I’ve been hearing great things about Taverna de Portugal,for several months now, and had been desperate to give a try. Finally last week I got to check it out when my best friend Mat offered to take me for my birthday treat. The Portuguese family restaurant is located in the back alleyways of Sangsu. As we walked through the neighbourhood on a Friday night it seemed as though every other restaurant we passed had a monumental queue outside of it, but when we reached Taverna there were only a few tables occupied inside. However, clearly it was a late starter as by the time we had finished our meal it was packed.
The restaurant itself is nothing fancy, just an open plan kitchen and a smattering of tables. The owner’s wife greeted us, gave us the menu, and asked us if we had been before. She recommended that first timers should try the Peri Peri Chicken and the Pork Steak Francesinha. She then left us to look over the menu. Since the rabbit stew wasn’t available that evening we decided to take her up on her recommendation and get the chicken platter and the Francesinha. She kindly let us know that the chicken platter was for two people to share, and we may have had too much food, but she obviously didn’t know who she was dealing with! To drink they have wine and beer, but no cocktails, so I decided to stick with water, plus I was already rather tipsy from drinking my homemade Vodka Lemonades before leaving the house.
First up was the Pork Steak Francesinha (17,000). A traditional Portuguese sandwich filled with pork steak, ham, salami, and pineapple, then covered in cheese and sat in a puddle of gravy. It’s certainly an odd combination on paper, but somehow it really works. The gravy was absolutely heavenly, while the pineapple is perfect with the pork and the melted cheese. You eat it by cutting off small slices from the outside and working in. It was just so great to try something new.
The main meal we ordered was the Peri Peri Chicken with sausage and pork belly (32,000). This was a whole Peri Peri chicken, salad, rice, three kinds of fried potatoes, sausage, and a piece of bacon. Personally I could have lived without the sausage and the bacon, but the chicken was fantastic. I’m not usually a huge fan of Nandos, in fact I think it’s over rated (please don’t hate me). But this Peri Peri chicken was fantastic, full of flavour, just the right amount of heat, and the chicken was lovely and juicy. Certainly the best Peri Peri I’ve ever had. Also on the platter is rice and salad, which I just love, I really don’t know why we don’t eat more rice and salad together. We also got chunks of fried potato, chips, and hand made crisps, they were all fabulously crunchy and a lovely golden brown, so clearly good potatoes can be found in Seoul as these were perfection!
We decided to get ourselves a Fell + Cole ice cream on the way home so skipped dessert, but overall we were stuffed and very happy and I’ll certainly be going back to try out some of the other dishes on the menu. I’ve also heard they offer some fantastic specials so be sure to give those a try if they are available.
Taverna de Portugal is located at 90-8 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (마포구 상수동 90-8), and they are open from Wednesday – Sunday. To get there take a train to Sangsu Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Turn back on yourself and walk towards Hongik University. Take the second left turn and follow the road around the corner. Taverna de Portugal is just on the corner on the right. For more information you can call them on 02-3144-4819 or check out their facebook page.