Everyone has those few restaurants that they go to where they’re known as the regulars and half of the staff knows them – Vila Verde is one of those restaurants for my extended family. As soon as we were seated, the waiter asked if only one menu was okay and my family all laughed as they said yes (the one menu was for me because they rest of them already knew what they wanted).
Vila Verde is a Portuguese and Spanish restaurant, and they’re known for their paella. As I pondered over the menu, the “camarones enchilados” peaked my interest. It was described as shrimp cooked in spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions. I wasn’t exactly sure if it was similar to typical enchiladas, and if it was I didn’t want to order it because I wanted to try something different. The waiter said a lot of people ask that because the word “enchilados” looks very similar to “enchiladas,” but enchilados is the name of the sauce. I decided to order it, and asked for it to be made a little extra spicy for me, since I was in the mood for something hot.
When they bring out your dish, they bring out a plate of rice that’s topped with peas, a plate of mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms), along with a plate of their homemade potato chips. The three dishes are for the table and meant to be shared family style. We asked that they didn’t bring out the potato chips with our meal though because we didn’t trust ourselves to eat them in moderation. I’ve never been one for potato chips (you will never see me eat a bag of chips. I have more of a sweet tooth), but I’ve had these chips before and they’re so delicious that I’m not able to practice any self-restraint when they’re on the table.
My camarones enchilados came out different than I expected – it was served in a pot with a huge serving spoon. I wasn’t planning on eating much rice, but there was more sauce than anticipated and it was thinner than I expected, so when I dished my meal onto my plate I added some rice to the mix to add substance. My meal was very good and I really enjoyed the sauce. I asked them to make it a bit spicier for me (I like my foods very spicy if you haven’t noticed), and when they brought it back out it was perfect. You could smell the hot sauce it was so spicy, but just enough that it wasn’t overbearing and uncomfortable to eat. The sauce tasted like a lighter tomato sauce and the peppers and onions in it added some nice zest to it. The shrimp swam in the sauce so they were nicely flavored by it. The rice was good – as it should be if you’re going to a Spanish restaurant – and the vegetables were good, but pretty buttery.
Everyone else at the table enjoyed their meals as well. One of my aunts just ordered a light salad and chicken noodle soup – or as she calls it “the famous chicken noodle soup.” My other aunt ordered their special of filet mignon with shrimp and scallops, which she seemed to thoroughly enjoy (pictured at top). Her meal came out with two pieces of everything, and they all appeared to be buttered and lightly seasoned. It looked like a great dish to get a little bit of everything.
The waiter was very friendly, but that could be just because he knows my family so well. As I looked at the other tables, the other waiters seemed to be doing a great job and were very attentive to their tables. The second a water glass got even the slightest bit low, it was being filled up immediately. The atmosphere in the restaurant was warm, comfortable, and intimate. It is a lovely place to go one a date if you’re not a college student, or a nice place to dinner with family. It is pricey – I wouldn’t go there and pay for myself since I’m a college student – but it’s not outrageous. I would classify it as fairly priced establishment for when you want a great meal and you’re having a nice evening out. I can see why my family enjoys going there so often.
120 Terhune Dr, Wayne, NJ 07470
Mon-Thur 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 1pm-11pm; Sun 1pm-9pm