A PETISQUEIRA Rua S. Joao, No 15, Ilha Da Taipa, Macau. Tel: 825354. ABOUT five minutes' walk from the street that's home to the Red Panda and some of Taipa's better known restaurants is A Petisqueira, a cosy bistro-style restaurant worth seeking out for authentic Portuguese fare. Away from the town's noisier establishments, its wide sunny windows look out on narrow, cobblestoned streets. Revived with a well-chilled glass of spritzy Vinho Verde, you can imagine Macau as it was in the past - a charming enclave where Hong Kong residents could escape from it all. Now, of course Macau is as built-up and frenetic as Hong Kong. This restaurant is still quite new and unknown to the hordes of Hong Kong trippers who descend on Macau to gorge on chilli crab, grilled sardines, African chicken, sliced veal and other Macanese favourites. Here the customers seem to be the local Portuguese, which is always a good sign. For a small restaurant with no more than half a dozen tables, it has a largish menu. Along with the usual favourites there are dishes such as rabbit stew, chicken giblets, fresh homemade cheese and a rather unfortunately named Portuguese-style stewed bowels. We decided to stick to familiar names. Grilled Portuguese sausages ($25), hot and spicy, were more to our liking and the succulent grilled quails were the best we've had. And there's something special about the potatoes in Macau - the chips we had were so much tastier than the anaemic-looking varieties found here. The other big hit was fried spicy prawns with garlic ($35), medium-sized prawns cooked in garlic, olive oil, chillies and coriander and great for sopping up the excellent bread rolls. Something new was the seafood rice ($65), served in an earthenware pot and brimming with octopus, crab, scallops, fish and prawns. Along with the grilled sardines, salad and more Vinho Verde, you can honestly say there's nothing like eating in Macau. One disappointment was the rabbit stew ($55). One in our party had fond memories of this dish and was keen to try it but A Petisqueira's version came with rice, which had soaked up all the gravy and left the meat dry and tasteless. The over-attentive service was a little disconcerting: the waiting staff stood in a row and watched as we ate and each time one of us took a sip of wine, the glass was immediately refilled. Perhaps that was down to the newness of the place and the fact that it was fairly empty. However, with such excellent food it doesn't really have to worry. A substantial lunch for four with wine, espresso and desserts - a moist tangy orange roll and caramel custard - came to only $547.