New Bedford’s Traditional Portuguese Cuisine

Authentic ethnic cuisine is a highlight of every traveler’s international itinerary. What is a trip to Italy without eating pasta and gelato? What is a vacation in France without sampling the cheese and Beaujolais? If you are lucky enough to spend time in Portugal, there will be a number of “must eats” on your list.

You don’t need to go any further than New Bedford for Portuguese food as good as you would find in the ‘old country’. New Bedford was a popular destination for Portuguese immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, and now 60% of the city’s residents are of Portuguese ethnicity. Consequently, restaurants specializing in traditional Portuguese cuisine are easy to find. If you are looking for authentic cuisine and top notch service, we recommend New Bedford Travel Guide’s sponsor of the month, the Inner Bay Cafe on Cove Road in New Bedford.

Dinner at the Inner Bay Cafe will be more enjoyable if you are familiar with some of the traditional dishes on their menu. As with most ethnic food, Portuguese cuisine is vast and varies by region. However, there are four classic dishes that are at the center of Portugal’s gastronomic compass.

Bacalhau (Salted and dried cod fish): Salt cod is the unofficial national dish of Portugal, and it is said that there are over 300 ways to prepare bacalhau. Look for this Portuguese staple in dishes like Bacalhau com Natas baked with cream and potatoes or Bacalhau à Brás which is like a cod fish hash with shredded bacalhau, fried potatoes, onions, and scrambled eggs. The Inner Bay Cafe serves Bacalhau Silmo which is made with tomato, pepper, and onion sauce.

Carne Alentejana (Pork tenderloin, little necks, and potatoes): In addition to bacalhau, someone in your party must order Carne Alentejana . Sometimes described as Portugal’s version of surf and turf, this popular dish originates from the southern Alentejo province. The meat is marinated for four hours in white wine, paprika, chopped garlic, coriander, bay leaf, and salt and pepper then topped with little necks and cubed potatoes.


Caldo Verde: Inner Bay Cafe proudly offers this traditional soup on their menu. Caldo Verde, literally translating to ‘green soup’, is the comfort food of Portugal. It is simple and satisfying with only a few ingredients whose flavors combine perfectly. Onions, potatoes, garlic, and kale are pureed for a creamy base to which is added shredded kale pieces and chouriço (Portuguese sausage) for extra heartiness. Save your favorite bread from the bread basket for dipping!

Pastéis de Nata: These delicious Portuguese custard tarts are often dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. You can find Pastéis de Nata in almost every Portuguese bakery on the planet. The flaky cups full of creamy sweetness go perfectly with a cup of hot coffee. If you are new to Portuguese dessert, you can’t go wrong with this gateway pastry! New Bedford boasts plenty of authentic Portuguese bakeries where you are sure to find Pastéis de Nata like Tia Maria’s European Cafe and Carmen’s Portuguese Bakery. Enjoy!

There are so many good Portuguese restaurants and bakeries on the South Coast, it’s worth the trip just to eat!

In addition to its water view, expert staff, and amazing menu, this month the Inner Bay Cafe is offering guests a 25% 0ff coupon! Also, the restaurant’s website is written in both English and Portuguese – a great sign that Inner Bay holds tight to its Portuguese roots!


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Angela Boffi

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