Pau Hana Patrol: Eat, drink and learn Portuguese
On a late Monday afternoon in Chinatown, Portuguese restaurant Adega wasn’t exactly packed — but it wasn’t empty, either.
A few people lingered over drinks and appetizers at the bar during happy hour, and a few diners were getting started with ordering at the tables, creating a bit of pau hana buzz.
Adega Portuguesa Restaurant & Bar
1138 Smith St.
If you drop in on a Monday, then happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.) is a good warm-up to the Portuguese language lesson from 6 to 8 p.m.
The conversational class, taught by Brazilian-American Kristina Rinehart, is free, though donations are welcome and go to a local church.
A handful of appetizers are available during happy hour, though it may also be tempting to order from the main menu while you’re there.
My favorites from the happy hour menu were the mouthwatering Cogumelos Recheados — mushrooms stuffed with crab and cheese ($10) — and Picadinho Vinho D’ahlos (pork cooked in wine, vinegar and garlic sauce), which came with chunks of fried potato ($8).
Under the fried category, you can choose from the typical basket of fries or chicharrons, or fried pork rinds (both $4), or Lulas Fritas, which is fried calamari served with a spicy tomato sauce ($9). We only tried the latter; the rings were nice and large, but the sauce could have used more tang.
Whatever you choose, it will fill you up, as these comfort food-style appetizers combined are enough to become a meal.
DRINK PRICES are decent enough for happy hour but nothing special, with domestic beer at $3 and imported beer and well drinks at $4.
For novelty, this would be the right place to share a bottle of Periquita ($18), a fruity table wine produced in Portugal. If you don’t want a whole bottle, a glass is $5. You can also try a refreshing caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail ($7), made of cachaca, or sugar cane rum, and lime.
The place has a casual, easygoing atmosphere, and owner Trigo Da Silva, who originally hails from Portugal, mingles among customers from time to time.
The interior is somewhat rustic with lots of wood, but I couldn’t help noting the fake grapevines wrapped along the wall behind the bar.
Yvonne Garcia and Alejandro Rodriguez of Pauoa Valley were at Adega for the first time to check out the restaurant. She’s originally from Puerto Rico and he’s originally from Mexico.
They love good food and wine, and were at Adega to try new flavors.
They started off with codfish croquettes and shrimp scampi. “Very good,” Garcia said.
“You want more than just good food,” she said. “You want atmosphere and ambience. When we walked in, we felt it was a warm atmosphere.”
Rodriguez ordered Bitoque, New York Angus strip steak topped with gravy and a fried egg (Portuguese loco moco) and served with fried potatoes. She ordered a seafood paella and left nothing on her plate.
“We’ll be coming back,” she declared at the end of the meal.
It’s a fun place to hang out and meet a good cross section of people.
There’s a lot going on at Adega. Wednesdays is salsa night with DJ ROD from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Live music happens on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, offering everything from a guitar and vocal duo to bossa nova, samba and jazz.
–Nina Wu / firstname.lastname@example.org