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Five bite size Codfish Cakes with spoon reflecting photographer's image at Espaco Lisboa, Macau

Codfish Cakes at Espaco Lisboa, Macau

As mentioned in my last culinary post, Macau has developed a style of food that is different from any other kind of cuisine in China. This is largely due to the heavy influence of European merchants who made up a significant percentage of Macau demographics for centuries. These merchants were initially mainly from Portugal and eventually the area would become a Portugese colony. Their cuisine is thus a fusion with heavy Portuguese influences.

I had the opportunity to taste this unique style of food a few times in Macau, and one of my favorite places was the Restaurante Espaco Lisboa. It is located in Coloane, Macau. A location that is hard to beat and I have made mention of its appeal to me elsewhere. The Portuguese roots of this restaurant are clearly visible in both its name and in its food.

The restaurant is rather hidden away and is not clearly visible from the bus stop. I had been paying a visit to the nearby public bathroom when this restaurant attracted my attention. I had just eaten so I did not visit then, but I made time for a return visit a week later.

Rice at the bottom, with a seafood dish, olives at center and codfish cakes just visible at the top, Macau

Our table at Espaco Lisboa, Macau

Inside, the restaurant has a uniquely European feel, and I immediately felt at home. We spent some time reviewing the menu before ordering an appetizer of Bacalhau or Cod Fish Cakes. This Cod Fish dish originated in Portugal where there are many variations of Bacalhau. The cakes here were quite excellent, being crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.For the main course I chose Bacalhau Com Natas, which is basically codfish in a cream filling. The codfish had been dried so this dish was a little chewy but not burdensome. The taste was pleasant but not overbearing and the olives on top gave it a nice presentation. My friend ordered a seafood dish as well, which came with a side of plain white rice, a sign perhaps of Chinese influence. This dish was probably the best as the sauce’s creamy texture worked well with the rice.

The sign for the Restaurante Espaco Lisboa hangs above their soft drinks and cash register

Front counter of Restaurante Espaco Lisboa

In the end this restaurant earned a four out of five star rating only because I did not feel any aspect of the restaurant wowed me enough to qualify it as a five star. This restaurant is quaint and rustic though not inexpensive. Traditional Macanese restaurants tend to be rather pricey in Macau, so in comparison this restaurant is a good deal. I would highly recommend it for getting a delicious taste of Macau history.