Birthdays or anniversaries, a warm dinner with your close friends and family is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion. But taste differs, and at times it’s hard to choose a restaurant that can satisfy everyone. Luckily, there are places in Macau that offer both Western and Eastern flavors. One of them is 1826 Restaurante, a cozy spot next to the Tennis Court in Barra. One pleasant summer evening, we came to see for ourselves why it is so popular among the locals!
In the year 1826…
Our curious nature forced us to wonder what’s in the name so we couldn’t resist and went to find the answer. Apparently, the story is somewhat ironic. When the owners chose the building for their business, they looked up archive documents and found a mention that the building was constructed in 1826. So, is there a better name for a traditional restaurant? Well, after some time, it turned out to be a mistake as the year the building appeared on the city maps was 1926, not 1826. In the end, the owners decided not to change the name and kept it for laughs.
1826 is open for lunch and dinner. Whether you are stopping by for a casual lunch with colleagues or coming for a special occasion, this restaurant would suit your needs. Little diners are welcome here, as they will feel comfy in the kids’ chairs munching on dishes from children set menu. The dining hall with colorful wall art, traditional Portuguese azulejo, and beautiful lighting arrangement give the place its unique character. However, our favorite feature is the stunning view of Macau Tower and Sai Van Lake. So if you have a chance, book a window table to witness the sunset sky over the lake. By the way, being a popular dining destination among locals, 1826 gets pretty full in the evenings. So be sure to make a reservation!
Initially, 1826 served 100% Portuguese cuisine prepared by Portuguese chefs. Gradually, the kitchen team has grown and become international. As a result, the menu has acquired local flavors and turned into a fusion of Portuguese and Chinese dishes. To get acquainted with 1826’s diverse menu, we trusted the kitchen team to cook the best and most requested dishes.
We started our tasting feast with a couple of small plates, accompanied by a jar of refreshing sangria. The first one was Portuguese cured ham with melon, an ideal way to inaugurate the meal. To add some texture to it, the chef adds some nuts, crunchy green beans, and pink radish. The second plate was a chef’s recommendation. Served with a side of salad, cherry tomatoes, and a seafood reduction sauce, this abalone and cod ensemble works well to wake up the palate.
From the sea
As for the main dishes, there is something for everyone, whether you are a meat-lover or would instead choose something from the sea. At 1826 Restaurante the portions are large, so coming in a big group and ordering several mains for everyone to share is a good idea. The first course we picked was seafood cataplana with lobster. A traditional Portuguese dish originated in Algarve, it is an ultimate pleasure for seafood fans. A combination of lobster, clams, prawns, mussels, and rice is cooked in a copper pan, also called cataplana. This pan keeps the heat just right and seals the flavors inside, making the dish saturated and juicy.
We couldn’t stop ourselves at only one seafood option, so the cooking team prepared some jumbo tiger prawns with tea leaves. The secret to perfection when it comes to prawns is freshness and the right cooking time to keep them soft and succulent. At 1826 Restaurante, they bake them with Chinese tea leaves, Cantonese style. This way, the prawns are cooked to perfection and enhanced with the unique flavor of tea. To order this dish, you need to notify the restaurant in advance.
Another seafood platter we tried was scallops, pork, and veggie stir-fry, humble yet delicious option if you crave a vegetable-filled entree. Lotus, pepper, and asparagus are not overcooked and still have a crunchy texture, which means more vitamins and minerals are preserved.
From the land
When we thought the feast was coming to its sweet conclusion, some meat dishes arrived. The portion of succulent beef cooked with soy sauce served with taro and daikon is generous enough to feed three people! The last main dish we had a chance to taste was also the most festive one. Usually reserved for special events and celebration, suckling pig is a sumptuous dish that deserves all the popularity it gets in Portugal, Macau, or anywhere else in the world. At 1826 Restaurante, it comes with some truly delectable rice. After several trial and error rounds, the culinary team came up with some tricks to make this rice perfectly balanced. First, the chef wraps the rice in aluminum foil and pricks some holes in it. Then, he stuffs the piglet with this aluminum rice bag. Thus, the rice turns out to be flavorsome and not too oily. The crispy skin and delicate and juicy meat of the piglet yet again speak for 1826’s chef’s excellent skills.
Finally, after all the myriad of savory combinations, the desserts arrived. We opted for a traditional egg pudding and a home-style cheesecake. It couldn’t be a better way to conclude such a feast! Well, maybe with a shot of espresso, which we couldn’t say no to.
For reservations, call +853 2838 1826
1826 Restaurante 1/F, Tenis Civil, 14 Avenida da Republica, Macau, +853 2838 1826, www.facebook.com/1826Restaurante