I've been exposed to food with a Portuguese influence since I was little because my mom was born and raised in Macau, a Portuguese colony in Asia. We'd spend our summer vacations there and I'd be eating my three favorite things almost everyday - Grilled bacalhau (cod fish), caldo verde (potatoes and kale soup), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts). On our first day on Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, we ventured to the neighborhood around our hotel. When we came across O'Fado Restaurante Portugues, I was beyond excited!
The Owners - Two Kind Souls
O'Fado looks empty when we arrive during lunch hours. We hesitate just a bit because of that, but I'm so glad that we've decided to go in. Americo and Helena make up the husband and wife team here. I start chatting with Americo and realize he's Portuguese, so I share my childhood stories about Macau with him. He is super nice and friendly, always have this slight smile on him, and seems happy to bump into someone who knows a little about the Portuguese cuisine.
The Atmosphere - A Small Taste of Portuguese Culture
The atmosphere is very relax, with soft Portuguese music playing in the background and wide windows allowing loads of sunlight to come through. Portuguese tile art can be seen adorning some of their walls, along with personal touches like a painting of a Lisbon cable car.
The Food - Serving Up Authentic Portuguese Dishes
Although O'Fado does not have caldo verde on the menu, I still enjoy my dishes - Grilled fresh fish and their version of the acorda alentejana.
The grilled fish is great - Simple seasoning with mainly olive oil sprinkled over the fish and is garnished with a salad and the Canary Island's famous wrinkly potato dish. Fish at its freshest and simplest...Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, I am in heaven.
The acorda alentejana is a soup-like dish cooked with garlic, coriander, olive oil, vinegar, eggs, along with sliced bread. Americo explains that this is a staple in a Portuguese family meal. I love garlic, and the strong garlic flavor in this soup is right up my alley. The taste of olive oil is also very prominent. Overall, another simple yet flavorful dish.
My friend orders a vegetarian dish and it's just called grilled vegetables. We assume it would be served in slices on a plate. Well, when the dish arrives, we collectively let out a "wow".
The veggies are cooked just right, with a sprinkle of salt over them. And even though it's a plate with just veggies, the pieces are cut into thick chunks. My friend has a hard time finishing her dish. Our other friend has ordered what she calls a "normal dish" - She jokingly says that she now feels left out as her dish does not have the wow factor like ours.
Needless to say, we're pretty full by now. We ask Americo for the check and he surprises us with a full plate of pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) along with a whole bottle of Portuguese port wine, on the house! It's nothing fancy, but it's a very thoughtful gesture for sure.
I ask Americo and Helena for a photo because I just love their hospitality and their food so much. And Americo stops us for a moment, grabs his heart-shaped pillow and says, "'we need to add this" while his signature smile is all over his face. The next night, as we walk by O'Fado, Helena waves hello and comes out to chat just briefly. She knows we have already dined at a different place, but she's not concerned about that and just wants to say hello to us. Just amazingly kind people.
O'Fado on Fuerterventura...Highly recommended.
One thing to note is that the address for O'Fado listed on websites such as Trip Advisor is incorrect. Unfortunately, I do not have their exact address. It is located in the town of Antigua on Fuerteventura, the second biggest island among The Canary Islands.
Below is a visual guide based on two properties that are listed correctly on the web - the Barceló Fuerteventura Thalasso Spa Hotel and Fado Rock Steak House. We will use the Barceló Hotel as the starting point (follow green arrows).
1) From Barceló , turn right at the first cross street that you will see on your right side.
2) Walk along this tree-lined street. Walk two blocks of this street.
3) At the end of the second block, you will see O'Fado on your left side, right at the corner.
4) For reference, O'Fado is: a) Next to Great Wall, a Chinese restaurant. b) Across the street from Fado Rock Steak House (Has an outdoor patio).
Thanks for letting me share this food find with you!
What are some of your favorite food finds from your travels?
FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS SERIES