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Restaurant Realness: Adega, San Jose

An authentic, yet Modern, Portuguese restaurant in San Jose.

10 . 03 . 17



Picking a place to eat in a new city can be more challenging than picking a life partner or a pair of boots that complete you. There are so many! They all look so adorable! How do you choose? If I eat at the one with the cute red tables, will I regret the one I missed with the super cute desserts across the street? I am here to help out.

Full disclosure, I’ve never been particularly a brilliant foodie. However, I sure do know what’s delicious and what is authentically good. As an avid traveler I feel like a have a good grasp on what’s yummy and cool.

One of the best parts of traveling is trying new restaurants that perfectly capture the pulse of a city and creates mouth watering cuisine in the process.

If you find yourself hungry and feeling adventurous in San Jose, head to Adega in the city’s humble Little Portugal for dinner.

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For 33 years what is now Adega’s space was a neighborhood institution, Sousa’s, where immigrants Leonel Sousa and his wife, Aira, realized their dream of running a restaurant. They made dishes familiar to Portuguese-Americans and their fellow natives of the Azores off the coast of Portugal, including salt cod, rabbit casserole and egg-topped steak.

When Aira became too ill to work last year, Leonel sold the place to a Portuguese-American family with roots in the area, Carlos and Fernanda Carreira. Now playful, contemporary riffs on the classics of Portuguese cuisine are created by chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira. The restaurant was also just awarded with a Michelin star.

With Adega (which means wine cellar), David and Jessica have realized their life-dream of opening their own Portuguese restaurant. Every inch of the space is dripping with Portuguese charm. The space was renovated with an aesthetic that tastefully integrates Portugal, wine-cellar motifs. Much of the furniture is hand made, original tools used in wine-making are hanging on the walls, there is a traditional tile mosaic on the back wall, even the plates are imported from Portugal.

This spot is delicious and offers up a true culinary journey.

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