Start with robust Portuguese ingredients, add essence of the Mediterranean and a sprinkling of Chinese flavouring; top it off with a finishing flourish and what do you have? Antonio’s.
Walk the streets of old Taipa Village, located in the oldest and best preserved area of Taipa, Macao and you’re immediately aware of a thread of history that spans from the poorest labourers to wealthy merchants.
Formerly home to local fishermen, Taipa Village, is replete with traditional shophouses and quaint cobbled streets, in complete contrast to the razamatazz and kitsch glamour of the casinos that probably brought you to Macao in the first place.
This area is a melting pot, in more ways than one, with its blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture, with unmistakable Mediterranean touches that not only offer an insight into the cultural diversity and legacy of authentic Macau but also hide one of the most celebrated restaurants in the region.
No matter how you are introduced to Antonio’s, it’s quaint Mediterranean alleyway street presence, with plaque smothered and rendered façade, small-pane windows and old style lanterns outside, still seem strangely out of synch with the frenetic activity of Taipa village surroundings.
Nevertheless, step inside and you’re immediately transported to Portugal.
Decorative tiled panels on the walls, colourful pictures, musical instruments, wooden ceiling beams and tables with crisp white linen all insist that Antonio has given the chop to suey.
António was established in 2007 in Taipa Village Macau by award-winning Portuguese chef António.
He strives to promote Portuguese food and culture in Macau by presenting an array of authentic Portuguese dishes with a modern twist.
Although we are in search of quality cuisine in Macao, we’ve obviously discovered a restaurant that’s already popular with the locals for business lunches and quiet liaisons.
The restaurant, on two floors, also caters for functions and meetings but the downstairs is much more homely and welcoming.
As we’re in the middle of a self-imposed speedy itinerary in Macao, having taken the hydrofoil from Hong Kong for the day, we don’t want to spend too long over our lunch.
So, we opt for two main dishes that we can share, washed down with a smooth glass of Portuguese red wine.
We choose Barbecued ‘Portuguese’ Rack of Lamb with gratinated potato and spinach puree, as well as Roast Suckling Pig on rice, with mixed salad and sliced oranges.
The Lamb is delicate and flavoursome, with the Suckling Pig being both rich and substantial but the wine cuts through to create a tasty contrast and pleasant interlude in our tour.
On the subject of ‘contrast’, we recommend that you seek out Antonio’s, simply to escape the contrived glossy ‘perfection’ of high-rise casinos eager to separate you from your wealth.
The atmosphere in Antonio’s is warm, relaxing and congenial. It’s tempting to settle in for the day.
We feel as though we’ve tapped into a little of authentic Macao life – a behind the scenes, local experience that is fortunately missed by the gambling hoards.
If you’d like to visit Antonio’s website then click on the name and then follow the street map below.
Rua dos Clerigos No. 7, Old Taipa Village, Taipa, Macau
If you’d like more information about getting to Macao from Hong Kong by TurboJET then follow the link here
Its a whole lot easier, however, to ask us to arrange your own tailor-made travel throughout the Far East?
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