Aldea Restaurant: Our New Favorite Portuguese Restaurant in NYC
The best meal we’ve had so far this year was dinner at Aldea restaurant, Chef George Mendes’s mid-priced, Portuguese restaurant in NYC, gorgeously designed space near Union Square and the Flatiron. It was smack in the middle of summer, the place had just recently opened, and from the house-made Corn and Basil Soda, through the pristine Spanish Mackerel with almond milk and crunchy soy bits, and the unbelievably good heirloom tomato Gazpacho (loaded with oysters and mozzarella explosions), on to the fat and perfect Maine Diver Scallops over farro risotto, the entire meal at Aldea Restaurant was spectacular: exciting, fresh and alive with invention, confidence, and impeccable flavors.
George Mendes’s Aldea Restaurant Exceeds Expectations
The second best meal we’ve had this year? Dinner at Aldea restaurant, about a week ago, to sample the new Fall Market Menu and see how Mendes has handled the strong reviews–including a two-star from the New York Times–and the crowds that follow. We needn’t have been concerned, as the kitchen delivered another huge winner of a dinner, and Aldea restaurant remains our favorite new place to dine in town.
This time at the Portuguese restaurant in NYC, we started with Baby Cuttlefish, stunningly tender, infused with the sea, and without any of the milkiness which these strange swimmers can have at sushi places. The four pale piles of fish were accompanied by sweet caramelized lychees and salty mentaiko, all drizzled with squid ink. Total oceanic heaven at Aldea restaurant. For our main course we devoured George Mendes’s wonderful Arroz de Pato, a deep and earthy mound of rice generously studded with soft duck confit, crunchy duck cracklings, spicy, translucently thin chorizo, and black olives. For its depth of flavor, its textural contrasts, its note-perfect take on creative comfort food, this is as satisfying a dish as we’re likely to have this season. If you can get to Aldea restaurant anytime soon, do.
Aldea Restaurant Details
Aldea restaurant is located on 17th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, and is open for both lunch on Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and for dinner on Monday through Thursday from 5:30 until 11:00 p.m.; on Friday and Saturday until 12:00 midnight. Dinner reservations are recommended. For a complete menu and many lovely images, please see the Aldea website, here.