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Miami's 10 Best Brazilian Spots Will Have You Dreaming of Rio



Brazilian fare covers a wide range of styles and flavors, and fortunately many Miami restaurants have taken note. From Brazil's northeast, there are seafood dishes spiked with coconut milk and cashews. In the cities and near the pampas, the rodizio (endless rounds of barbecued, skewered meat and poultry that is sliced tableside), is most popular. And everywhere, especially on lazy Sundays when families gather to celebrate the business of living, the national dish of feijoada, black beans stewed with meat and served with white rice, collard greens and farofa (toasted and ground cassava) is served.

For rodizio in Miami, there's a plethora of options, as these steakhouses dot the city, from Texas de Brazil in the Dolphin Mall to Fogo de Chao on South Beach. For Brazilian-style stroganoff and burgers that are served in a less leisurely fashion, try Giraffas, fast-casual dining where the staff takes your order at the counter, then delivers it to the table. Not particularly hungry? Hit up the botecos like, well, Boteco, a neighborhood-style, football (soccer) bar for some snacks and cachaca, the grassy, rum-like alcohol pressed from sugarcane. However you choose to celebrate Brazilian cuisine and culture, you're bound to have a Rio good time.

 


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If you're looking for an all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style meal without overspending, you can't do much better than Camila's. This Downtown Miami eatery is perfect for businessmen and women on their lunch break as well as tourists exploring the area who don't feel like wasting too much time at a regular sit-down restaurant. Just jump on in and pile on the picanha on to your plate, then add some rice and beans or feijoada, plus some farofa, or maybe a bit of potato salad, and be on your way. It gets busy, of course, so start seeking out your table while you're still making your way through the line. Best of all, it'll only set you back about $12.

Recommended for Brazilian because: $12 for an all you can eat Brazilian lunch is unheard of, and yet Camila's makes it happen.

Priscilla's expert tip: If your work lunchbreak is only a half hour, go elsewhere. If you've got an hour, bring a friend to scout a table for you while the other loads up the trays.

Read more about Camila's Restaurant →




Brazilian Taste Grill's exterior may be modest, but once seated inside, you'll understand why they boast rave reviews all across the board. Located on the outskirts of Doral, the BTG offers various options for lunch and dinner, including a la carte, buffet, and rodizio--which entails servers coming to your table with huge slabs of tender meat, sliced right off on to your plate. Their a la carte menu items range from picanha (prime sirloin) to baked salmon, and come with two sides; but meat-lovers will find much more to enjoy from the rodizio selections, which include linguica (pork sausage), frango com bacon (chicken rolled with bacon), costella (beef ribs), plus full access to their unlimited salad bar for just $19.95 lunch or $29.95 weekends and dinner. For this type of cuisine, it's hard to beat these prices.

Recommended for Brazilian because: This inexpensive, no-frills Brazilian buffet is perfect for the Doral lunch crowd or anyone desiring costella or linguica on the cheap.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you're craving Brazilian on a budget, drop in on a weekday for lunch and you'll get the most bang for your buck.

Read more about Brazilian Taste →




Located just south of Wynwood in Midtown, this fast-casual concept from Brazil, where its eateries number more than 400, launched in winter 2011-12 in North Miami and is growing exponentially, with a fourth location in Pinecrest. Order at the counter and the high-quality burgers, grilled chicken and steaks, with a choice of sauces (and with or without farofa garnish) will be delivered to your table. Two choices of sides include fries, yuca, rice, beans, grilled veggies and salad, and by the time you're done with all your options, you're left with a pretty hearty plate. They've got daily specials as well, so make sure to check before ordering.

Recommended for Brazilian because: Giraffas burgers are giving popular places like Five Guys a run for their money. That's saying a lot.

Priscilla's expert tip: There are now four Giraffas in Miami: one in Doral, another in Pinecrest near Dadeland, one in North Miami, and this one in Midtown. No excuses not to go!

Read more about Giraffas Brazilian Steaks & Burgers →


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A "boteca" is a neighborhood bar, the kind you go to where you don't necessarily want everyone to know your name, but where you do want the bartenders to know your fave brand of beer. At Boteca, you get the familiarity of being a regular even if you're a newcomer. Sit inside, where there's usually some kind of live entertainment--a dancehall band, conga lines, carnival queens doing samba steps, even karaoke--or outside on rustic chairs and benches. Either way, the experience is the same: a packed house of ex-pats mulling over the results of the latest football matches as they much on moqueca, mahi-mahi and shrimp cooked with bell and sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, dend� oil and coconout milk--or picanha fatiada na chapa, grilled sirloin with a side of fried yuca. Caipirinhas (made with cachaca) and caipiroskas (made with vodka) come traditional (lime and sugar) or with fruit (strawberry's the best). Just beware if a big game's going on--you might not be able to squeeze your way in.

Recommended for Brazilian because: While many prefer going to an upscale rodizio joint, if you want a truly authentic Brazilian food AND culture experience, it's Boteco all the way.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you want to know what Brazilian drinking culture is about, stop on by. Especially during a soccer, er, futebol game.

Read more about Boteco →


Texas de Brazil


Few restaurants can compete with the atmosphere â€" and, yes, the cuisine â€" of this colorful chain of Brazilian-style churrascarias. A family-friendly ambience pervades as diners enjoy a feast for the ages, one that features gaucho-wearing servers circling the South American-themed dining room with mouthwatering skewers of seasoned beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and Brazilian sausage. Just pick what you want, and they're happy to serve it up until you flip your green card over to red, signaling them to stop. Added temptations are Texas-sized side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes and sweet fried bananas â€" the extravagant salad bar has been known to turn heads as well.

Recommended for Brazilian because: Going to Texas de Brazil means you'll automatically have a good meal and a good time.

Priscilla's expert tip: This particular Texas de Brazil is located at the extremely busy Dolphin Mall. Park valet or wear walking shoes as parking can be a bit nightmarish.

Read more about Texas de Brazil →




Varanda has self-proclaimed to be Miami's oldest Brazilian cafe, serving three square meals per day, and who's going to argue? Lauded by Food Network and other authorities for its simply delicious grilled fish and its picanha in garlic with Brazilian sausage, this ambitious restaurant, with a handful of outdoor tables, is the little cafe that could. Varanda represents Miami enough so that celebrities also call in here occasionally for its thoroughly authentic feijoada, though you might have to fight for a seat during prime hours on a Saturday, the only day that it's served. Indeed, every item from its pastel de carne ou queijo (meat- or cheese-filled pastries) to its moqueca de peixe is the real, yummy thing.

Recommended for Brazilian because: A place that serves Brazilian fare all day long has to be on our list.

Priscilla's expert tip: One of the few places where you can practice your Portuguese! Also one of the few Brazilian joints that serve breakfast (8 am to noon).

Read more about Varanda's Brasil Café →


SUSHISAMBA


Cool, color-drenched SushiSamba dromo has shed its NYC roots and made the transition to sunny South Beach quite well. A hit with the stylish set, the undeniably chic eatery gets a rhythmic kick with high-energy Brazilian tunes. The food is a seductive mix of Peruvian, Japanese and Brazilian dishes: sushi, churrasco, ceviches, tiraditos and anticuchos. A successful fusion is evident in creations like the Green Envy Roll, which joins a wasabi pea crust with tuna, salmon, asparagus and aji amarillo-key lime mayo. Wash it all down with a well-made caipirinha. Or perhaps some sake. Or even some gluten-free beer, brewed from rice or sweet potatoes.

Recommended for Brazilian because: While not completely specializing in Brazilian fare, their Brazilian-inspired dishes are top notch. Plus, their caipirinhas are on point.

Priscilla's expert tip: Noteworthy not only for its sushi fusion--Peruvian/Japanese/Brazilian--but for its gluten-free menu items (including beer!) and sexy location on Lincoln Road.

Read more about SUSHISAMBA →




Perhaps the most northward-located churrascaria in Miami, Area Code 55 is otherwise very similar to the other rodizio restaurants in the city. With spaciously set tables; a salad bar featuring cold and hot items; waiters dressed as gauchos wielding skewers of bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, lamb chops, sausage and picanha; and a well-stuffed wine list; it's a veritable feast for the carnivore. Start with your card flipped to the green side and you'll soon be swarmed with offerings; flip it to red to take a break. Excellent for a group, it's also out-of-the-way enough for those looking to avoid the traffic in South Beach, Brickell/Downtown or Aventura.

Recommended for Brazilian because: Area Code 55 is hands down the best of the rodizio-style restaurants in the Magic City, for their food as well as for their prices.

Priscilla's expert tip: The only churrascaria in the North Miami region, this restaurant is perfect for those who want to skip the crowds of South Beach, Brickell/Downtown or Aventura.

Read more about Area Code 55 Brazilian Steakhouse →




The first Fogo de Chão was opened in Porto Alegre in 1979 by Southern Brazilian--Gaucho country--brothers who had worked their way up from busboys to churrasqueiro chefs. Today, the prix-fixe steakhouse has more than half-a-dozen locations in Brazil and more than twice that in the States. After starting your meal with all you can eat from their enormous salad bar (filled with more than 30 items both imported and local--hot and cold), you're saturated with 15 cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry, sliced tableside from skewers, until you've had your fill. And then, of course, there's dessert--perhaps flan, or strawberry cheesecake--if you can still make room, that is.

Recommended for Brazilian because: While Fogo is technically a chain, it goes beyond its high standards for this rodizio-style restaurant, making it one of the best Brazilian spots in town.

Priscilla's expert tip: Go hungry to this Brazilian steakhouse, where 15 cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry, sliced tableside from skewers, keep you on the go until you say no.

Read more about Fogo de Chão →




Located in the section of North Beach on Collins Avenue that is sometimes referred to as "Little Argentina" because of all the Latin cafes that dot it, Little Brazil fits right in. Pull up a seat at this indoor-outdoor, lunch-dinner bistro and nosh on coxinha or bolinhos de bacalhau (croquettes made from chicken or codfish). A wide selection of main courses includes plenty of grilled steaks and classic stroganoff, feijoada and moqueca dishes. More interesting for the connoisseur, shrimp is a big ingredient here, starring in Camarao no Abacaxi (shrimp sautéed with pineapple, mushrooms, light cream sauce and herbs, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and served in a pineapple shell garnished with mashed potatoes) as well as Camarao com Catupiry (baked shrimp stuffed with catupiry cheese). A kids' menu and sweets such as Brazilian flan make this a casual yet tasty affair for the whole family.

Recommended for Brazilian because: Little Brazil is exactly that--a small taste of paradise by way of picanha and churrasco. Authenticity and great service put it high on our list.

Priscilla's expert tip: Portions here are known to be rather large, so bring your appetite or bring a friend.

Read more about Little Brazil Restaurant →


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Meet Priscilla Blossom

Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.

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