Solmar

(Last updated: May 22, 2024)

The original Solmar review from a decade ago is listed below.  I returned in 2024 for a trio of solo visits, none of which changed my opinion of the restaurant.  While I didn’t have any dish as good as the first time, most of them were solid and consistent choices in the 3.5 to 4 star range, definitely tilting more good than bad.

My favourite one was probably the Portuguese Baked Fish for $135, but calling it a main in my opinion is highly dubious.

Solmar Macau Portuguese Baked Fish
Portuguese Baked Fish

It felt more like an appetizer to me, somewhat akin to a strange delicious salad, given the generous amounts of vegetables and olive oil on top.

For spice lovers, Solmar’s Shrimp Curry ($145) packs a potent punch, and simply must be paired with a bowl of white rice.

Solmar Macau Shrimp Curry
Shrimp Curry

How Portuguese it is exactly I don’t know, and that goes double for the Solmar Fried Noodles, which cost $110.

Solmar Macau Fried Noodles
Solmar Fried Noodles

Labelled “spicy” on the menu and deservedly so, it had flavours attacking from all angles, whether that meant the precisely cooked soft noodles, crispy shrimp, or assorted vegetables and peppers.  A nice dish, and one that I’d order again, it definitely tilts more Macanese than anything you’d ever find in Lisbon.

Changing gears, the Seafood Stew ($150) was a tad overpriced and not as good as the Baked Portuguese Fish, while the Feijoada ($160) was highly disappointing.

Solmar Macau Seafood Stew
Seafood Stew

Solmar’s serving was just too pretty for my liking, as Feijoada generally tastes better the worse it looks.  Too clean cut and proper, I prefer it wetter, wilder and dialled up to 10 on the nasty factor, preferably with far more juice.

Solmar Macau Feijoada
Feijoada

One soup and a couple of appetizers didn’t pass the mustard, so just ignore them completely.  The Clam Chowder Soup ($52) fulfilled the obligation of being hot, but beyond that, barely put forth any flavour at all.

Solmar Macau Clam Chowder Soup
Clam Chowder Soup

The Samosa ($45) was packed with vegetables and curry sauce but came up a little lame, while the Fried Bacalhau Ball ($65) was neither here nor there, and not something I’d order again.

Solmar Macau Samosa
Samosa
Solmar Macau Fried Bacalhau Ball
Fried Bacalhau Ball

Even though my return to Solmar was a bit of a mixed bag, I did quite enjoy the Baked Portuguese Fish, Shrimp Curry and Solmar Fried Noodles.  Pair them with anything I had way back in 2012, and you will have quite the stunning little meal.  Trust me, those salads are monsters, as are the two mains!

***

Solmar is a Macau institution, having been in operation since the early 1960’s.  I went there with my friend for lunch and everything we had was extremely good, and beyond expectation.

The Macau Sole ($108), in particular, was fantastic.  Most fish I’ve tried in Macau is either too salty and oily, but Solmar’s serving is fresh, light, and tasty – just the way all good fish should be.

Solmar Macau Macau Sole
Macau Sole

My friend’s African Chicken ($144) also hit the spot; the meat was very tender and the sauce not too spicy, making it the perfect complement.

Solmar Macau African Chicken
African Chicken

Compared to other restaurants, Solmar’s portion sizes are also very generous, especially the two big salads, which were both fresh and fine.

Solmar Macau vegetable salad
Vegetable Salad ($70)
Solmar Macau chicken salad
Chicken Salad ($100)

The start of our meal included a bit of a strange experience.  Not soon after we sat down, some 50 year old woman sitting at a nearby table began talking to herself (or was it to us?) in broken English, going on with: Does she your girlfriend, Are you marry her, Is you love her etc.

Solmar Macau front

Both of us ignored her while the staff did their part to get her out of there as soon as possible.  After about ten minutes they were successful and we were able to enjoy our meal in peace and quiet.  Indeed, the staff were very professional throughout; friendly, diligent and attentive, we never had to wait long for anything.

Solmar Macau wall tiles

One of the drawing cards of Solmar is its vintage decor.  With classic Macau style street lamps, old leather seats, and beautiful wall tiles, it’s Portuguese through and through.

Solmar Macau first floor

In fact, if this is exactly how the place looked in 1965, then I wouldn’t be surprised.

Solmar Macau bar

As for the prices, they’re right on par with other good Portuguese restaurants found on the street.  For one soup, two salads, and two mains, our bill only ran $522 MOP, which is obviously excellent value.  Solmar’s wine list featuring a good selection of Portuguese red, whites and ports should also not be missed.

If you’re looking for a taste of old Macau, then Solmar is the perfect place to try.  Highly recommended!

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