In my quest for cheap eats around Dublin, I may have stumbled upon a place that ticks (nearly) all the boxes.
Cheap food? Tick. Great quality? Tick. Friendly staff? Tick.
Porto Belo is a tiny little Brazilian restaurant at 50 Pleasant St., just around the corner from Davitt’s pub on Camden St. It serves good, big portions of delicious food at really good prices.
Interior and Service
My good friend Cat and I first stumbled across Porto Belo when were going to a class near Camden St and wanted to try somewhere new for dinner. The decor was off-putting: plain white walls, plain wooden tables, plain office blinds. It reminded me of a canteen where I used to work. A Brazilian restaurant really should make an effort to recreate the some of Brazil’s carnival atmosphere. However, we were greeted with a friendly smile and soon felt at ease there. The service has been consistently good.
Our friendly and helpful waitress kindly suggested that we were ordering too much food. Foolishly, we ignored her. For starters, we shared five “Brazilian snacks” – simple and delicious little cheese or meat filled pastries. We also got Salpicao – described as a salad with potato, carrot, chicken, ham, cheese, mayonnaise, cream, pineapple, apple, raisins, potato sticks, herbs, and “chef’s personal touch.” This was a giant plate, crammed full of foods that would normally embarrassed to be seen together. Somehow, it worked. At this point, it dawned on us that our waitress’s prophetic advice about over-ordering would come true, and braced ourselves for the gorging to come.
The list of mains was really tempting. Cat had the Porto Chicken – juicy, succulent breast meat marinated in a blend of delicate yet robust spices. I opted for the Escabeche Fish 1, which was grilled fish in coconut milk and “dende sauce” (again, more gentle spices full of flavour). Both meals came with rice and mixed vegetables.
The Money Shot
Our bill came to €39.50 for two mains and two starters. On subsequent visits, I’ve skipped the starters and still left feeling full and satisfied. The most disappointing part of my visits, apart from the decor, is the lack of customers. With such great food, service, value and quality, this place deserves to be packed out of the door.
- Porto Belo is open for lunch during the week and opens for dinner at weekends. For bookings, phone 01-475-0239.