O Manuel

(Last updated: May 13, 2024)

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but everything I wrote in my first O Manuel review was 100% spot on.  His best dishes are absolutely phenomenal, easily rating as some of the best Portuguese food in town.  In addition to the world class Roasted Chicken ($180), he also does amazing Codfish Cakes ($15/piece), Roasted Piglet ($110/half), Favas ($140), Feijoada ($180) and Seafood Rice ($280).

O Manuel Macau Codfish Cakes
Codfish Cakes
Roasted Piglet at O Manuel
Roasted Piglet

Both bean stews, in particular, are just to die for, and simply must be paired with rice and some of their house wine, which is quite special in itself, not to mention very affordable ($95 for 500 ml and $180 for 1 Litre).

O Manuel Macau favas
Favas
O Manuel Macau
Feijoada

Prepared in the traditional Portuguese style, Seafood Rice is one of their signature dishes.  Unlike it’s drier Spanish cousin Paella, O Manuel’s version is wet and wild, and somewhat spicy to boot, giving it a welcome kick.

O Manuel Macau Seafood Rice
Seafood Rice

The Chirozo appetizer ($60) is good bang for the buck and another worthy selection, especially if you’re drinking wine.  The salt levels are not for the feint of heart though, but such it is with most Portuguese food, in particular, their pork.

Chorizo appetizer at O Manuel
Chorizo

O Manuel seems to be enjoying somewhat of a renaissance post Covid, so much so that it just might be THE restaurant to visit now in Taipa Village.  Serving extremely authentic Portuguese fare, just choose anything off their daily special menu, and you probably won’t be disappointed.

On the flip side, his desserts really pale in comparison and can be ignored completely.  Manuel is clearly no pastry chef, as his serradura and mousse obviously show.

Chocolate Mousse at O Manuel Macau
Chocolate Mousse

At least neither of them are very expensive, only running $30 each, so we can live and let live here.

Serradura at O Manuel
Serradura

Another dish to avoid is the Pork Secretos ($180), which I had as a daily special in April 2024.  Quite revered if you search for info about it online, it’s the cut of meat between the neck and shoulder of the pig.

pork secretos at O Manuel Macau
Pork Secretos

Somewhat chewy, I was hoping for a lot more oomph than it seemed capable of giving.  Too tame, especially when paired with Manuel’s rich, heavy, and outstanding red house wine, it’s definitely not something I’d order again.

Another thing to watch out for are the bread and olives, because they won’t be free.  I was shocked to see an extra $25 on the bill at the end of the night, since bread is normally given on the house in many Portuguese restaurants.  Olives usually aren’t part of the deal, but no one said anything about a fee when I was offered them.  Kindly save those cheap tactics for the tourists mate, and keep me out of it.  At the end of the day, it’s just plain disrespect, is what it is.

I’ve also heard negative reviews of the steak, duck rice and grilled octopus, so it’s probably best to steer clear of all of them, as well.

What follows below are details of my first visit there, over a decade ago in 2012.

***

It seems to me that the two most similar restaurants in Taipa Village are O Manuel and O Santos.  Neither place is fine dining, nor particularly expensive, and both specialize in no frills down home Portuguese cuisine.  (It turns out that there might be a reason for the similarities.  Both Manel and Santos came to Macau around the same time and worked for the Pousada de Coloane restaurant.  I think there might have been another famous chef working in that kitchen as well, a Mr Fernando who of course has his own place near Hac Sa Beach.)

O Manuel Macau entrance

The main difference between O Santos and O Manuel is the consistency of the food.  When I ate at O Santos, everything was pretty good, maybe 3.5 stars out of 5, while O Manuel’s food was much more hit and miss.

O Manuel Macau interior

The Roasted Chicken was phenomenal – 5 stars out of 5 – and the Stew was another good choice (4 stars), rich and moist.

O Manuel Macau roasted chicken
Roasted Chicken
O Manuel Macau stew
Stew

While the prawns looked great, they lacked taste and were only average (2.5 stars) and the final chicken with rice dish was horrible.

O Manuel Macau prawns
Prawns

It tasted like it was a week old and we couldn’t even finish it (0 stars).

O Manuel Macau rice with chicken
Rice with Chicken

All of this is to say that it’s probably best to ask Manuel what his signature dishes are and what’s fresh that day.  If you stick to his suggestions, O Manuel is probably a 4.5 star restaurant, and worth your return patronage because what he does well he does really well.  His Roasted Chicken is quite possibly the best in town, and as I’ve learned on subsequent visits, so are a lot of other things!

Before going there, I’d heard that Mr Manuel carries the reputation of being a hothead with a bad temper, who can be rude to his customers.  The day I was there though I saw none of it and he was perfectly fine to us.  He was even nice enough to take a picture with my friend who was in Macau to model over at the recently opened Sands Cotai Central (now Londoner Macao).

O Manuel Macau with pretty girl

To find O Manuel, it’s on the same street as the lovely Sam Seng Temple.

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