My only exposure to Portugese food growing up was when the chain Nando's opened up near my house. With all due respect to Nando's, that place ain't got nothing on Bairrada.
I don't know why I've never visited Little Portugal in Toronto before. Maybe it was my over-reliance on Little Italy, or maybe it was for lack of purpose. All I can say is that there is a wonderful neighbourhood (just a few street car stops over) that everyone in this city should make time to visit.
The aforementioned "purpose" for this evening was Devin (who is, un-coincidentally, Portugese) and our very spontaneous decision to go on a Portugese culinary adventure that evening. It was really refreshing seeing Devin rocking it out in his element (not that he doesn't rock it out in regular life) and I even let him decide on my beverage choice (which was a surprisingly good orange soda).
The star of the evening (sorry Devin!) would have incontestably been the chicken. Having almost already passed out from the delicious smell and sizzle of the fatty oils dripping from the (Portugal-imported) rotisserie as we entered the doors, I basically didn't have a choice but to order their most popular item: The Frango no Churrasco, served with parisienne potatoes and rice. As an indication of how good it was, the fact that Devin and I (who are Chatty Cathys by anyone's standards) actually had a solid two minutes of silence as we attacked our chicken with grace and admiration that such a delicious thing could exist. The potatoes also hit a certain nostalgic chord for me, as they tasted greatly of the potatoes that this little old lady would make at the Saturday morning markets along the Rhône River which I frequented often during my year in France.
The desserts were nothing special but "nice little somethings" to finish the meal with, and were (according to Devin), quite authentic, which is all we really wanted anyways. We ordered the Passion Pudding (made with passion fruit) and the Mojotofino, which was essentially a good ol' fashioned flan.
- Amazing food, hands down
- Amazing prices (the large portion of the chicken is only $10.50!)
- Great service
- Back patio in the summertime
- The informative placemat about Portugal leaves never a dull moment
- The tight quarters and outdated decor may turn some people off
- The washrooms are downstairs and therefore not very accessible
- It's so popular that you might have to wait a bit in line (but we were able to bypass three parties! Hooray for 2-person tables)
Final Note: Delicious...and I'm still thinking about it.