One of the things we really hanker for in Australia is authentic Portuguese cuisine. Yes, I know we have Nandos but there is a lot of debate regarding their true 'Portuguese-ness' and besides the fact that one of the owners is a Portuguese South African, might be the only claim they can make to being authentic Portuguese cuisine.
Entrance to Adega Portuguese Restaurant - Image: Elaine de Wet
The Portuguese explored the coasts of South Africa as early as the late 15th century. Bartolomeu Dias - an explorer and a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household - sighted the South African coastline in 1486 and Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira and a Portuguese explorer - passed the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, when en route to India.
Having only been in South Africa for three days, we needed to satisfy our yearning for some 'Portuguese' so dinner at an Adega Restaurant sounded perfect. I say 'an' Adega Restaurant simply because the Adega's are actually part of a franchise with seventeen branches just in the Johannesburg area. For nearly two decades, Adega has been the leading name in Portuguese cuisine in South Africa with their motto being:- 'Traditional Portuguese Cuisine, Always Open, Always Good'. To my delight, we found one just around the corner from where my Mom lives in the Retail Crossing Centre.
We arrived for an early dinner and were fortunate to be seated immediately. The glossy magazine-like menu features traditional Portuguese favourites like:-
Caldo Verde (a traditional homemade Portuguese soup with thinly sliced Kale, olive oil, sliced Chourico and potato); Sliced Chourico (a traditional Portuguese Sausage flambeed in Firewater); Trinchado (rump steak cubes fried in garlic and white wine, served with fresh bread); and Prawn Nacional (prawns pan-fried with bay leaves, garlic, cream, Portuguese spices and a hint of beer) and an ever-popular Sushi selection.
The Menu was really extensive (72 pages in total), with everything from starters to desserts. To view the stunning Menu including all the glossy advertisements please click here - it certainly is an unusual one!
This specific Adega Restaurant has had many accolades with customers voting them as the Best Portuguese Restaurant in the prestigious Best of Johannesburg competition for ten years running as well as being awarded the Star Reader's Choice Award for the Best Portuguese Restaurant for three consecutive years.
I was totally fascinated with the stunning decor, as traditional Delft had been utilised throughout the restaurant, showing off the blues and whites with true European flair.
Deliciously refreshing Sangria - Image: Elaine de Wet
One of my favourite seafood dishes is baby Sole - something we can't seem to find in Queensland, Australia. So for mains, I ordered the Grilled Sole (baby) - grilled with lemon butter and served with potatoes and vegetables - R140 (plus minus $14).
Verdict: Not sure how I live without this delightful fish for a couple of years at a time!
Hubby had the prawns - a cream-based sauce with fresh tomatoes, a hint of chilli and coriander topped with a generous serving of medium-sized prawns and served with either Penne or Linguine - R99 (plus minus $9.90).
Verdict: I forgot to ask him, I was too busy enjoying mine!
In addition to the stunning decor throughout the restaurant, we were impressed to see that a very large children's' playground formed part of the service provided to patrons - so you can sit, enjoy a meal while your littlies entertain themselves in very close proximity.
All in all, this was a superb dining experience and all the more appreciated due to the fact that we only get to enjoy it every couple of years. Definitely, bookmark Adega Restaurant when visiting Johannesburg or any other major city centre within South Africa - you'll be so glad you did!