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.)
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.
The Roasted Chicken was phenomenal – 5 stars out of 5 – and the Stew was another good choice (4 stars), rich and moist.
While the prawns looked great, they lacked taste and were only average (2.5 stars) and the final chicken with rice dish was horrible.
It tasted like it was a week old and we couldn’t even finish it (0 stars).
All of this is to say that it’s probably best to ask Manel 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 really does well. His Roasted Chicken is quite possibly the best in town, while the favas ($130) is another great choice, which I had the pleasure of trying in late 2019.
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.
To find O Manuel, it’s on the same street as the lovely Sam Seng Temple.