Nearly a year ago I wrote about a little Portuguese bistro called La Portugalia. Folks loved their traditional Portuguese cuisine, especially their sweet pastel de nata egg tarts. Recently the owners of that restaurant shuttered their La Portugalia operations so that they could focus on their new, larger venue, Casa Portugal (official Facebook page) conveniently located on Sukhumvit Soi 29. They were kind enough to invite me to the new restaurant to discover their expanded menu. Over a 3 1/2 hour family style lunch with them we covered A LOT of delicious traditional Portuguese dishes…
I was a little nervous that a move to a more expensive area of Bangkok would translate to higher prices. Yet they’ve managed to keep their prices very reasonable, with some dishes on the menu being an incredible value. But most importantly the food is still delicious, authentic, and well portioned. With their excellent service and cozy atmosphere it makes Casa Portugal THE place to go to if you want traditional homestyle Portuguese food in Bangkok. Let me show you what I mean…
Move over paella!
If you’re a fan of Spanish seafood paella then you will love Portugal’s equivalent, Arroz de Marisco (450 baht). Considered one of the 7 wonders of Portuguese cuisine, this saucy rice dish is richly flavored with fish stock, loads of shrimp and mussels, and spices like sweet paprika. Casa Portugal doesn’t skimp on the seafood, either. Once you try this you may never look at paella the same.
Clams – Portuguese style!
Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato (245 baht) is an excellent appetizer (or main if you don’t want to share). The sauce coating the clams is prepared with olive oil, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, and dry white wine to intensify the flavor. The juice from the lemon is drizzled just before being served. Casa Portugal makes their own homemade bread which is perfect for mopping up the sauce from this dish. But if you want something special…
Yes, yes, YES!
I’ve always felt that nothing beats the taste of fresh baked bread. I apparently have been wrong all these years. Fresh baked bread stuffed with Portuguese chouriço sausage is so much better. The Pão com Chouriço (190 baht) is a nice crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, bread infused with thyme leaves and stuffed with spicy chouriço sausage.
It’s delicious on it’s own, but heavenly when used to soak up the sauces from the previously mentioned clam dish or this next tasty dish…
Carne de Porco à Alentejana
One of the most popular traditional dishes in Portuguese cuisine is Carne de Porco à Alentejana (465 baht). A simple meal of pork and clams, it packs a lot of flavor. The pork is marinated in white wine, paprika, chopped garlic, coriander, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. It is then fried until golden brown, then cooked with the clams. The pork is very tender and flavorful…don’t waste that sauce!
I now like chicken gizzards.
I have never particularly fancied chicken gizzards. This dish completely changed my outlook on chicken gizzards. Actually, this dish was one of my favorites from this dining experience and I would absolutely recommend it. Even if you don’t particularly care for gizzards you might just be surprised. I was.
Portuguese food is not well known for being spicy, but this Moelas à Portuguesa (245 baht) has a kick. The gizzards are marinated for a long time to make them flavorful and tender (not chewy) and cooked like a stew with spicy chouriço sausage, chili peppers, onion, and white wine. It’s a very creamy, spicy dish that will completely change the way you think about chicken gizzards!
If you’re a fan of chouriço sausage then I highly recommend the Flaming Chouriço (450 baht). It’s cooked flambé with whiskey and is quite a table show! The residual whiskey sauce is also delicious to drizzle over the sliced sausage chunks.
Casa Portugal – A Churrasqueira!
With Casa Portugal’s larger kitchen they are able to offer a lot more grilled meat options–going churrasqueira! Their steak grills are very reasonably priced between 480 baht for sirloin to 650 baht for tenderloin. Their most expensive grill is 690 baht for a pichana cut filet. All meals include 2 sides (salad, potato, or rice).
If you’re on the fence about what to get check out their Mixed Grill Set (499 baht). It’s an incredible deal. The set includes 7 different grilled meats (beef, chicken, pork, and sausage) and comes with a large side of salad, crispy potatoes, and rice.
Most popular dish…
One of Casa Portugal’s most popular dishes is their Frango Piri Piri (425 baht). Piri Piri chicken was created by Portuguese settlers in Angola and Mozambique. The African version is much spicier, using the chilies found in the region. But the Portuguese version is much milder, yet very flavorful. Casa Portugal’s Frango Piri Piri is tender with a slightly crunchy golden skin. If you want to bump up the heat dab a little piri piri hot sauce on it!
Make sure to enjoy their grilled dishes with some nice Portuguese wines. Casa Portugal offers a nice selection whites, rosé, reds, and ports ranging from 1,050 baht to 2,800 baht.
Save room for dessert!
This tasty pastry was invented by monks in the 18th century in Portugal. They used a lot of egg whites for starching clothes and found that the leftover egg yolks could be used to make this treat. Many think of it as an “egg tart” but it’s completely different. The top is caramelized while the pastry is still light and flaky. Unlike egg tarts which I find to be a bit rubbery, the center of this Pastel de Nata (150 baht) is creamy like a custard and not as sweet as an egg tart.
Casa Portugal’s pastel de nata are so popular that they bake nearly 1,000 of them daily for delivery throughout Bangkok! It’s a very tasty way to end a meal.
A chat with the owners…
I first met Carlos at his Portuguese Wine and Food Pairing event hosted at Bacchus&Co and was instantly a fan and eager for him to open a restaurant. He remembered me (and my eagerness) and invited me to check out the La Portugalia restaurant when it opened. I was so impressed with his food, the value, and how incredibly welcoming both he and his wife Kittaya were. I wasn’t surprised to learn that in about year’s time they had outgrown the little space they had and were ready for a bigger challenge in a location that would reach more customers.
Carlos’ backstory as a restauranteur is quite interesting. He came to Thailand 8 years ago to start an export business to ship Thai goods to France. For years he bounced back and forth between Thailand and France operating the export business. He had no interest in starting a food business until he agreed to help a friend by baking pastel de nata for a Bonjour French Fair event.
Carlos couldn’t believe the overwhelmingly positive reaction he received at the booth for the tarts. There were long queues and many customers interested in knowing how they could get more after the event was over. Because of this success and the fact that he enjoyed making the pastel de nata he decided to start a little bakery “just for fun”. But then his passion for introducing folks to Portuguese cuisine grew, and he opened La Portugalia to do just that.
Time to move…
After a little over a year of running La Portugalia a space opened up on Sukhumvit Soi 29 which had a larger kitchen and dining area which would allow them to expand their menu, and welcome more customers, at a more convenient location for their client base. In February, 2019 Casa Portugal opened its doors.
Casa Portugal is a place where you are made to feel right at home. Carlos and Kittiya are both warm and engaging. Carlos especially loves to meet with customers, and though he’ll tell you “The food is my passion.”, it’s easy to see that he is just as passionate about hospitality and ensuring guests feel welcome. His focus is to have loyal repeat customers that enjoy the food and dining experience but also feel they’ve received a good value. Because the menu is so reasonably priced, it’s an easy place to visit again and again.
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Casa Portugal is located on Sukhumvit Soi 29 and is attached to the Mermaid Hotel. You’ll find it on the ground floor to the right of the hotel. There is outside seating near the restaurant entrance, but for real Portuguese ambiance (and air conditioning) go inside.
In this article I covered a lot of the traditional Portuguese dishes they serve. But it really is just a taste of what they have to offer on their menu. I barely scratched the surface of their offerings. Suffice to say, Casa Portugal is the place to go if you’re craving Portuguese food or if you’re curious and want to experience this cuisine.
You won’t be disappointed with the delicious food, the attentive service, the restaurant ambiance, or the warm welcome you will receive from Carlos and Kittaya. If you visit I’d love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to contact me directly or comment in the comments section below.