By Sawyer Pollitt, Staff Writer
Valentine’s day is fast approaching and with it, comes the traditional Valentine’s Day activities that we all know, love, and conform to. One of the most revered and cherished activities is the Valentine’s Day meal that, like a sacred pilgrimage for your religion of choice, proves to the world that your relationship is a meaningful one.
Maybe this is your fourth Valentine’s Day in a row with your special someone, or maybe you’re going on a first date. Either way there is no better cute couple restaurant in which to take a bunch of cute couple Instagram pics than Tia Maria’s European Café in downtown New Bedford.
Located behind the New Bedford Whaling Museum on N Water Street, Tia Maria’s is a slice of old world charm nestled right in our own backyard.
Priding itself on it’s authentic Portuguese cuisine and range of wines and espresso-based drinks, even the pickiest eaters are bound to find something there that they can enjoy.
Vegetarians and vegans need not fear as there is a selection of salads, wraps, and other items that can accommodate alternative diets. I personally ordered the chouriço sandwich with chips and a side of blood sausage.
I highly recommend the sandwich but if you’re on a first date I’d skip the blood sausage, it’s not for everyone and might put off the squeamish.
On top of the food, the restaurant itself is warm, cozy, friendly, and inviting. It has the kind of atmosphere that says, “I value your company and want to give you something special, but I hope you understand that I am a college student and can’t afford traditional five-star dining.”
The wait staff is attentive and friendly, which is helpful if you or your date are unfamiliar with the food of Portugal. It’s important to keep in mind however that this is a small, local, family business and if the place is swamped like it may very well be on Valentines day, the servers can only do so much at once.
However, along with the coziness comes a lack of space. You can’t walk into Tia Maria’s expecting Applebees levels of seating. Due to this, it might be helpful to call ahead and make sure there is seating available, especially on Valentines day.
This leads into another issue that might affect your plans for the day. The restaurant is only open from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on February 14, so you can count this dining experience out if you’re planning on a dinner date.
Hopefully, a brunch won’t be out of the question however because an early meal gives ample time to explore and experience the many sights and sounds of the newly rejuvenated downtown New Bedford later in the day.
You could visit one of the many nearby museums, browse some local shops, or if the weather is nice, just take a stroll through historic downtown New Bedford.
All in all, if you want to have a Valentines day to remember, Tia Maria’s European Café is not a bad place to start.