Friday, June 16, 2017

Churrasqueira Martins: Superb Portuguese Cuisine

Owned and operated by Carlos and Samantha Martins since 1992, Churrasqueira Martins Grill House is a neighbourhood gem, tucked away in a lacklustre plaza near Rogers and Old Weston Road in the Rockcliffe-Smythe area of West Toronto. Famous for its succulent Barbecue Chicken and bathed in their famous sauce, there’s no rotisserie here — chicken is cooked the "authentic way," butterflied over a rotating horizontal charcoal grill. The classic BBQ sauce that completes the meal is an old family recipe. Martins also imports whole fish twice a week from Portugal which come in fresh on ice, never frozen, and serves quite possibly the city's best grilled fish and seafood in the city. Cooked to perfection and flavoured with love, the Grilled Octopus is the best I've ever had.

Relaxed and informal with an outstanding menu of over 60 Portuguese classics and extensive wine list including their own wine brand of house red and white, Martins sensational cuisine is only matched by their warm, friendly and gracious staff, helpful with any menu recommendations and attentive to our every whim. Arriving for a weekday lunch on a sunny summer afternoon, we began with complimentary plates of Presunto, a traditional dry-cured ham from Portugal, as well as heaping bowls of spiced olives, as we perused the mouthwatering menu. Our lovely server Jason, started us off with two bottles of Martins house white and red wine, followed with an assortment of appetizers including delicious Grilled Squid topped with parsley infused olive oil, Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato — clams in white wine and cilantro butter — and an impressive platter of gorgeous Grilled Tiger Shrimp. As entrées, we dove into a selection of Martin's signature dishes: Bacalhau à Lagareiro: Grilled Salted Cod; Dorada Grelhada: Grilled Whole Sea Bream; Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled Sardines sprinkled with sea salt and lemon and Slow-Roasted Charcoal-BBQ Chicken with fresh cut french fries. Open seven days a week, there is absolutely no place outside of Lisbon to find better grilled fish and seafood than Churrasqueira Martins. It will take great restraint on my part not to go back each and every day — "Obrigado a todos".

The warm, inviting and elegant interior of Churrasqueira Martins

Complimentary plates of Presunto, a dry-cured ham from Portugal, are brought to the table as diners peruse Churrasqueira Martins extensive menu of classic Portuguese dishes

Bowls of spiced olives are also set out to enjoy

A bottle or two of sparkling water was a sensible beginning to our indulgent pescatorian feast

Our warm and gracious server Jason presenting Churrasqueira Martins house white wine

Light bodied, cool and crisp, the Portuguese white wine was delicious

Lula Grelhada: Grilled Squid topped with parsley infused olive oil

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato: Clams in white wine and cilantro butter

Gambas Grelhadas: Grilled Tiger Shrimp

Bacalhau à Lagareiro: Grilled Salted Cod served with roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Dorada Grelhada: Grilled Whole Sea Bream served with broccoli, carrots and broccolini

Slow-Roasted Charcoal-BBQ Chicken served with a pot of chili-laced Piri-Piri sauce, 
the iconic blend of chili, lemon and oil, and fresh cut french fries

Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled Sardines sprinkled with sea salt and lemon

My spectacular Grilled Octopus served with asparagus, broccolini, carrot and picked onion

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