Restaurant review: Amazonas Portuguese & Brazilian Street Food, Cardiff

Having recently returned from another week in Portugal (Lagos, Algarve), I am craving Portuguese food like you cannot imagine. I ate my body weight in fish; from tuna and salmon, to golden bream and swordfish, and tucked into traditional Portuguese piri piri chicken, pork and clams, and pastel de nata (custard tarts). 

There’s only one thing that will satisfy my craving, and that’s another visit to Amazonas, Portuguese and Brazilian Street Food café/restaurant on Clifton Street, Cardiff. In fact, my next visit will be my fourth. It’s taken me a while to get round to writing about Amazonas, which was opened last summer by a lovely Madeiran woman named Claudia. The advantage of this is that I’ve now eaten my way through most of the menu, so I have lots of lovely food to write about.

The front of Amazonas Portuguese and Brazilian Street Food, Cardiff

Here are my highlights from the Amazonas menu:

Pao de Queijo, £2.50

These baked cheese balls have a crispy exterior and a soft, puffy interior. Flavoured with mild, tangy cheese (Parmesan, I think), they are commonly eaten in Brazil for breakfast or as a snack. Guaranteed to make getting out of bed that little bit easier. 

Pao de Queijo

Prego Especial, £5.95

Amazonas offer two different takes on the traditional Portuguese steak sandwich, or ‘prego’; the Prego no Pao (£4), a steak sandwich with garlic butter, lettuce and tomato, or the Prego Especial – the same as the Prego no Pao, with the addition of egg, ham and cheese. The tender, juicy steak pairs well with the just-runny fried egg, slightly salty ham and melted cheese, while the garlic butter soaks into the lightly floured Portuguese bread roll and the lettuce, making for an irresistible, garlicky flavour explosion every time you take a bite of the sandwich. 

Prego Especial sandwich of steak, egg, tomato, lettuce, garlic butter
Picanha, £5.95

Picanha is a traditional Brazilian dish of sirloin cap rump steak; considered the best cut of beef throughout much of South America because the bone and tenderloin have been removed. The meat is cut using a Brazilian method, cooked medium-rare, dressed with lime and served with a small bowl of farofa (toasted cassava flour) to dip the steak into, and vinaigrette. 

Picanha Brazilian rump steak
Feijao Tropeiro, £2.50
This Brazilian mash-up of bacon, scrambled egg, cabbage, beans and cassava flour might not sound like the ideal combination, but trust me, it works. Comfort food at its finest. 

Calabreza Acebotada, £4.95

Slightly salty Brazilian pork sausage, almost resembling bacon, fried with onions and fresh herbs and served with the obligatory side salad. 

Milho Frito, £1.50

A classic dish on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Milho Frito consists of crispy-coated, fluffy-centred cubes of polenta interspersed with fresh herbs. 

Trio of dishes at Amazonas Portuguese and Brazilian Street Food, Cardiff

L-R: Feijao Tropeiro, Calabreza Acebotada and Milho Frito

Franqueijo Pastel, £3.25

Another Brazilian speciality, a pastel is a thin rectangular pastry  stuffed with a variety of fresh ingredients. Amazonas serves no less than six different types of pastel – a great sign of the popularity of this tasty dish. I am a sucker for a chicken and cheese combination so naturally, the Franqueijo Pastel blew my mind; morsels of chicken and hot, melted cheese stuffed inside a golden brown, crispy shell. 

Franqueigo Brazilian pastries
Pastel de nata (custard tart)

I’m a big fan of Portuguese pastel de nata, a.k.a custard tarts. In fact, there is a Portuguese bakery just a few doors down from Amazonas called Nata and Co, which is well worth checking out. However, on my second visit to Amazonas, the staff excitedly let me know that they had freshly made Portuguese tart on offer, as I’d asked them what they thought of Nata and Co’s custard tarts when I visited before. It would have been rude not to try Amazonas’ version out for myself, so I ordered a slice. 

A triangular wedge of smooth, mellow egg custard lay encased in pastry, dusted with nutmeg. It was rich and creamy – one of the best egg custards I’ve ever tasted – although I think I prefer the flaky texture of individual pastel de nata tarts. 

Pastel de nata, egg custard tart

Do you like Portuguese and/or Brazilian food? I’d love to hear what your favourite dishes are.

Amazonas, Brazilian and Portuguese Street Food
140 Clifton Street,
CF24 1LY
029 2132 2829
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  1. hannah
    January 14, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    The food here looks great. Piri Piri is not actually Portuguese and is actually from African countries like Angola, Malawi and Mozambique. It’s a Swahili word for pepper pepper. It was introduced to Portuguese settlers in Mozambique. There looks like there is a good choice of food at the restaurant too

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      I heard the chillies were brought over to Portugal by Portuguese that settled in Africa.. I still see it as a Portuguese dish though – it is practically the national dish of Portugal 🙂

  2. January 15, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    Wow, now that is a lot of amazing food and polenta seems to be quite a thing right now. It has been on 3 cookery shows I’ve seen over the weekend x

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      I’ve been thinking of getting into polenta myself, as I’m doing healthy eating but getting bored of sweet potato. Wonder if it’s as healthy? 🙂

  3. January 15, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Looks so good, I loved the look of the Sandwich I could eat that right now! Thank you for sharing ?

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      No problem, glad you like the look of it 🙂

  4. January 15, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    The Prego Especial looks and sounds amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever tried Brazilian food – and the only Portugese I’ve had is Nando’s, ha!

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Aww – decent Portuguese food is such a step up from Nandos, you really should try it out sometime 🙂

  5. January 15, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    I’ve never tried Portuguese or Brazilian food before, but it looks delicious. Wonder if there’s anywhere similar in London!

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:05 pm

      I’m sure there must be – London has all kinds of cuisines, right?

  6. January 16, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Very good piece of writing. I am going to dream of food now 🙂 weirdly I have never tried (that I can think of) portugese food, I must get on that asap. I hate to be missing out! Well done, I loved reading this.

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      You are definitely missing out – it’s one of my favourite kinds of foods 🙂

  7. January 18, 2017 / 1:55 am

    Omg that sandwich looks amazing, I love reading about new eating places x

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      It was awesome 🙂

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