(Last updated: February 14, 2024)
With the tragic closing of Carlos sometime during Covid, my Macanese Food Guide was in a world of hurt. After a couple of smaller joints around town didn’t even have English menus (gasp!), I thought we’re cooked for choice here, and I’ll only be hammering more Litoral, Cozinha Aida and Apomac dishes than I already am.
And it was then, as if by divine intervention, that I stumbled across La Famiglia in Taipa Village, a charming cozy venue that immediately skyrockets to the top of best Macanese restaurants in town.
In business for 6 years already, I didn’t get around to it before since it sounded like a pretentious Italian joint in tourist trap Taipa Village, an assumption that couldn’t have been further from the truth. First of all, it’s Portuguese/Macanese all the way, and the restaurant, while still flush with Old World charm, is surprisingly friendly and accessible as well. The staff in particular is top notch, especially the sort of/might be head waitress with the vicious arm tat. That thing might even be more impressive than her service!
So needing a couple of Macanese dishes for my food guide, I tried both the Portuguese Chicken ($158) and Capela ($228), which is a kind of Macanese meatloaf.
The Portuguese Chicken would normally come with an egg, but they graciously kept it away and delivered a scrumptious little number that hit the spot with authority.
Sufficiently moist, it had a tantalizing texture and pleasant amounts of curry, which complemented the chicken very well. Far less thick and filling than African Chicken, it wasn’t difficult to work through alone, even with an extra side of steamed white rice ($20).
As for the Capela, it requires 45 minutes of preparation time, so is best ordered in advance. Think of the best meatloaf you’ve ever had and La Famiglia’s version won’t be far off, mostly due to the mouth-wateringly soft beef meshing so well with the side potatoes and vegetables. Keep in mind that it usually gets served with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top, but I wanted to enjoy my meal, not ruin it!
Like most Macanese food, Capela definitely functions best as a sharing dish, so bring all your friends to La Famiglia and have a merry feast!
Among dining options in Taipa Village, I wouldn’t put La Famiglia quite in the same superstar/GOAT realms as O Manuel and A Petisqueira, but it’s not that far away either. My two visits there in late 2023 were both outstanding, and I will gladly return again in 2024, hopefully as a regular customer!
I’m happy to report that another visit in February 2024 yielded similar results as the first two. La Famiglia makes a fine Duck Rice for $138, which I’d rank a solid 4 or 4.5 stars. Although the portion size isn’t as large as other Portuguese restaurants, it possesses what all good duck rice must possess: a scintillating soft moist texture mixed with pleasant crunch from the outer layer, generously topped off with pieces of Portuguese sausage.
Stepping it up a notch in the price department, I also gave the Stuffed Macanese Prawns a try for $228. Prepared very simply in a way that I do prefer, using mostly garlic, olive oil and vegetables, it was tasty and true, but probably overpriced at the same time.
Sort of appetizer like, I definitely couldn’t go there and consume it just as a main, without still feeling super hungry afterwards. The kind of dish that checks all the boxes save for value, you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit till it’s time to pay the bill. Most seafood in Macau is just like that though, so let’s not get too disappointed or surprised.