What does one look for in a restaurant? Good food, obviously, but many other qualities as well – ambience, good service, cleanliness, originality, location – so many other attributes which all add up to a great evening out.
Portuguese, in Bat Hen, near Netanya, ticks all the boxes. I have reviewed it before and visited on other occasions with friends, and it always lives up to its promise.
But don’t go if you aren’t a carnivore, as meat in all its incarnations is what Portuguese is all about, and smoked meat in particular. The staff members are all very friendly, speak perfect English and can’t do enough to make your dining out experience a pleasant one.
An Israeli restaurant for meat-lovers only
There are several areas at the restaurant, inside or outside, looking at the surrounding garden. As there was a nip in the air, we chose a table inside, and the manager insisted we take a large table meant for four, presumably as there was so much food to get through.
To begin our meal we picked two starters from the menu – chicken wings and bruschetta shwarma. The wings were deep-fried in tempura and were nicely sweet and sticky on the outside, with savory innards. There were several sauces, including one that might be a bit too spicy for some tastes, but the tehina and chimichurri were much blander (NIS 39 for 10 pieces).
The second starter was bruschetta topped with shwarma asado and thin pieces of entrecôte. The warm crispy bread came with several soft cloves of garlic, which were delicious (NIS 39). By the time we finished our starters, we wondered how we were going to cope with the mains.
We had asked for a minimized mixed grill and received a large amount of asado and brisket, with roast chicken, sausages and grilled vegetables. All the meat was very tender and faintly smoked, while the chicken was juicy and succulent. On the side were purple coleslaw and mejadra (mixed grill from NIS 149 for two).
After this feast we felt that we could not consume another crumb and asked for mint teas to end the meal.
But this was not to be. They insisted on bringing a shared dessert of chocolate cake and ice cream. For parve ice cream this was not at all bad, and the cake, which had mousse-like qualities, was covered in a rich chocolate sauce (NIS 42).
The best advice I can give to anyone contemplating a meal at Portuguese – go hungry!
Portuguese6 Te’ena StreetBat HenTel: (09) 953-1549Open: Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat. – closed.Kashrut: Emek Hefer Rabbinate.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.