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[PDX] Malanga

Nick | Mar 28, 2004 09:58 PM

Ate at Malanga finally on Thursday after the Portland Food charity get-together. Tried several dishes.

Appetizers: Camarones al Ajillo ($8), Croquetas de Jamon ($5.50), Frituras de Cangrejo ($6.50), Tostones ($4)

Entrees: Puerco Asado ($13.50), Pollo Criolla ($10), Enchilado de Mariscos y Pescado ($15), Ropa Vieja ($12)

Desserts: Roasted banana ice cream, malanga pudding, bread pudding (they never gave me a copy of the dessert menu, so I don't have the exact names or prices)

The ham and cheese croquettes were tasty, though small. The crab fritters were decent, though light on the crab, but not too expensive. I'm okay with fritters or meatballs being more traditional and largely filler as long I don't pay for it and they have flavor. The onion and pepper salad that came with the prawns were pretty good and quite spicy.

The roasted pork was mediocre. It wasn't overcooked, but it wasn't especially tender or juicy and had no crust. The beans that came with it were only decent as well. The seafood was overly fishy and I didn't really notice that it was enchilado. The chicken was decent for the price, but the bites I had were a little dry. The ropa vieja was probably the best of the entrees, but even it wasn't anything especially good. Just okay.

The desserts were probably the worst course. The ice cream was even icy. Tillamook or Breyers has better texture.

Overall, it was just sort of eh. Nothing bad, but nothing good. If you're in that neighborhood, the prices are reasonable and they have a lot of tables (so they're probably rarely full), so it might be worth it. But you're not getting food that's all that much better than a lot of chains, I would say. But again, the prices aren't much different from, say, Olive Garden or Outback. But I would definitely recommend Pambiche before Malanga -- easily. They try to pretty the plates up at Malanga, whereas Pambiche just sort of slops your food on the plate, but Malanga can't compete on flavor.

Jill-O, duckduck, and Aristo ate the same meal, so maybe they'll have a different take.

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