This neighborhood in New Jersey has some of the best Portuguese food in the country
ON A TYPICAL pre-pandemic morning in Newark, New Jersey’s Ironbound neighborhood, you might have noticed lines of people outside of one of the many shops that dot the area, waiting for their galão — a Portuguese coffee similar to a cappuccino — while futebol plays on the television perched inside the store. Accompanying that morning coffee for many is a pastéis de nata (an egg custard tart), and the friendly chatter of locals of all stripes: matriarchs who’ve lived in the neighborhood since the ‘60s, business people who work at the nearby Prudential Center, the guy who works at the jewelry store across the street. Conversations often aren’t in English, but Spanish or Portuguese.... Elisabeth Sherman, Matador Network | Apr 19, 2021
A Taste of the Ironbound
A culinary adventure awaits just steps from Newark Penn Station. The Ironbound exudes old-world style, a picturesque place on the banks of the Passaic River. It is a district renowned for its Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian fare and the place to be seen once the sunsets.
Bounded by railroad tracks, the Ironbound earned its name for its proximity to foundries, it was a mecca for manufacturing in the 19th and 20th centuries, bringing an influx of immigration, saloons, breweries, and gathering spots. Today the Ironbound District is home to over 170 restaurants, unique markets, European stores, sports memorabilia shops, and small cafes all contained within a four-square-mile radius. It is a stone’s throw from several major sports and entertainment venues, NJPAC, Red Bull Arena, and Prudential Center making it an ideal location pre or post-game time.
Rev your engines at Teixeira’s Bakery with a steaming hot cup of galão, a revitalizing espresso, and foamed milk beverage. Need to dunk? A pasteis de nata, egg custard tart, or broa, a Portuguese cornbread always makes a splash.
Outdoor adventurers can take a stroll along Newark’s Riverfront Park; the vibrant orange walkway offers fantastic views of the Passaic River. Summertime, stretch for outdoor yoga, see a movie under the stars, catch a boat tour or rent a kayak and explore more.
Carnivores, stock up on sausages with a Presidential pedigree. Lopes Sausage Co. purveyors of chorizo and linguiça (chorizo's less spicy cousin), have supplied the White House with delicious smoked meats...and yes, they'll ship it to your house too. Need immediate gratification? Satiate your craving for grilled meats at Fernandes Steak House, known for their Rodizio. Looking for a quick and easy meal, try on Ferry Street Barbecue for smoky succulent Portuguese style BBQ. Count the stars, D'Artagnan supplies all of NYC's 4-star restaurants with gastronomic delights. From foie gras, game meat, organic poultry, pâtés, truffles, and sausages, it's Newark's finest meat market offering a farm-to-table experience.
Find frozen bliss at Nasto’s Ice Cream has been serving up homemade premium ice cream and old-world desserts since 1939. Their tartufo’s are not to be missed.
Looking for the perfect gem? Stop in at one of the two Vinhas Jewelry stores and pick up beautiful filigree pendants, watches, precious metals, and sparkling stones. Prefer a taste of the Old World? Head to Lisbon Wines & Liquors for the area's largest selection of Port; with rare bottles dating back to the early 1900s. They specialize in wines from Portugal and offer periodic seminars and tastings.
To truly savor the Ironbound, one must embark on a seafood exploration. At Seabra Marisquieria find contentment in Frutos Do Mar, a gigantic platter festooned with lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, and oysters…you’ll need a lot of friends to finish. Try a fresh fish dish at Fornos of Spain, or tackle classics Basque dishes like Bacalao at Casa Vasca. Looking for something on the lighter side? Mompou and Catas offer tempting tapas, served in stylish surroundings.
If it's sizzling nightlife you're after, the Ironbound is the place to be. Take on the retro-style illuminated floors at Adega Lounge where DJs spin an eclectic mix of Latin rhythms. You’ll feel like a real VIP at Vivo where you can enjoy bottle service and a huge dance floor. Looking for a unique experience? Every Thursday night the über artsy Hell’s Kitchen Lounge unleashes Brick City Burlesque, an ode to a bygone era with barebacked babes, glitz, and glamour.
Out late? Find refreshment at Andros Diner serving up comfort food 24 hours a day. Fall in love with the Ironbound and check out DreamPlay's new video exploring this charming neighborhood.