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Madeira Restaurante: Wonderful Portuguese
I had heard about The Madeira since i have been going to Cardiff and many people have recomended it to me but i have not been untill May this year (2011) (I think Vicki has been trying to keep it all to herself)
You can tell it's a great place because we booked to eat at 1830 on a Tuesday which is for most plkaces a quiet time but although not full the restaurant had quite a few people init which made a great atmosphere.
The Kitchen is open plan at the rear of the restaurant and we were sat not far away so you could see the food being prepered. Our waiter came from Portimao on the Algarve which is a place i visit quite frequently, The menu is much like one you would fing on the Algarve with a great choice of dishes with there speciality being great kebabs that hang on hooks from the ceiling but i had no trouble deciding to have a Prawn Cocktail to start followed by chicken Piri Piri with a couple of bottles of Sagres of course, Vicki had Veal in a lovely looking sauce.
It was delicious!! and i can not wait to go back and try some more of their food, it really is worth the trip to Cardiff just to eat there and come back it's that good.
Friday & Saturday
The Madeira: Deeeeelicious
The Madeira is Cardiff's only authentic Portuguese restaurant & has a fantastic reputation for its' freshly prepared food, there is a wide range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes on offer. I have been here on many occasions and have not been disappointed once. There is a lovely atmosphere inside the restauarant, the service is quick and the waiters are really friendly. I normally go to the Madeira for the lunch time special menu (12.00-14.30) which is two courses for £7.95, there is a wide choice on the specials menu - I usually go for the Chicken Portuguesa which is served with potato wedges and peas with an extra side dish of battered cauliflower - this is to die for, it's making my mouth water just thinking about it!!
Friday & Saturday
Favorite Dish: Chicken Portuguesa is lovely, the creamy sauce is so good & the chicken moist & tender.... not forgetting the Cauliflower in batter.
I've visited many branches of Nandos, but liked the decor and atmosphere of this one near Showcase Cinema at Nantgarw near Caerphilly.
The menu was like all the other Nandos restaurants.
The interior was decorated with urns and pottery vessels. The seating was wooden, and the lighting dim.
The service was good and quite fast.
Favorite Dish: I had lemon herb chicken. The children enjoyed the chicken strips.
We went to another branch on Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay. The atmosphere was more lively and the decor modern. The menu has had new dishes added. We had a half medium hot chicken , which was delicious and spicy. The two optional side dishes we chose were the beetroot salad and the coleslaw, which went extremely well.
Portos: One to avoid
Portos is a delightefully welcoming resteraunt in the heart of cardiff, but I'm sorry, Thats where it ends.
We were served Dressed Crab, and a Seafood platter to start. Both of these were excellent, with the exception of the crab served in a plastic shell.
Unfortunatley, the main course I had was not very nice. I chose the king prawns, after a reccomendation from another member on Virtual Tourist.
King Prawns "portos".
The dish itself was quite impressive, however, you don't actually get to eat much of what you're served. The prawns were served off the shell in a sauce, but they had their fecal tracts left in them. Leaving you to essentially destroy half of your meal, by trying to remove it. That or picking up the prawns with your fingers, essentially removing the sauce, in order to remove the excrament that remains. had it been barbequed prawns, I wouldn't have complained, served on the shell, I wouldn't have complained either, but i expected better, considering this is bordering on Public Hygine Offence.
I feel it neccessary to point out that, I've trained with Rick Stein, and I cook almost everything I can. I'm more than competant in the kitchen. So when confronted with this, we were told that the chef had always done it this way, and told buy a jumped up waiter, that "I Know how to cook fish".
To say I was disgusted, was a bit of an understatment. Rather than apologising, or attempting to correct the issue, or even offer another dish, we were confronted by extremley unpleasent staff, none of which even offered an apology, and of course, unclean and unsanitary food.
I had heard so many good things about Portos, and was desperate to try it, but I'm sorry, I wont be returning. Maybe they were having a bad night, but it didn't seem like it. So much so they even left the Prawns on the bill. We paid, minus the bill for the prawns, and left.
Sorry to say it. But it isnt as good as I hoped
Porto Due: Half portuguese, half italian, apparently
Porto Due is on the main street for pubs and bars in Cardiff, St Mary's Street (the composition of which was a hell of a shock after 5 years away from the city, but that's a story for another time!). I seem to remember that when I lived in Cardiff, it was called simply "Porto's" and served just Portuguese food. Now it offers both Portuguese and Italian, from which I imagine the new name derives.
Inside, the restaurant is quite cramped, but not so much that it's oppressive, and indeed there was a good atmosphere the night I went, assisted admittedly by having enjoyed a rugby match and pre-meal build up featuring a (lucky) number of beers. That's probably the reason we were able to stand the smell of sewage which I hope was a one-off.
The staff were friendly and attentive, and while the food took a long time to arrive, this was at least partially due to the popularity of the place. Something the management should have been aware of, perhaps, but they did at least supply some olives which prevented us from resorting to cannibalism.
The food itself was fairly uninteresting, with a small choice for vegetarians (including the same dish on the starter and main menu is lazy). I went for the pasta and ratatouille which was average; neither disappointing nor exciting. The wine list was good, although some options appeared to be a little old. People were somewhat unhappy that the monkfish with prawns turned out to be singular, but most of the meals were reasonably large.
The dishes served on skewers are rather gimmickily hung from the ceiling, rather than on plates. While this provides ample opportunity for oil from the meats and fish to drop into other people's meals or onto clothes, it doesn't make it any more enjoyable to eat, and in fact caused a bit of irritation.
In general, I've said quite a few negative things about Porto Due - all deserved - but I don't feel that it is much worse than many places, hence the average rating.
Favorite Dish: While the lack of additional prawns may have been a let down, people generally agreed the monkfish was well cooked. I enjoyed the deep-fried cauliflower, which is something I'm going to steal, with the addition of a little spice!
Portuguese: good service and good food
the restaurant "madeira" is strongly reccomended.
Its a typical portuguese restaurant, with a cosy friendly atmosphere and the food is very good quality, however it's always so busy its advisable to book in advance...
Favorite Dish: the salmon with portuguese sauce, not expensive and its just well coocked and tasty.
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