September 8, 2012

Natas Portuguese Bakery and Cafe, Sherman Oaks

The minute I walk into Natas, I feel like I am in an European cafe. The dining room is tastefully decorated with beautiful tiles from Portugal that go perfectly with the dark ceiling giving off a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. It's easy to focus in on the mouth watering pastries and just get dessert and coffee as I have done many times, but this time I was determined to try the authentic Portuguese dishes. 

The cafe is named after a popular Portuguese dessert called nata, which means cooked cream. This delicate, flaky pastry is filled with a smooth custard that's not overly sweet and goes really well with a cup of Americano. I can write a separate post just on all the delicious pastries this gem has to offer, but this visit was about the food.

The complimentary bread included a variety of olives.

Pasties de bacalhau

The Portuguese cod cakes were crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. It was surprising light tasting for the preparation. The sauce added a touch of heat and creaminess.

Gambia a Alho
Although I've never been to Portugal, I've always heard about their amazing piri piri dishes and especially the famous shrimp in piri piri sauce. There were so many dishes that sounded amazing I had a difficult time deciding. Luckily, Fatima, the owner of Natas made a few suggestions that helped narrow down the choices. I could not have been happier with the Gambia a Alho. The dish arrived with eight large shrimp tossed in the most delicious piri piri cream sauce. There were so many flavors happening in the sauce, it was like fireworks going off in my mouth. I soaked up every last drop of sauce with the bread before they took the plate away. I think this dish is best enjoyed using both hands, so don't be afraid to get messy if you order it. 

I will bring a large group next time so I can try more dishes on the menu. If everything else is as good as the Gambia a Alho, I might not need to go to Portugal. 

Natas Pastries
13317 Ventura Blvd. #D
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

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