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Pride of Portugal

Written by Joseff Musa

Mariazinha Portuguese Cuisine Restaurant is a little different from other Portuguese establishments in Macau. While many opt to open in Taipa or Coloane, Nelson Rocha – the owner and founder of Mariazinha – believes the city needed an authentic Portuguese restaurant in the heart of old Macau.

That’s why Mariazinha is located nearby the most famous landmark of Macau – the Ruins of St Paul’s.

The name Mariazinha is derived from Rocha’s mother’s name, Maria, who was often teased by her sibling for being “zinha,” meaning small.

Upon entering, you will immediately notice the distinctly Portuguese décor and of course the extensive display of authentic Portuguese wine. Matched with classic music playing in the background and warm lighting, it is the perfect place for either a romantic dinner or a special family gathering over some quality Portuguese food.

Both of Rocha’s parents are chefs with over 80 years of experience in Portuguese cuisine combined, so it should come as no surprise that this is also his legacy. Established in 2015, Mariazinha offers consistency in every dish with Rocha ensuring his food pays homage to his heritage.

The restaurant has built its reputation around Rocha’s beef croquets, his Leitao a Bairrada – grilled steak with roast skin potatoes cooked northern Portugal style – and Francesinha which is a sandwich with steak, ham and sausage covered in melted cheese and drizzled with a secret sauce.

WGM was offered the chance to feast on some of Mariazinha’s best sellers and discovered it was quite the delightful experience.

Tostas c/ Recheio de sapateira was served for our starter, comprising homemade toasted bread with crab stuffing. Along with Prato de Presunto Iberico – well roasted Iberico ham served fresh from the grill – it’s a great way to kick-off this fine meal.

Ever-present in any Portuguese restaurant is grilled codfish which at Mariazinha is cooked for around 25 minutes to allow each ingredient to shine. The dish, called Bacalhau c/ Broa e Presunto Picado, is then covered with a mixture of homemade shredded bread and ham and served with cauliflower and baked potatoes on the side. Next up is Arroz de Marisco, or Portuguese style wet rice with seafood, which combines clams, shrimp, oysters and scallops in a tomato sauce-based rice.

Posta de Vitela a Mirandesa is sliced veal with olive oil, garlic, black pepper and baked potatoes. Tender and juicy, the meat is best enjoyed with Quinta do Crasto Vinhas Velhas red wine.

Finally, out comes dessert and our choice between Pao-de-lo de Chocolate and de Alfeizerao. Of course, we try both versions of this delicious Portuguese sponge cake.

Make sure you try some of Mariazinha’s fine wines, which include everything from sparkling and rosé to red wine and sangria!