Natas Pastries is your stop for everything Portuguese, round, and fried. The place is run by two bakers–one is Portuguese, the other Belgian, and they both come from families of bakers, explains noahbites.
The absolute standout is rissois: a breaded, fried, disk-shaped pastry, filled with a creamy mixture of crab and shrimp. “It’s exactly the type of thing I usually hate for being overly rich and tasting only vaguely reminiscent of what would be considered seafood,” says noahbites. “But this stuff is the real deal. The seafood is fresh, the sauce is light and well seasoned and the croquette is crispy. Like a crab cake, this seems like something that can either go very well or very poorly. Here, it goes very well.”
There are small, very crunchy seafood croquettes, and simple, satisfying beef pastries. There is Portuguese pineapple soda, made with real fruit juice. There is excellent caldo verde—a soup of kale and mashed potatoes. And the sopa de pedra, a rustic vegetable soup, is satisfying and homey.
There are great dessert pastries, too. Apple brasileira is brilliant—“a soft, sweet apple tart with crunchy toasted almonds on top is pretty brilliant,” explains noahbites. “But the natas, for which the shop is named, is what I will be picking up for dinner parties in the future.” Natas are little objects about the size of a mini quiche, with a flaky puff pastry shell and crème brûlée filling. Natas sells various specially flavored natas, but the original plain nata “simply can’t be beat,” says noahbites.
Natas Pastries [San Fernando Valley–East]
13317 Ventura Boulevard #D, Sherman Oaks