A Portuguese concession/colony from 1557 to 1999, Macao still retained an old-world Portuguese charm in its graceful buildings, churches and narrow lanes today. But with only 50 living speakers left of Patuá, Macao’s unique Creole-Portuguese dialect, much of what remains of Macanese culture these days lies in its cuisine, with dishes like African chicken or galinha à africana, besides authentic Portuguese fare purveyed by eateries such as Antonio, Fado and Albergue 1601.
Albergue 1601 in Macao’s historic St. Lazarus Quarter sits in one of the most atmospheric locales in town. The restaurant is ensconced in an elegant yellow building set in a leafy courtyard dominated by centuries-old camphor trees:
Executive Chef Pedro Almeida produced some of the best Portuguese fare in town here. One tip: book ahead, as the restaurant is smallish: just 3 drawing room-sized dining spaces which tend to fill up pretty quickly on most days.
We started our lunch with some aperitifs, including the obligatory [vinho verde].(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinho_Verde)
Salada de polvo (octopus salad) - the octopus was expertly cooked here and pretty tender whilst retaining its toothsome texture. I’m not a big fan of crunchy, raw green peppers, but liked the sweet tomatoes used here. Black olives is a personal fave - that single-handedly saved the starter.
Bolinhos de bacalhau (salt codfish croquettes) - these were deliciously moist inside, with a crunchy golden exterior.
Frango de Churrasco (grilled piri piri chicken) - very spicy and portion was larger than I’d expected. Grilled chicken had a lovely smokey aroma and well-marinated in spices.
Arroz de marisco (seafood rice stew) - my favourite at lunch: the rice was flavoursome, cooked to a sticky richness, and the seafood was fresh. The broth was good to the last drop. Love this dish.
Serradura (“sawdust” ice-cream pudding) - perhaps Macao’s best-known dessert: the “sawdust” were crushed cookie crumbs (Marie biscuit is a fave), layered with frozen cream. I really liked the version here, which was creamier and less sweet than most other renditions I’d tried in Macao on previous visits.
Overall, an enjoyable meal. Very friendly, efficient staff, and some stellar cooking from the kitchen. It was our first meal on this trip to Macao - we did not know it yet at the time, but it turned out to be the best meal of our trip. The surrounding neighbourhood here, with its narrow lanes, was also worth exploring on foot.
8 Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro
Tel: +853 2836 1601
Opening hours: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10.30pm daily
Also open for afternoon snacks 3pm-6pm on Sat & Sun Only