Chiado 416-538-1910 Lunch: Mon to Fri 12-2pm, Dinner: Mon to Sun 5-10pm http://www.chiadorestaurant.com/
This venerable College St. restaurant has been serving up delicious Portuguese cuisine for over 20 years. Specializing in pristine seafood and providing impeccable service one can understand its longevity and success. They fly their seafood in from the Azores, which is the Mediterranean Mecca of fish. White linen tablecloths and servers with wonderful attitudes and food knowledge know the menu and the many wines on their exquisite list.
Delicate sardines marinated in lemon, parsley and olive oil, served raw (or grilled) are almost flawless, succulent and classic flavours harmoniously co-existing, like milk and honey. The perfectly steamed clams are also noteworthy in a fresh garlic, coriander and white wine broth. Lovely and refined, the flavours absolutely tickle the palate. The only problem, and it was a serious one, was with the “fresh fish flown in from Portugal”. It tasted like it had been previously frozen. The meat was heavy, full of water and lacking flavour – something truly surprising and disappointing for a restaurant that prides itself on fresh fish.
Overall however, Chiado is organized, comfortable and knows how to execute Portuguese cuisine with subtlety and aplomb. Just remember to ask if the fish has been napping in the freezer.