While the Boston area has a handful of restaurants that offer diners Portuguese cuisine, you really have to look southward to find an abundance of options for this type of food, namely New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, RI, and a few smaller communities in Rhode Island and the southern part of Massachusetts. And in this general area, there are a variety of options as to food, price, and atmosphere ranging from cheap takeout joints to higher-end eating establishments. The latter includes a wonderful place in the Flint Village section of Fall River called Estoril, but the higher-end part only applies to the atmosphere and the food, as the prices are almost ridiculously low. Sound good? Well, we think so, too, and feel that this Estoril is indeed a hidden gem of immense proportions.
Estoril, which takes its name from a seaside resort community near Lisbon, stands out quite a bit, as its bright, European-style facade contrasts to the other buildings on the somewhat gritty Pleasant Street in the east end of the city. And while the exterior of Estoril is quite attractive, it is the interior which really stands out; the dining room is absolutely stunning, with sconces along the deep-red walls and a beautiful chandelier in the middle of the room giving the place a classy, elegant feel not unlike that of a luxurious townhouse in Boston's Beacon Hill. And the staff only adds to this feel with their sheer professionalism. The prices simply do not jibe with the atmosphere of the place, however, as prices for entrees rarely top $20, and in fact, many items can be had for little more than $10.
None of this would mean much if the food weren't good at Estoril, but that is certainly not a problem here. The Portuguese soup, for instance, is a mouthwatering mix of beans, beef, chourico, and vegetables mixed in a tomato broth that has just a hint of oil to it. Entrees are equally impressive, with the chicken Estoril including an unusually thick cut of white meat chicken mixed with tomatoes and mushrooms, all in a mild wine cream sauce. This dish (as do many) comes with Portuguese fries, which are a little like handcut potato chips, but a bit thicker, and are very tasty, albeit just a little on the greasy side. Another item on the menu at Estoril is the Madeiran steak, which is about as fine a cut of meat as you will find for this price; no gristle or waste is on it, and the hearty, rich wine sauce really rounds out the flavor of the meat quite nicely. Other dishes on the menu at Estoril include chourico, fried calamari, and littleneck clams for appetizers, and fisherman's pie, paelha, marinated pork, and shish kabob for entrees. Desserts include tiramisu, passion fruit pudding, and flan.
Estoril is quite a place; the food is tremendous, the atmosphere is memorable, and the prices are jaw-droppingly low. Sure, it is a bit of a hike from Boston, but it is basically a straight shot down Route 24, and for some who live on the South Shore, it may be easier to get to than some of the Portuguese restaurants around the immediate Boston area. But even if you think that Estoril is too far from where you live to try out, give it at least some consideration. We're glad that we did, as we feel that Estoril, to put it simply, is one of the best restaurants that we have ever featured on this site.
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