Restaurant Review – Troppo Buono, Ponte da Barca
This week, guest poster dogoyaro reviews the Troppo Buono Italian restaurant at Ponte de Barca. Thanks dogoyaro – Troppo Buono sounds like a great place to eat 🙂
Running a restaurant is a dicey business at the best of times, even when you’ve got everything going for you. In the Minho, tradition is everything and food and wine are high on the list. Restaurants abound here and what is offered is ‘tipico’ and traditional.
The Minho remains ‘Undiscovered Portugal.’ There are no throngs of tourists here, hence the dearth of ‘ethnic’ restaurants. There are one or two in the few major conurbations but Ponte da Barca could not be thus described.
So it comes as a surprise to find a good Italian restaurant here. Troppo Buono will shortly be celebrating its seventh birthday so it’s already well established. It is run by a local family going back many generations. Jorge Nellavente learned to love Italian cuisine not among the rolling hills of Tuscany but in Montreal, Canada, where he, his brother and uncle worked in one of the city’s finest Italian restaurants. Fortunately for Portugal, they returned home to Ponte da Barca and Jorge opened Troppo Buono.
The restaurant has ample seating capacity with enough space between the tables to ensure diners’ comfort. There is also a private room with seating for 30. Tables are impeccably set and the service is swift and attentive.
The menu is comprehensive, including many of the best-known Italian dishes – meat, fish, pasta, rice and a good choice of pizzas. If there’s something you would like which isn’t on the menu, Jorge will do his best to meet your request. Prices are very reasonable, matching what one might pay in a good local restaurant serving Portuguese cuisine.
The ‘couvert’ changes from time to time and may include marinated salmon with capers, steamed mussels, octopus, ham and sausage cuts, small pizza wedges, cheese and cocktail tomatoes, bread and an olive oil and balsamico dunking mix.
The choice of main courses is excellent, with ten salads and hors d’oeuvres, 17 pasta and risotto options, nine fish dishes and ten meat dishes, as well as a mouth-watering selection of freshly baked pizzas. The minestrone soup and delicious Osso Bucco are particularly recommended. A choice of ten desserts ensures you finish your meal in style.
The well-chosen wine list is packed with Portuguese favourites, from heavy reds to superb vinho verdes, including a lovely Meio Seco Branco from Ponte da Barca and some ‘greats’ from the Alentejo. Jorge’s only concession to Italian wine is Lambrusco – red, white or rosé…the ladies love it! Sweet, fizzy and low in alcohol, it’s a winner when served ice cold.
A couple of doors up the street is “Sweet Moments” owned and run by Jorge’s wife, Manuela…café, snacks and homemade cakes, plus about ten different real Italian ice-creams. Unique in Ponte da Barca….ah! The good life!
Jorge has also opened a branch restaurant further north in Monção which I have not, as yet, visited…..more on that maybe later.
Currently Troppo Buono, which also does takeaways, is open six days a week (closed on Sundays).
Troppo Buono, Edificio Afonso III, Rua do Emigrante, 4980 Ponte da Barca
Tel: 258 453 207