Fatima Marques, dual chef and owner of Natas Pastries in Los Angeles, is a native citizen of Lisbon, Portugal. Fatima examined the Los Angeles area and discovered a culinary chasm in an otherwise diverse cultural landscape. She was inspired to fill the void for traditional Portuguese food by opening her own bakery and caf in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Originally starting as a bakery only, Natas Pastries quickly became a hit in the community and eventually expanded serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as their signature pastries. The menu now consists of all the traditions of Portuguese culture and flavors.
Growing up in the port city of Lisbon, Fatima began cooking in the kitchen with her mother at an early age. By five years old she was being taught the basics of Portuguese cuisine and by ten she was able to make a full dinner on her own. As is often the case with the most food obsessed cultures, the meals of Fatima’s childhood became one of the defining characteristics of her Portuguese identity.
So when she moved to Los Angeles, the love she had for her national food moved with her. Marques came to the U.S. on a dance scholarship, did voiceovers for the entertainment industry using her mastery of six languages, acted as an interpreter and worked as a marketing director before making the decision to pursue her passion for food. After making the decision to open the cafe, Fatima went back to Portugal to further hone her baking skills.
In 2005, Fatima opened Natas Pastries, as the first and only Portuguese bakery/caf in Los Angeles offering a variety of unique and delicious desserts from recipes dating back to the 17th Century from her hometown. Natas became a popular spot for both locals and Portuguese residents who would drive from San Diego just for the tasty sweets. The establishment offers a large selection of pastries, cakes and Portuguese style empanadas as well as European classics like napoleons, clairs, brownies, muffins and Danish. Natas Pastries, named after the tiny tart, pasteis de nata, renowned in Portugal as an exceptionally crisp puff pastry shell that is perfectly balanced by custard filling resembling cr me br l e, quickly became a hit in the community. In 2010, the footprint of the bakery expanded by adding a full service restaurant with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The reaction to the addition of the full menu has been a successful one.
Today, the extensive menu consists of all the traditions of Portuguese culture and flavors highlighting various regions of this country cuisine. Portuguese food is characterized by rich, filling and full-flavored dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. Based on regional produce, emphasizing fish, meat, olive oil, tomatoes, and spices, it features hearty soups, homemade bread and cheeses, as well as unexpected combinations of meat and shellfish. Portuguese food is simple ingredients impeccably prepared.