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Atasca

Atasca_logoThis week, I finally paid a visit to Atasca, a great Portuguese restaurant on Hampshire Street in Cambridge.

This frequent Best of Boston winner has an extensive menu of authentic Portuguese cuisine, thanks to proprieters Joe and Maria Cerqueira, who hail from Arcos De Valdevez (in the Minho region and mainland) and Graciosa Island (in the Azores), and a chef from Madeira. In fact, the Cerqueiras return to their homeland at least once a year to visit family and friends, as well as get new culinary ideas for their restaurant.

Like the staff, the casual interior is warm and inviting; there is a beautiful display of traditional Portuguese pottery on the walls and lively music in the background. Atasca_2

The food was delicious and the prices extremely reasonable. I enjoyed the Peito de Galinha com Queijo S. Jorge (boneless chicken breast sauteed with S. Jorge cheese, linguica and wine, served with broccoli rabe risotto; Jeremi had the Bacalhau de Cebolada (baked dry salt cod with carmelized onions, roasted peppers surrounded with home fried potatoes; watch out for the bones!). Both meals were excellent, and we of course raised a glass of Portuguese red in honor of the ol' Rogers clan who originally hailed from Terceira in the Azores.

I need to go back to sample some of their other regional specialties (marinated pork medallions, home cured ham, stewed fava beans with onion and garlic, sangria...); they also have a sister restaurant called O'Cantinho on Cambridge Street.

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