This review represents a first for EthnicEpicureNYC . . . in that due to the lack of authentic Portuguese restaurants in NYC (since the closing of PAO), I am leaving the the city limits to travel to Newark, to find my favorite Portuguese establishment. It makes sense as Newark is the largest Portuguese community in the USA. Head directly to Ferry Street (right outside the train station) this is the area packed with Portuguese restaurants - you might be tempted by some of the bigger glossier looking places such as Iberia or Sagres, but press on, the most authentic place, my favorite, is at the far end of Ferry Street . . . It's name is Portugalia Restaurant & Bar it is small, a true hole-in - the wall. But for that true Portuguese dining experience this is the place!
On arriving you see two doors, one for "Bar", the other for "Restaurant". On entering the restaurant, it is slightly awkward as no one meets you, it as if you stumbled into a room jam packed with ravenous diners. The place had no ubiquitous music playing - just the sound of Portuguese large families chowing down on a Sunday lunch. I had to find a waiter in the kitchen to be seated, he yelling at me a little. I loved this place immediately.
My waiter David, a native of Lisbon (the one that yelled at me) we were now fast friends I we spoke about Portugal winning the 2016 Euro Cup. I looked at the menu briefly, but I knew what I wanted, and that was "Carne de Porco Alentejana" (cubed pork and clams braised in garlic) I had this dish during my travels in Portugal, and was crazy about it! The dish was fantastic, the taste busting with flavor, and add a tad of "hot sauce" and it is truly one of my favorite of any dish of any cuisine! And to top it off they had the Portuguese beer Sagres which I have always enjoyed.
Portugalia Restaurant & Bar has been around for twenty-two years, it has such an authentic atmosphere. I encourage you to visit the connected bar as well. The walls adorned with banners and black and white photos. The bar is jam packed with native Portuguese yelling at the televised soccer game from Portugal. This is a type of restaurant that truly "transports" you to the country - the essence of a terrific ethnic restaurant.
Address - 280 Ferry Street (973) 465 - 0609