Alfama Restaurant – Portuguese Flavor in Midtown Manhattan

ALFAMA restaurant brings Portuguese flavor to midtown Manhattan with a modern twist on the classics. The restaurant derives it’s name from Alfama , the oldest district in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal, whose quaint neighborhoods have inspired poets, novelists and most notably the famous, yet melancholy Fado songs that are known so well throughout the world.

The West village in NYC, often referred to as  “Little Bohemia” has also inspired many writers, poets and artists. These two neighborhoods have very distinct similarities, but who would have known that they would also inspire the name of a restaurant owned by two men who were born in different continents.

Tarcísio Costa is from Brazil but his great grandparents were from Leiria Portugal. Miguel Jerónimo is from Lisbon, Portugal. They met in 1993 while working at the United Nations in New York City. The two friends soon discovered they shared a mutual passion for Portuguese cuisine and thus began their journey to bring those authentic culinary flavors New York City.  Ten years ago, they opened their restaurant in the bohemian neighborhood of the West Village naming it Alfama, due to the similarities of the two neighborhoods.

“When Alfama was in the West Village, it was a very popular restaurant. It had a clientele of people from all over the country, including some celebrities; (Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, JK Rowling (author of Harry Potter), Connie Nilesen, Nora Jones, Vanessa Williams, Kate Winslet, among others. Cesária Évora once had dinner there and fado singer Mariza performed three times at Alfama. As a matter of fact, she had two parties there to launch her CDs – Fado Curvo and Concerto em Lisboa.  It was great publicity and extremely important, especially in a city like New York, which has more than twenty thousand restaurants. It is important to maintain a continuous flow of communication with the press and also with our customers.” said Tarcisio in a recent interview.

This May, Alfama re-opened to a new location in Midtown-East in an elegant and modern but relaxing atmosphere at 214 East 52nd Street. The restaurant’s new menu takes on a fresh approach to the Portuguese classics with the talents of Executive Chef Fransisco Rosa, who comes from the “School of Hospitality and Tourism of Coimbra”. The chef puts a modern twist on the classic Portuguese cuisine inspired by the former colonies such as Brazil, Goa and Southern Africa.

“Our clientele is made up of diplomats and UN officials, due to the restaurant’s proximity to the United Nations headquarters, and several executives who work in U.S. corporations with offices in Midtown East. But we also have many Luso-Americans who visit us from California and New England (Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut) and Brazilians living in New York or just visiting New York”, says Tarcisio.

The restaurant has recently received rave reviews in the New York press including this current article from October 4, 2011 in Forbes by Larry Olmsted, titled; New York’s Best Portuguese Restaurant is Back!  In an article from a Portuguese website; Restaurant Alfama, um cantinho Portuguese nos EUA by Elisabete Maia,  gives a detailed and interesting interview with Tarcisio.
Alfama offers a taste tempting Diner menu, but you can stop by on any weekday and enjoy a delicious Lunch menu with classics such as;  Pastéis de Bacalhao – (Cod fish cakes with black olive tapenade), Polvo  – (Grilled octopus, fingerling potatoes, crispy pork belly, leeks, shallots, roasted garlic and olive oil), Chouriço Flambeado , and the popular Bife a Pedra – (8- oz. organic filet mignon with a fresh garlic crust, stone-grilled at the table, Portuguese potato chips and mixed greens)

Brunch is served on Saturday & Sunday from 12-4 with traditional breakfast favorites such as pancakes, fresh pastries, omelets, and sandwiches, all with a Portuguese twist. Authentic Breads and Pastries such as Broa, Pão Milho and Pão de Deus are baked by Chef Rosa, and now sold at the restaurant to the delight of their customers. See how you can win a $50 Lunch Gift Certificate at the end of this article.

Following in the tradition of the many famous Fado houses in Lisbon, Alfama has FADO NIGHTS @ ALFAMA where you can experience the underground Fado Taverna. This month of October the featured Fado singer will be Luisa Rocha.

So the next time you’re longing for a taste of Portugal,  or the earthy and soulful sound of a Fado, stop by Alfama where you’ll be instantly transported to Lisbon, Portugal.

Alfama is giving away a $50 Lunch for 2 – Gift Certificate. Leave a comment to this post during the month of October 2011 for you chance to win! Good Luck..Tia Maria…

UPDATE: Contest ended on October 31, 2011

Lucky winner for this drawing: RDaCosta

(random drawing using

Thanks for entering! Look for more contests soon!


Alfama Restaurant

Authentic flavors of Portugal

214 East 52nd Street, between 2nd and 3rd avenues

New York, NY 10022

Tel: 212-759-5552

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!





12 Responses

  1. Isabelle Marques says:

    I knew Alfama at their West Village location – I’m still yet to discover the Midtown Alfama – maybe this certificate would curve me over !!! :):):):)

  2. Jose Carvalho says:

    I had the opportunity to already taste some of the dishes at the new Alfama and was happy to notice that it continues to provide a tasty atmosphere where is possible to enjoy authentic Portuguese flavors.

  3. I have never been to Alfama but would love to go. The bread looks fantastic!

  4. Would love to go and taste the delecious Portuguese food
    but live 3 hrs away, thanks for the incentive 🙂

  5. Tia Maria says:

    Hi Fernanda, I think a NY shopping trip & Lunch at Alfama sounds like a good plan for you:)

  6. Dick Emerson says:

    A wonderful addition to Manhattan dining. I will tell Paula Bobone. RE

  7. Mrs. Lusophile says:

    My husband and I lived in Alfama, Lisbon this summer for 5 months and we enjoyed listening to fado from our balcony. We really miss our cozy and warm welcome from the local grelhador de Alfama, but look forward to trying something closer to home in midtown.

  8. Filipe Neves says:

    Can’t wait to try it out!

  9. Rodrigo Leitao says:

    Alfama is Alfamous for it’s Alfantastic Alfood! It’s got soul, it’s got passion, it’s got Saudade written in every dish. Thank you Tia Maria!

  10. Nice video you have on youtube

  11. Tia Maria says:

    Thanks Daniel…

  12. Tia Maria says:

    Thanks Daniel!… Stop by the site soon for more great recipes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *