As Portugal creeps to the top of Europe’s hottest travel destinations, food lovers are embracing the distinct dishes and famed seafood of the country from the traditional creamy egg tart pastry, pastel de nata to the ubiquitous bacalhau (cod in all forms, from dried to salted). If you can't make it across the Atlantic, head to these five Bay Area restaurants for an authentic taste of Portuguese food on the West Coast.
Bay Area Portuguese restaurants
Chef Telmo Faria (Tacolicious, Chino) called on his Portuguese heritage to open Uma Casa, a sunny, spacious restaurant in Noe Valley. Even if the pastel de nata doesn’t equal the best we’ve tasted in Portugal, standout dishes come in the form of shrimp turnovers, grilled sardines, red wine braised short ribs and, of course, salt cod fritters.
Adega boasts San Jose’s only Michelin star and is only the second Portuguese restaurant in the U.S. to ever receive the honor. Powerhouse chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira have both cooked in Lisbon, and often host Portuguese chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants in Porto and Lisbon. Besides being the most ambitious, elegant Portuguese restaurant on the West Coast, Adega also boasts a wine cellar of Portuguese rarities that one almost never sees outside Portugal.
A Sonoma institution for 20 years, La Salette is a destination-worthy old world Portuguese restaurant showcasing the bounty of California ingredients. Chef Manuel Azevedo (who also runs Cafe Lucia, Tasca Tasca and Shiso) closed the restaurant for a couple months at the end of 2016, rebooting in 2017 with refined menus exhibiting modern Portuguese flair—though you’ll still find plenty of cod, octopus and traditional dishes like fisherman’s stew. Note the port and madeira menu, offering a range of two of Portugal’s greatest exports.
La Salette’s sister restaurant Café Lucia is tucked down a narrow walkway off Healdsburg’s town square, serving traditional Portuguese dishes and wines as well as modern twists like mac 'n cheese dotted with linguiça (pork sausage). Plus, the restaurant occasionally hosts live fado musicians on the sunny patio.
For the past 80 years, Grubstake has been a greasy spoon destination until 4am for burgers and shakes, as well as its “Portuguese Corner” menu of caldo verde soup and comfort clasics like eggs and linguica with French fries and toast. It remains to be seen if new owners Nick Pigott and Jimmy Consos will preserve the unique railcar diner once a condo is built on the plot (which means the one-of-a-kind exterior is going away).