Atlanta Restaurant Scene

You only have to travel to Sandy Springs to get a taste of Portugal

Never was I more intimidated by a waiter than while vacationing in Portugal 15 years ago.

After trekking up one of Lisbon’s steep hills, my husband, carrying our then 3-year-old toddler piggyback, and I, holding a desperate-to-nurse 9-month-old baby on my hip (the stroller had broken down a few hours earlier), grabbed a table at the first restaurant we could find.

The waiter was not the least bit happy to see our motley, sweaty crew. And, then, the parade of unhappy dishes began. Grilled chicken came out nearly raw. The waiter became irate when we asked that it be cooked a little longer, and he practically slapped the now twice-cooked (but somehow still red and bloody) bird on the table. By the time we got around to coffee — I was handed American drip coffee when I thought I’d ordered “uma meia de leche” (half espresso, half milk) — I was sure the waiter was going to kick us out.

That episode came flashing back to mind when I sat down to dinner at Portuguese restaurant Emidio’s, and a stern-faced waiter with a dominating air about him approached the table.

His name is Jorge Silva. He hails from Madeira, just like husband-and-wife owners Emidio (he’s also the chef) and Maria Sapeta. I’ve now spent more than five hours in Jorge’s company, and he’s cracked a smile maybe twice. He’s one of only two waiters at Emidio’s (not counting Maria); chances are high he’ll be taking care of your table.

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Don’t let him scare you off. Instead, put yourself entirely in his hands.

One more tip: Don’t come rushed. This is old-school European dining. Embrace the unhurried pace.

Read more about Emidio's in Sandy Springs here.

Emidio's, 8610 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 770-837-3373, .

Scroll down to get a glimpse of what to expect if you visit Emidio's.

Cataplana seafood stew at Emidio's. (


Bacalao a braz- Codfish served on shoe string fries, sauteed onions, garlic, parsley and scrambled egg. (


Espetada- beef skewers (


About the Author

Ligaya Figueras joined the AJC as its food and dining editor in 2015.

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