IFT Educational Restaurant

(Last updated: January 31, 2024)

IFT Educational Restaurant might have the worst restaurant name in Macau, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying it out.  Attached to the lovely Pousada de Mong Ha guesthouse, it’s staffed by students in training who are learning the hotel industry, and use the restaurant to get real world waiter and waitress experience.

IFT Educational Restaurant

While that may result in the occasional error or two, I’d much rather be around them than hardened veterans of the industry who populate some of Macau’s better known Portuguese restaurants. It’s like some of them packed it in ten years ago and haven’t smiled since, on the job or otherwise.

IFT Educational Restaurant indoor seating

IFT Educational Restaurant has a sterling reputation around town and used to consistently rank as the top Macau restaurant on Trip Advisor around 2010 and 2011.  They’ve since taken a bit of a fall on that site, but that’s not because the standards or food quality have gone down.  It’s still a fantastic choice today, especially in the area of value, with most mains staying the $100 to $200 range.  They also don’t add any tax or service charges to the bill, which is unheard of nowadays, as is their request that patrons don’t tip!  The fare is predominately Portuguese and Macanese with some other World selections thrown in as well, such as New Zealand lamb, Australian tenderloin and various linguini and pasta.

IFT Educational Restaurant lounge section

IFT’s Portuguese wine list also deserves a word of mention.  You will not find a larger better Portuguese wine selection for lower prices anywhere else in town, save for MacauSoul, of course.

The evening I dined there I ordered four dishes and three of them were out of this world.  The Duck Confit appetizer was large enough to be a main course meal and seriously succulent at that, the meat just begging to be taken from the bone.

IFT Educational Restaurant duck confit
Duck Confit

The Lobster Cappuccino Soup was thick and tantalizing, rocking a full bodied broth, really good value for only $70.

IFT Educational Restaurant lobster cappuccino soup
Lobster Cappuccino Soup

The Squid Ink with Prawns came out last and I was surprised to see it presented as a pasta dish.  Whatever, the prawns were moist as hell and complemented the thick black noodles perfectly, making it another smashing selection.

IFT Educational Restaurant Squid Ink with Prawns
Squid Ink with Prawns

The only thing I didn’t care for too much was the Garden Salad, which didn’t have enough vegetables or a dressing I really liked.  At least it wasn’t expensive though, only $70.

IFT Educational Restaurant garden salad
Garden Salad

All told, my bill came to only $370, which is a phenomenal price in Macau for a four course meal.  If judged by their a la carte menu alone, then IFT probably deserves 5 stars.

***UPDATE***

I’m pumping the brakes on the 5 star proclamation, after a slightly disappointing dinner at IFT in November 2023.  They still maintain one of the best Macanese menus in town, even if there are only 5 selections currently served as mains: Fish ‘Minchi’ ($150), Portuguese Seafood Rice ($160), African Chicken ($150), Tacho ($170), and Tamarind Pork with Macanese Shrimp Paste ($150). After having tried the seafood rice and tacho, I don’t really know how “Macanese” either of them are, in particular the tacho.

Tacho at IFT Educational Restaurant
Tacho

Tacho has got to be presented like it’s straight up nasty, the type of stuff you dredge up from the bottom of the pot and maybe feed to your dog because it looks so gross. The rub is that the worse it looks the better it tastes, with some great servings available at Cozinha Aida and ApoMac.  That’s not to say the tacho at IFT is terrible per se, just that it’s not really tacho, with too much emphasis placed on appearance. Beyond that, the portion needs to be triple the size and served automatically with rice, otherwise it’s got no finish or foundation. Indeed it was a bit of a fail and something I would not order again.

Seafood Rice at IFT Educational Restaurant
Seafood Rice

The same criticisms apply to the seafood rice somewhat, which was closer in consistency to a pasta. Usually you get it sopping wet a la the traditional Portuguese method, or fairly dry like the Spanish do paella, but this one was neither, firmly holding the middle ground. Caught sort of in no mans land, the texture was similar to a smooth scrumptious spaghetti, which seafood rice in Macau just isn’t like. Tasty as it was, it’s more a fusion dish than true Macanese fare, and I’d expect their other “Macanese” stuff to be as unauthentic as what we had that night as well.

Fruit Tart at IFT Educational Restaurant
Fruit Tart

The dinner was topped off by a tasty fruit tart ($80) and some other choices from their dessert tray, each of which cost $20.

Desserts at IFT Educational Restaurant
Dessert Cart Choices

The last matter to consider is that of the Macanese and Portuguese Buffet.

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet

Every Saturday, IFT holds a Macanese and Portuguese Buffet twice daily from 12:00 to 3:00 and 6:30 pm until 10:00 pm.  Quite a bit smaller than most buffets in town, the selection is not extensive by any means, but they do offer many signature Macanese and Portuguese dishes like Portuguese Pig Eye Salad, Minchi, African Chicken, Fried Prawns Macanese Style, Stewed Pork with Tamarind and Shrimp Paste, and Feijoada.

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet seating

I committed the cardinal sin of going to a buffet and not being very hungry, so I didn’t sample as much of the food as I wanted to.

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet

Most of the selections on offer were extremely thick and heavy, or utilized a very rich sauce, so I probably wouldn’t have lasted that long anyway, even if I had been starving.

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet

Still though, as an introduction to Macanese/Portuguese food, you can certainly do a lot worse, especially for the price, only $380 per adult, and $190 per child (aged 4 to 12).

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet

While the overall selection might be a little lacking, there isn’t a better buffet in Macau for the price, which is why I still award it 4 stars overall.

IFT Educational Restaurant Macanese and Portuguese Dinner Buffet

 

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