LaSallete Restaurant – A Taste of Portugal in Sonoma, California


LaSalette Restaurant/By Guest Editor, Dan Dias

I had always heard that California’s climate, the rich abundance of fresh seafood and locally grown produce made it similar to Portugal.

Perhaps that’s why the wave of Portuguese immigrant fisherman, whalers, and farmers who arrived there, soon made it their home for many generations to come.

Today, California has a large and thriving Portuguese community that embraces their culture and heritage.

On our second trip to California, my wife and I visited Napa Valley, toured the vineyards that truly reminded us Portugal and visited many other sights.

We ended our last night in Sonoma, California, with a wonderful cultural dinning experience at LaSalette Restaurant.

Owner/Chef Manuel Azevedo offers his own interpretation of modern Portuguese cuisine, which celebrates the immense flavors and dishes of Portugal while encouraging the use of fresh local, seasonal ingredients.

LasSalette’s old world ambiance, with it’s open hearth kitchen, generates home style comfort and appeal.The gracious Portuguese hospitality provided by the attentive staff as well as the familiar “Gallo de Borcellos” the LaSalette mascot, a national symbol of Portugal adorning the staff uniforms said to us; “Welcome to Portugal” as soon as we walked in the door!

The taste tempting menu with it’s quintessential Portuguese flavors, the home made breads, and tempting aromas in the air, left our pallets craving and anticipating our planned Summer trip to Portugal in August!

Our first bite of the amuse bouche (first bite) of Chourica with melted Sao Jorge Cheese with olives temped us with it’s spicy yet creamy taste. The appetizer of Scallops, chourico crusted Japanese sweet potato puree, with leek confit and Portuguese molho was superb.

We dived into the appetizer combination platter of succulent baby octopus, sweet tripe stew, fried goat cheese with compote jam, homemade bread and almonds all complemented by our Portuguese Douro valley wine selection; Vale de Bomfim.


Amuse Bushe – Chourica & Sao Jorge Cheese – LaSalette Cook Book

For my entree, I ordered the classic “Fisherman’s Stew” made fresh California coastal seafood of;  juicy clams, mussels, shrimp and fish prepared in a rich broth with Portuguese chourica and spices.

My wife’s Wood Fired Branzino was simply the best she’s ever had!

Wood Fired Branzino

Whole Wood Fired Branzino – LaSalette Cook Book

Caldeirada – Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew – Sea bass, scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, fingerling potatoes, linguiça, lobster fumet

Vale de Bomfim

Chocolate Fetish – Chocolate mousse with almond tuile, chocolate soufflé with ruby port geléeand bitter chocolate sorbet with caramelized banana

We smiled at each other as we overheard the couple at the next table who had never tasted tripe or Portuguese cuisine before, rave on and on about it’s goodness! We knew they would become adoring fans of Portuguese food just like many others before them.

The Chocolate Fetish dessert created a perfectly sweet ending to our diner that lasted during the taxi drive back to our hotel. We had a great experience dining at LaSalette and we plan on re-creating it again next year!

You don’t have to fly to California to taste the amazing dishes that Chef Azevedo has created for his guests, just visit the LaSalette website and order the LaSalette’s cook book because most of the dishes served at the restaurant are in it!

This book is not an ordinary cook book. It is meant to be used, shared and then passed down in the family.

It contains 360 pages, over 270 recipes, and the beautiful photographs by Portuguese photographer Henrigue Bagulho will leave you craving the flavor of Portugal, and inspire you to try the recipes.

What a perfect gift for the special Portuguese foodie in your life!

*Order now for FREE SHIPPING for the month of MAY with SPECIAL CODE: “PICK UP”

*Free Shipping available in Continental USA-May only.

Here’s the video of the promo for the cook book!

“My personal mission is to do whatever I can to put Portuguese cuisine in its rightful place alongside other great cuisines in the United States. Because the truth is, if we want to survive and prosper as a culture, we need to make an impact, not merely be present.” Chef Azevedo/Owner – LaSalette

Chef Manuel Azevedo

Grilled Sardines, Pickled Sea Beans and Azorean Green Sauce – LaSalette Cook Book


Olive Oil Poached Salt Cod Fish

Alentejana Style Pork & Clams – LaSalette Cook Book

Chef Azevedo has recently opened a new restaurant in Healdsburg, CA, called Cafe Lucia which we didn’t have time to visit but it’s on our agenda for next time!


18625 Sonoma Highway 12
Sonoma Ca 95476

Cafe Lucia

Inventive, contemporary Portuguese Cuisine
in the heart of the Sonoma County Wine Country

235 Healdsburg Avenue, Suite 105
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tel (707) 431-1113


LaSalette Restaurant Cookbook – Cozinha Nova Portuguesa

Hello to all my “Portuguese Foodies”!

I have an amazing GIVEAWAY for you this month!

WIN a FREE – LaSalette Cook Book and a FREE $50 Gift Certificate to LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma CA courtesy of Chef Manuel Azevedo!

Just leave a comment at the end of the end of this post or on my Tia Maria’s Blog  to enter to win! *

*Contest has ended 10/30/2012* Thanks for participating!


I tried to come up some catchy phrases to describe the Chef Manuel Azevedo’s cook book; LaSalette Restaurant  – Cozinha Nova Portuguesa, but one world says it all.  Spectacular!

The Chef begins his book with the heartfelt Portuguese custom of greeting guests! ….Bem-Vindo! “Welcome to the LaSalette Restaurant cookbook and the thank you for letting me share with you my passion for Portuguese cuisine and my vision for it.”  Chef Manuel Azevedo

By beginning the first chapter with a very familiar story of family and sacrifice which most Portuguese immigrants can relate to, Chef Azevedo makes an instant connection to the reader by taking us on a personal journey of how he developed his passion for Portuguese cuisine and how it inspired his menu at LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma CA. which is named after the person who taught him to cook, his mother, LaSalette. 

“My mother, LaSalette, instilled in my my love of cooking and Portuguese cuisine, and some of my earliest memories revolve around food. I can still smell the smoky aroma of linguica curing over an open stove.” Chef Azevedo

As I read further along, I learned that the chef and I have a shared passion. We want to  inspire people to learn about our unique Portuguese cuisine and we want to promote it, so that it can receive the recognition that it deserves. 

“My personal mission is to do whatever I can to put Portuguese cuisine in its rightful place alongside other great cuisines in the United States. Because the truth is, if we want to survive and prosper as a culture, we need to make an impact, not merely be present.” Chef Azevedo

But this is not a standard cook book with a copulation of recipes. This cook book is a learning tool for anyone that wants to learn about how Portuguese flavors work in creating not only the traditional classics but how the flavors can help you to “Think Like a Portuguese Chef” (page 322) and to create your own interpretation on the classics in your own kitchen.

The book is massive, with 370 pages and 270 recipes which include US and metric conversions.  The chapter titled; Flavor Toolkit, has recipes for all the classic spice blends and flavor profiles used in Portuguese cuisine. In this book, you will learn recipes from the basics such as Piri Piri sauce, soups, main dishes, breads and pastries which include the all time Azorean classic Massa Sovada (Sweet Bread).

The stunning and beautiful photos of pallet tempting dishes taken by Portuguese Photographer, Henrigue Bagulho will leave you craving the flavor of Portugal and inspire you to try the recipes.

“For me like for most Portuguese, eating is not merely the consumption of food. It is an act of appreciation! Chef Manuel Azevedo.

In Chapter’s titled Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter the chef takes us with him on his personal journey through Portugal where we are given a connoisseurs brief history lesson about the unique flavors that make up Portuguese cuisine. The recipes in Cozinha Nova Portuguesa (New Portuguese Cuisine) incorporate these traditional flavors with the local fresh ingredients of Sonoma CA, to create a unique menu that has received rave reviews by his customers since 1998.

“It’s been nearly 15 years since LaSalette welcomed it’s first guests and I’m ever thankful, they’re still coming back for more.” Chef Azevedo

Visit the LaSalette website to purchase the NEW Cookbook, gift certificates, and quality products such as spices, piri piri sauce and embroidered apparel.

I encourage you to buy this cook book because this is a book that will be passed down to the next generation! It’s a perfect book not only for the special “Portuguese Cook” in your life but  for someone that is just beginning to learn about the extraordinary cuisine that inspired the cuisines of countries all over the world!

Congratulations to another great Portuguese American Chef on this outstanding achievement. If you’d like to contact the chef to congratulate him you may reach him at LaSalette!

Sample video of the stunning dishes in Chef Manuel Azevedo’s cook book

LaSalette-Restaurant – Facebook page

Read More: Face Book Page – Henrique Mano – Luso Americano

Random drawing to be held on October 30th. 1 Winner will be notified by email or Facebook message.

Please share this contest and enter today! Tia Maria…