Cafe Opção (now Cafe Nightlife) 973-344-0004
427 Lafayette Street  Newark, NJ 07105

One of the nicer areas of Newark is the Ironbound Section.  As it was a half century ago, there were a lot of Portuguese and Italians.  Today there are still a lot of Portuguese and Brazilians.  I was hoping to find some authentic Portuguese and/or Brazilian food.  I know its there, every time I am in the area the neighborhoods smell wonderful and I wish I could stop.  Today I had lunch with a friend and I am not sure this was the right place, but, my friend selected it and it was not all bad, I was just hoping for something a little less casual and something a bit more authentic.

Ironically the former name of this place was Cafe “Options” (in Portuguese) but there were really very few.  One sign was they only had one Portuguese beer, Super Bock (which normally I don’t care for, but this tasted better than what I got at the store, this was crisper and fresher tasting), but no beers from Brazil.  They did have water from Portugal though.  Very refreshing on a hot humid day in Newark to start off with.  The outside looks very chic, with outdoor seating, as does the inside, but its not all “that”.

I thought I would try the tapas for $18 which included any 3 appetizers.  I got the Portuguese sausage, fried clams and shrimp in garlic and oil.

As you can see the portions are not huge, certainly not for two people, and I left there hungry even though I ate all of this myself.  They were all delicious, but I am curious to know how big the portions would have been if I had ordered all 3 appetizers individually. It did come with bread, not bad, but soft, not the good authentic bread I’ve come to know from European bakers.  No butter, no olive oil, not even a glass for the long neck beers.  I don’t mind drinking from the bottle, but I just thought service could have been better, we were the only ones in the place at 1:30pm.

The bill ran around $48.  I found it interesting they included the gratuity of 15%, so I left $50 just to make matters easy.  For 2 bottled waters, 2 imported beers, a tuna melt, fries and tapas, I have to say, this was a few more dollars than I thought it should be, but then again so is everything these days.   The food is good, but next time I am in the area I will try a cafe with more “options”.

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