No matter how long I've lived here and explored the SouthCoast, I'm always discovering new hidden gems.

Restaurant Week 2023 marched on Wednesday morning over in Fairhaven at a quaint mom-and-pop shop called Mystic Cafe. Woman-owned and operated, Bela Valentim has been going strong for just about 10 years this coming January. From breakfast to lunch, the menus are stacked with something for everybody.

Infusing her culinary background with her Portuguese Heritage, the Sao Miguel descendent is well-known for her authentic recipes and house-made sauces that add life and spice to each bite. Especially the fresh made-to-order malasadas and malasadas bites.

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However, these handheld treats can only be purchased on the weekends. On the side of the Mystic Cafe is a tiny building called The Shack where all the malasadas are made on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 AM - noon.

Courtesy Mystic Cafe/The Shack
Courtesy Mystic Cafe/The Shack

Customers can get the bites plain or sprinkled with sugar. Some even ask for a dash of cinnamon which Valentim says is a popular option among her repeat customers. It's rare that 'The Shack' will run out of product, but just in case, you're best bet is to call in advance over to the Mystic Cafe to order ahead at (774)-206-1143.

Have a party or a family gathering? Valentim and her team are more than happy to put together a party package of malasadas but must be a minimum of a dozen.

One takeaway regarding the malasadas is the high-quality oil Valentim uses in her fryers. These Portuguese delights (unlike most malasadas in the area) are less greasy with a crispy crunch to them with every bite. This is something The Mystic/The Shack prides themselves in.

"Join us in a nice relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere, where all the food is freshly made to order, even our malasadas," Valentim said with pride, "We've been very lucky over the years and we work hard for the success that has guided like a positive light into our lives. Especially our loyal customers."

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