Finding an authentic Portuguese restaurant in Queens isn’t easy. But those in the know find themselves in Jamaica, at the culinary shrine O Lavrador. This restaurant’s genuine dedication to quality seafood and a long lasting customer base has kept locals coming back for more, and first-timers thrilled.
At O Lavrador, simplicity is everything. Its name means “the farmer,” though in this case the agriculture has as much to do with the sea as land. With a menu centered around seafood and tailored specials, customers are guaranteed to enjoy this restaurant’s culinary creations. Appetizers consist mostly of classic seafood with creative combinations. Ameijoas recheadas con toucinho is baked clams with bacon – decadent, flavorful, inventive. If you’re searching for something light, try the salada de bacalhau – shredded codfish, onions, chick peas, corn bread, vinegar and olive oil – tangy, textured, and delicious. And the chorizo, spicy Portuguese sausage, is finished at tableside over an open flame.
Most entrees are precisely covered in wine sauces or draped in vinegary onions. Fruits and vegetables are carefully incorporated into many fish dishes, such as the filete de masa com molho de manga – a filet of basa in a mango and bell pepper sauce with rice and vegetables. Cod is served in a variety of ways. And the paelha marinheira is a classic combination of lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari and scallops served on a sea of saffron rice. Overwhelming at first glance, but it is worth the wait.
If you’re not the seafood type, stick with the lombo de vaca a lavrador – grilled filet mignon with mushrooms. Other fine meat choices include the grilled lamb chops with rosemary sauce and the veal scaloppini with mushroom sauce.
This establishment combines traditional Portuguese cuisine with Spanish influence and a genuine passion for old school décor. Surviving the test of time, O Lavrador has remained intact throughout generations, and successfully expanded its customer base with a full length bar and killer chalkboard specials.
O Lavrador Restaurant & Bar
138-40 101 Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11435
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m. -11 p.m.
10 a.m. to close