dive right in.  While it is undoubtedly pricy, it’s not meant for solo diners, with one serving more than enough to feed two or three people.

 

8. Serradura @ Litoral ($38)

 

For desserts, be sure to try serradura, which literally translates as “sawdust”, and is generally made with whipped cream, condensed milk and crushed biscuits.  Sometimes it has a harder consistency similar to ice cream, while other times, it’s softer and creamier, more akin to a pudding.  Castico had made the best serradura in town for a number of years before falling off the rails sometime in late 2017.  That means the title has reverted back to Litoral by default, very welcome news considering it’s the superior restaurant by far and the White House of Macanese cuisine. 

 

Portuguese Restaurant Recommendations

 

A Petisqueira

 

Remarkably consistent, A Petisquiera might be the best restaurant on this list, with reservations essential on peak days for lunch and dinner.  
 

Location: Rua de S. Joao, no. 15, Taipa Village
Phone number: (853) 2882 5354
Price: $300/person

 
Dom Galo

 

Straight out of Iberia with love, this fun colourful restaurant never disappoints.  And with a menu as big as a phone book, you're bound to find something you like there.

 

Location: 32 Avenida Sir Anders Ljungstedt
Phone number: (853) 2875 1383
Price: $300/person


A Baia

 

Run by a husband and wife team with decades of restaurant experience in Portugal, A Baia is true Portuguese food without compromise.  They don’t angle for the Asian market and it shows in their classic home style dishes that exemplify tradition.

 

Location: Rua de Londres no. 88
Phone number: (853) 2875 1465
Price: $375/person


Henri's Galley

 

A Macau institution that's been open since the 1970’s, Henri’s Galley only seems to get better with time.

 

Location: 4G-H Avenida da Republica
Phone number: (853) 2855 6251
Price: $300/person

 
Miramar

 

Located on the sleepy shores of Hac Sa Beach, Miramar is the top choice in town for large group dining.  Their servings sizes have been known to kill a man or two, so make sure to bring plenty of backup and a big appetite.

 

Location: Zona Norte, Praia de Hac Sa
Phone number: (853) 2888 2623
Price: $300/person

 

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