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Moqueca at Muqueca
Moqueca at Muqueca
Muqueca/Official Site

6 Boston-Area Brazilian Restaurants to Try During Carnival 2019

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Moqueca at Muqueca
| Muqueca/Official Site

Massachusetts has one of the largest Brazilian populations in the United States, and as such, the Boston area is a culinary outpost for grease-soaked bags of pão de queijo and clay pots of steaming moqueca.

In honor of the annual Brazilian festival of Carnival, taking place from March 1 to 9 this year, here is a sampling of six excellent local Brazilian restaurants to try, no tourist visa required.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet

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1865 Revere Beach Pkwy
Everett, MA 02149
(617) 869-1705
Visit Website

Brazilian cuisine abounds, but it’s often overlooked or unrecognized as Brazilian. Take Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet, for example — a canopy-tent dining room that opens at 8 p.m. in Everett. A hot dog here is a boiled, savory treat, basically the antithesis of an água de côco in Ipanema. But it’s every bit as Brazilian.

It weighs approximately one água de côco: A 100 percent beef hot dog with everything, the most popular request, includes mayonnaise, sausage, onion, tomato, corn, peas, mashed potatoes, farofa, chicken or meat sauce, ketchup, mustard, potato sticks, and cheese. Order one regular, sliced, or pressed for $8. Note the farofa — toasted Brazilian cassava flour with bacon bits — and bun-free hot dog bowl option.

Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet/Facebook

2. Oliveira's Steak House

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120 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 764-0455
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As Memphis, Kansas City, and North Carolina pit masters are to the United States, gauchos are to Brazil. The gaucho chefs at Oliveira’s Steak House present endless symphonies of skewered beef, chicken, pork, and lamb from table to table. As both the servers and the chefs, they butcher, trim, skewer, season, grill, carve, and deliver the meat.

Oliveira’s specialty is picanha, the top sirloin cut of beef seasoned with sea salt. The quadriceps-sized hunk of beef bobs through the dining room with seventeen other skewer options, rodízio-style. Additionally, eighteen salad and eighteen main course options encompass the cuisines of various Brazilian regions. Try the São Paulo-style lasagna and the salpicão, a crunchy, mayonnaise-based chicken salad.

Oliveira’s Somerville
Oliveira’s Somerville
Oliveira’s/Facebook

3. Muqueca

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1008 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 354-3296
Visit Website

The meal prepping at Muqueca begins long before the first onion is sliced. Owner Fátima “Fafa” Langa travels to the southeastern, coastal state of Espírito Santo every year to purchase new clay pots for the kitchen. The Association of Potters makes moqueca pots there, a tradition they’ve upheld for over 400 years.

Order the moqueca, of course, but pronounce it “muqueca” as Brazilians do. Select Baiana or Capixaba style: Baiana uses coconut milk and palm oil; Capixaba does not. The large pot before you is black and battered like a witch’s cauldron. The meal inside bubbles orange, brimming with white fish, shrimp, tomato, onion, and cilantro. The pot, still hot from the stove, keeps the meal warm. Ladle it over white rice, sprinkle with farofa, and pair with a white wine, like the Portuguese Verdelho.

Hungrier parties should accompany the moqueca with feijoada completa. This hearty black bean stew is the national dish of Brazil, and Muqueca loads it with dried meat prepped in-house, sausage, pork ribs, and bacon. For dessert, try the northern Brazilian cupuaçu fruit pudding mixed with New England blueberries.

muqueca
Muqueca
Muqueca/Facebook

4. Brasil Brazil

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31 Maverick Square
Boston, MA 02128
(617) 561-6094
Visit Website

Brasil Brazil serves salgados, small bites of chicken, beef, cheese, and more, encased in fried dough. East Bostonians pop in for a snack to take on the T — it’s a penalty-kick’s distance from Maverick Station on the Blue Line — or to pass time people-watching with a panoramic view of Maverick Square.

Try the quibes, coxinhas, and pasteis. Quibes are balls of bulgar wheat and ground beef; coxinha is the Portuguese word for “little thigh,” or a bite of shredded, seasoned, and battered chicken stuffed with melted Catupiry cheese; and pastéis are nostalgic, crispy pies with fillings from heart of palm to guava — they’re common at Brazilian farmers markets and specialized pastelerias. Enjoy these deep-fried crowd-pleasers with fresh Brazilian coffee, passion fruit juice, or cashew juice.

Breads with guava, fresh cheese, and more at Brasil Brazil
Breads with guava, fresh cheese, and more at Brasil Brazil
Brasil Brazil/Facebook

5. Theo's Cozy Corner

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162 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 241-0202
Visit Website

Theo (pronounced Teh-Oh) Cristo grew up in Espírito Santo. Today, the restaurant he opened nearly three decades ago in Boston’s North End flies American, Italian, and Brazilian flags outside, but the house special is pure Espírito Santo tradition — moqueca Capixaba. Not to be confused with moqueca Baiana, the state of Bahia’s method that uses palm oil and coconut milk, Cristo uses strictly olive oil. His moqueca is lighter and accentuates fresh tomato, cilantro, and house-made hot sauce.

To some Brazilians, palm oil and olive oil is the difference between mere fish stew and a tropical elixir that transports you home.

“This place has the best moqueca in Boston,” said a customer one afternoon at Theo’s. “The best in Brazil,” amended another.

Theo’s Cozy Corner
Theo’s Cozy Corner
Theo’s Cozy Corner/Facebook

6. Say Pão (Mobile)

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700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

The Brazilian cheese bread pão de queijo originated in the farmlands of the land-locked state Minas Gerais. Cassava flour (flour ground from the tropical cassava root) and Minas cheese rolled into balls emerge from the oven hot, creamy, crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside.

Brothers Rodolfo and Rodrigo Penna grew up in Minas before opening Say Pão. They import their food truck’s pães de queijo directly from their home state and then go one step further, converting them into cheese-filled buns.

“The idea was to combine pão de queijo with American flavor,” Rodolfo Penna says. The experiment yields sandwiches like home-style pork, Buffalo chicken, chicken cordon bleu, caprese, bacon-cheddar, pizza, cheeseburger, guava-mozzarella, and Nutella, all gluten-free. The Say Pão truck reopens for its second season at the Boston Public Library (where this map point is located), in the Seaport District, and on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on April 1.

A pork pão de queijo sandwich from Say Pão de Queijo
A pork pão de queijo sandwich from Say Pão
Say Pão/Instagram

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1. Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet

1865 Revere Beach Pkwy, Everett, MA 02149
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet/Facebook

Brazilian cuisine abounds, but it’s often overlooked or unrecognized as Brazilian. Take Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet, for example — a canopy-tent dining room that opens at 8 p.m. in Everett. A hot dog here is a boiled, savory treat, basically the antithesis of an água de côco in Ipanema. But it’s every bit as Brazilian.

It weighs approximately one água de côco: A 100 percent beef hot dog with everything, the most popular request, includes mayonnaise, sausage, onion, tomato, corn, peas, mashed potatoes, farofa, chicken or meat sauce, ketchup, mustard, potato sticks, and cheese. Order one regular, sliced, or pressed for $8. Note the farofa — toasted Brazilian cassava flour with bacon bits — and bun-free hot dog bowl option.

1865 Revere Beach Pkwy
Everett, MA 02149

2. Oliveira's Steak House

120 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143
Oliveira’s Somerville
Oliveira’s Somerville
Oliveira’s/Facebook

As Memphis, Kansas City, and North Carolina pit masters are to the United States, gauchos are to Brazil. The gaucho chefs at Oliveira’s Steak House present endless symphonies of skewered beef, chicken, pork, and lamb from table to table. As both the servers and the chefs, they butcher, trim, skewer, season, grill, carve, and deliver the meat.

Oliveira’s specialty is picanha, the top sirloin cut of beef seasoned with sea salt. The quadriceps-sized hunk of beef bobs through the dining room with seventeen other skewer options, rodízio-style. Additionally, eighteen salad and eighteen main course options encompass the cuisines of various Brazilian regions. Try the São Paulo-style lasagna and the salpicão, a crunchy, mayonnaise-based chicken salad.

120 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143

3. Muqueca

1008 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141
muqueca
Muqueca
Muqueca/Facebook

The meal prepping at Muqueca begins long before the first onion is sliced. Owner Fátima “Fafa” Langa travels to the southeastern, coastal state of Espírito Santo every year to purchase new clay pots for the kitchen. The Association of Potters makes moqueca pots there, a tradition they’ve upheld for over 400 years.

Order the moqueca, of course, but pronounce it “muqueca” as Brazilians do. Select Baiana or Capixaba style: Baiana uses coconut milk and palm oil; Capixaba does not. The large pot before you is black and battered like a witch’s cauldron. The meal inside bubbles orange, brimming with white fish, shrimp, tomato, onion, and cilantro. The pot, still hot from the stove, keeps the meal warm. Ladle it over white rice, sprinkle with farofa, and pair with a white wine, like the Portuguese Verdelho.

Hungrier parties should accompany the moqueca with feijoada completa. This hearty black bean stew is the national dish of Brazil, and Muqueca loads it with dried meat prepped in-house, sausage, pork ribs, and bacon. For dessert, try the northern Brazilian cupuaçu fruit pudding mixed with New England blueberries.

1008 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141

4. Brasil Brazil

31 Maverick Square, Boston, MA 02128
Breads with guava, fresh cheese, and more at Brasil Brazil
Breads with guava, fresh cheese, and more at Brasil Brazil
Brasil Brazil/Facebook

Brasil Brazil serves salgados, small bites of chicken, beef, cheese, and more, encased in fried dough. East Bostonians pop in for a snack to take on the T — it’s a penalty-kick’s distance from Maverick Station on the Blue Line — or to pass time people-watching with a panoramic view of Maverick Square.

Try the quibes, coxinhas, and pasteis. Quibes are balls of bulgar wheat and ground beef; coxinha is the Portuguese word for “little thigh,” or a bite of shredded, seasoned, and battered chicken stuffed with melted Catupiry cheese; and pastéis are nostalgic, crispy pies with fillings from heart of palm to guava — they’re common at Brazilian farmers markets and specialized pastelerias. Enjoy these deep-fried crowd-pleasers with fresh Brazilian coffee, passion fruit juice, or cashew juice.

31 Maverick Square
Boston, MA 02128

5. Theo's Cozy Corner

162 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113
Theo’s Cozy Corner
Theo’s Cozy Corner
Theo’s Cozy Corner/Facebook

Theo (pronounced Teh-Oh) Cristo grew up in Espírito Santo. Today, the restaurant he opened nearly three decades ago in Boston’s North End flies American, Italian, and Brazilian flags outside, but the house special is pure Espírito Santo tradition — moqueca Capixaba. Not to be confused with moqueca Baiana, the state of Bahia’s method that uses palm oil and coconut milk, Cristo uses strictly olive oil. His moqueca is lighter and accentuates fresh tomato, cilantro, and house-made hot sauce.

To some Brazilians, palm oil and olive oil is the difference between mere fish stew and a tropical elixir that transports you home.

“This place has the best moqueca in Boston,” said a customer one afternoon at Theo’s. “The best in Brazil,” amended another.

162 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113

6. Say Pão (Mobile)

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
A pork pão de queijo sandwich from Say Pão de Queijo
A pork pão de queijo sandwich from Say Pão
Say Pão/Instagram

The Brazilian cheese bread pão de queijo originated in the farmlands of the land-locked state Minas Gerais. Cassava flour (flour ground from the tropical cassava root) and Minas cheese rolled into balls emerge from the oven hot, creamy, crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside.

Brothers Rodolfo and Rodrigo Penna grew up in Minas before opening Say Pão. They import their food truck’s pães de queijo directly from their home state and then go one step further, converting them into cheese-filled buns.

“The idea was to combine pão de queijo with American flavor,” Rodolfo Penna says. The experiment yields sandwiches like home-style pork, Buffalo chicken, chicken cordon bleu, caprese, bacon-cheddar, pizza, cheeseburger, guava-mozzarella, and Nutella, all gluten-free. The Say Pão truck reopens for its second season at the Boston Public Library (where this map point is located), in the Seaport District, and on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on April 1.

700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

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