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Newark’s Ironbound


Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, where 25 percent of the population is of Portuguese descent, is the epicenter of Jersey’s Portuguese (and Portuguese-speaking) community, making  New Jersey one of the best places in the country to find Portuguese food.From two residents of Newark in the 1870 Census to almost 80,000 statewide in 2000, New Jersey has the fourth largest Portuguese population in the United States. The first wave of Portuguese immigrants, many from the Azores in the Atlantic, arrived between 1880 and 1920. The original Iberia Restaurant on Ferry Street opened in 1926. The Luso-Americano Newspaperlaunched in 1928. Later waves of immigrants from mainland Portugal in the 1960s, and more recently Brazil, have sustained the Ironbound’s Portuguese-speaking community.

Walk from Newark’s Penn Station down Ferry Street and you’ll see all kinds of Lusitanic businesses, shops and restaurants.

The Portuguese use a lot of olive oil, garlic and salt – a very good thing IMHO. Grilled meats and seafood dishes distinguish Portuguese cuisine. Roasted suckling pig (leitao), grilled chourico (sausage) – often served flaming, chicken piri piri (hot pepper oil) and all kinds of BBQ are common.

Popular seafood dishes include shellfish stews (cataplana), shrimp in garlic sauce, cod (bacalhau), and pork cubes with clams. You might also try bread soup (açordo) and baked goods like Portuguese rolls and custard cups (pasteis de nata). These influences also show up in the food of former Portuguese colonies in Brazil and Africa (Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique).

The Ironbound offers a happy mix of Portuguese, Brazilian, Spanish and other ethnic food. Some places serve all of the above. tries to keep the categories straight, distinguishing Portuguese from predominantly Brazilian restaurants, but I’m sure we’ve made some mistakes. (Let us know with a comment.) Restaurants specializing in rodizio – the all-you-can-eat, roving grilled meat palaces – are generally Brazilian, for example.

You can trace the suburban Portuguese-American migration on the map. Follow the highways that radiate from Newark – West on Route 22 to Somerville, South on Route 1/9 to Elizabeth, and North on 21 to Belleville – to find the next generation of New Jersey’s best Portuguese restaurants.


New Jersey Dispatch: “The Ironbound”
Newark is Home Away From Home to Portuguese Immigrants
Newark’s Portuguese Community Keeps Fires of Tradition Burning
Spanish, Portuguese, or Brazilian recommendations in the Newark area


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11 Responses to “Portuguese”

  1. Mona says:

    Hi there.

    I live in Lyndhurst and I’m looking for a nice brazilian/portugese restaurant in NJ with good food and also live music. In other words eat and dance type of thing…anyone can give me some informations?

  2. Val says:

    u have to try allegro restaurant on kossuth st. in ironbound, it’s absolutely amazing. the seafood platter for two is like whoa. the sangria is amazing also. my bf is portuguese and he knows the owner personally. he took me here when we first started dating and it’s become my fav spot to eat, we go there often. the waiters are so friendly. they have an outdoor patio in the back with outside bar, you’ll fall in love.

  3. JA-MARCELO says:

    Congratulation looks very good.

  4. JA-MARCELO says:

    Parabens, os pratos tem uma aparência muito apetitosa

  5. Meade says:

    Has anyone tried the new Spanish/Portugese restaurant that opened in Brick. It’s on a quick turnoff road off Mantoloking Rd. by the fire station. Don’t know the name, but I hear it’s good. It’s always busy.

  6. Meade says:

    Try Europa South on Arnold Ave. in Pt. Pleasant. They have the best food in the area. Their Paella is excellent.

  7. Carla says:

    This is great information, but you forgot one very old and great Portuguese Restaurant. El Pastor @ 570 Market Street Newark NJ 07105
    It was the first and remians the only resaturant in the Ironbound section that offers live music every Fri, Sat and Sunday. They also offer the traditional Portuguese music….FADO, usually performed by 3 and 4 string guitar.