Massada de Robalo Recipe (Macaroni with Sea Bass) delivers to the mouth is what it promised to the eyes. The fish is juicy, the peppers and onions have a firm texture and even the broth garnished with parsley begs to be drunk directly from the rough pan from which it is served. Still steaming, I don’t even pay attention to the pain from burning my tongue when I take the first bite… The sea bass, it is cooked in a separate soup bowl from the broth of the “massada”. Three fingers below the surface of the sauce, the cotovelinhos (Portuguese name for macaroni) are cooked al dente. With a serving spoon, I take a portion for my plate and put the bass tail on top. From there until the plate gets empty again it is only a glance.

Taberna D’Adélia

We tried this recipe at Taberna D’Adélia my favorite restaurant in Nazaré.  After lunch, we chatted with Marco who is in his 30’s and is the face (friend) of Taberna da Adélia. At Taberna da Adélia the tablecloths are made with the same fabric of the shirts of the ‘Varinas’ (another name for fisherman wives), and the lining of chairs is made with the same fabric of the shirts of fishermen. The decoration of the restaurant has miniatures of Xávega Art boats, fishermen and Varina dolls, and many photographs of artisanal Xávega art on the wall – reflecting a time when the nets used to be pulled by pairs of oxen.

When I mention that I live in Berlin, he tells me that he was there about two weeks before at the invitation of a couple of Portuguese emigrants who wanted to open a second Taberna da Adélia, in the German capital. “Crazy!”  We said, almost simultaneously. The two realities are so different: can you imagine Marco’s headache if he had to remove all the fish bones! The Germans are accustomed to only eating fillets, they dispense with scaling the fish, cleaning its skin and removing the bones to “get to the meat of the fish.” Getting your hands dirty and having the fish smell on the skin is not something that appeals to the Germans. “They don’t know what they are missing” is the opinion of Marco, and mine too. But none of this matters, since, in Germany, he could never find fresh fish and seafood in his kitchen with the quality of which he has in Nazare.


This Macaroni with Sea Bass Recipe (Massada de Robalo)  is taken from my Portuguese Travel Cookbook, where you can find over 50 Traditional Portuguese Recipes and learn how the Portuguese say “I love you” through food.

Massada de Robalo Recipe (Macaroni with Sea Bass)

Ingredients for two people:

  • 400g of Macaroni
  • 1 medium (500g-700g) Sea Bass
  • 1 medium onion
  • 500g fresh tomatoes
  • a bit of Tomato Paste for color
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • salt, and pepper


Roast the sea bass in a clay oven at 180 ° C for 20 minutes. While the fish in the oven put the onion, tomato, garlic, pepper, chopped parsley, olive oil, tomato paste, white wine and a little salt in a saucepan. Let it simmer. Cook the macaroni on the side. When the sea bass is done, drain its juices into the broth. Add some water from the macaroni to the broth f necessary. Boil and let bubble for five minutes; rectify the salt and pepper. Serve it in a bowl and the fish on the side.

A plate of massada de peixe in a restaurant in Nazaré, Portugal, 2014

Disclaimer :

All content of this posts, including the recipe, text, and photos are subject to copyright and belong to the Portuguese Travel Cookbook and its authors Nelson Carvalheiro and Emanuele Siracusa.