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Porto Poulet serves up some of the best Portuguese chicken in town

    Last fall, Mitchell Rosenthal suggested I try Porto Poulet, his favorite spot for Portuguese chicken at 1612 Fleury East in Ahuntsic. We finally visited in June, enjoying a terrasse table.

    Last fall an old acquaintance, Mitchell Rosenthal, reached out and suggested I do a story on his “go-to” restaurant for Portuguese chicken. It is called Porto Poulet, located at 1612 Fleury East in Ahuntsic.

    The fact that Mitchell grew up in Côte Saint-Luc like and me and goes there so often was enough of an endorsement for me and placed it on my “to-do” list. It took a little longer than expected, but in June two friends and I finally stopped by. Owner Johnny and server Staci showed us to a nice table on the terrasse, which seats 30. There is capacity for 27 inside. Porto Poulet, though, has a steady take-out and delivery business.

    This is still a rather new location for Porto Poulet. They were originally on Henri Bourassa Blvd. and moved to this spot three and a half years ago.

    We started with some delicious grilled calamari and unquestionably the best cod croquettes I have ever tasted. They were delightfully tender, with flakes of moist cod inside. Each bite revealed a creamy, smooth interior where the cod was perfectly cooked. The croquettes had a melt-in-your-mouth texture, with a soft center that complemented the crispy exterior. Inside, the croquettes were moist and succulent, bursting with the flavors of fresh cod. And they were not breaded. They also have a shrimp croquette option.

    Last fall, Mitchell Rosenthal suggested I try Porto Poulet, his favorite spot for Portuguese chicken at 1612 Fleury East in Ahuntsic. We finally visited in June, enjoying a terrasse table.

    For the main course, one of my friends and I went directly for the house specialty: the half chicken served with fries and homemade salad complemented by a special house sauce. And speaking of sauce, Johnny’s secret recipe is Piri piri sauce.  The Perfectly grilled Portuguese chicken is a culinary delight, boasting a robust flavor profile that combines savory spices with a hint of smokiness. Its crisp, golden-brown skin reveals tender, juicy meat inside, infused with tangy notes from Johnny’s special marinade. As for the Piri Piri sauce, this is a flavorful condiment originating from Portuguese-speaking countries. It features a vibrant red color and a balance of spicy, tangy, and savory flavors. In the case of Porto Poulet, it was not in any way spicy and made for the ideal marinade.

    Last fall, Mitchell Rosenthal suggested I try Porto Poulet, his favorite spot for Portuguese chicken at 1612 Fleury East in Ahuntsic. We finally visited in June, enjoying a terrasse table.

    The third member of our party was eager to try the poutine, along with the house salad, and he was not disappointed.

    The Porto Poulet kitchen also serves rib steak, shrimp, and salmon.

    For dessert, there is a choice of tiramisu, flan pudding and the nata, Portuguese custard tarts. We each opted for the latter. The nata here bursts with a rich, creamy sweetness, balanced perfectly with a hint of caramelized goodness and some cinnamon on the top. Its flaky, buttery crust gives way to a velvety smooth custard filling that melts in your mouth.  Each bite was a delightful symphony of flavors and textures, leaving a lingering satisfaction that is both comforting and indulgent. 

    This is a family affair. Johnny’s wife Gina and children Matthew, Shayna and Vivianne all work there. When they first opened over a decade ago, he and Gina dug through some family recipes to come up with the perfect chicken and sauces. While many restaurants suffered during the pandemic, Porto Poulet thrived via take-out and delivery. The former remains a favorite of customers, with lineups typically out of the door.

    Last fall, Mitchell Rosenthal suggested I try Porto Poulet, his favorite spot for Portuguese chicken at 1612 Fleury East in Ahuntsic. We finally visited in June, enjoying a terrasse table.

    Before establishing Porto Poulet, Johnny was a produce manager. “It was the perfect training,’ he said. “Who better than a former produce manager to select the food items we need in the kitchen? After all, we make everything fresh here.

    How good are the sauces? Johnny has been approached by some individuals who wish to bottle them for distribution at grocery stores, something that could occur within the next year or two.

    Porto Poulet is located at 1612 Fleury Est.  For more information call 514-507-1217 or log on to https://www.restaurantportopoulet.com. It is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm. You can order directly online if you are in the delivery area or via the apps.

    Mike Cohen

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