2017-04-05 / Restaurant of the Week


Lavrador is a gem of a restaurant, as unique as the borough in which it resides. Tucked solidly into 101st Avenue in Jamaica, you’ll smell the tantalizing aromas of O Lavrador even before you enter the charming restaurant because the smoker outside is always full of their house made chorizo (Portuguese sausage) made from a family recipe since 1981. Indeed, O Lavrador has been serving the unique and delectable cuisines of Portugal and Spain along with continental dishes to the delight of diners who come from near and far for the consistently delicious, reasonably priced dishes, excellent service, and warm, cozy ambience. Enjoy live, soothing guitar music Monday to Wednesday evenings while you dine and sip on their very potable sangria, fine wines, caipirinhas, cocktails, and beers. In fact the bar just next door is a great place to visit and decompress with friends, even if you’re not up for a full meal.

“O Lavrador” means “the farmer” in Portuguese and this rustic restaurant is very welcoming as the Ferreira and Henriques families greet you at the door. Manuela, Edgar, and Mario treat all their guests like family so plan to spend at least a couple of hours here with ‘family’ as you enjoy a memorable meal. Edgar got right down to business with an order of smoky chorizo, set ablaze at our table with strong liqueur, and sliced into bite-sized morsels. Grilled octopus is impossibly tender and succulent, while the sweet, tender clams we had were steamed in garlic and white wine ($10). Warm, crusty rolls helped soak up the aromatic juices and a hand made ceramic pitcher of freshly mixed sangria with chopped fruit soaked into us at the perfect pace. Cod fish croquettes are a national dish of Portugal and Brazil too, and O Lavrador makes light, flaky croquettes that are great as a first course, or for snacking at the bar. Tender calamari are superb here, whether you order it fried into crispy rings, or grilled and sliced. You may also start with a bowl of their traditional collard green soup, or the soup of the day. Share a mixed salad for the table too.

It’s no secret that Portuguese cuisine features plenty of fish and seafood. How could you go wrong with lobster, shrimp, and scallops in champagne sauce with rice to soak it up? Mariscada con salsa verde is a melange of lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops in a creamy and fragrant parsley sauce, served with rice, ideal for two people ($32). We devoured the same seafood combination with a zesty lemon and garlic sauce along with a generous helping of O Lavrador’s home made cottage fries. The seafood was so fresh and sweet, the sauce delicious, and the wavy-cut fries are simply addictive. Linguine with frutti di mare is on the menu along with a traditional Spanish style Paella Marinera with seafood, or Paella Valenciana with seafood, chicken, and chorizo sausage with lots of saffron-infused rice.

O Lavrador does an equally good job with meat and you will love their grilled lamb chops with rosemary sauce, served with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables ($23). Tender, grilled skirt steak called entranha is cooked to order and served with oven roasted potatoes and vegetables. There’s also a grilled sirloin steak, but the skewer of steak, chicken, chorizo, onion and peppers offers a taste of three meats, beautifully presented. Carne de porco a Alentejana combines tender pork tenderloins with sweet clams and cubed potatoes in a savory brown sauce that is so hearty and delicious.

The friendly, efficient wait staff caters to your every need and happily packs up the food you just can’t finish for a fabulous lunch or dinner the next day. Dessert should not be skipped so try the creamy chocolate mousse, cheesecake, home made tiramisu, poached pears, or chocolate lava cake, to name a few. You must have a glass of Porto, a dessert wine from Portugal, to validate your meal and the coffee is great too.

Make your reservations now for a festive Easter Sunday Dinner at O Lavrador where you will feast like kings and queens for a fixed price of $35 per adult. Better still, there’s free parking in their own lot and they’re conveniently located just off the Grand Central Parkway (Atlantic Ave Exit). O Lavrador is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. There are economical lunch specials and whole chickens on the churrasca to stay or to go. Catering is available off site or in their lovely, spacious dining rooms, which hold up to 30 or 60 guests. Make any night special at O Lavrador and make a special occasion extra memorable at O Lavrador where the unique cuisine, ambience, and service is outstanding. . Obrigada!

138-40 101 Avenue  Jamaica


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