Since first emerging in the area of Palms and Culver City in the mid 80’s, Brazilian restaurants in Los Angeles have slowly added to the scene, from the handful of lanchonetes (lunch counters) that introduced LA to picanha plates, feijoada, and coxinhas, to the Beverly Hills location Fogo de Chao in 2005. LA doesn’t have the robust Brazilian populations that’ve fueled the vibrant restaurant scenes in Miami-Dade, NYC’s Little Brazil; Somerville, MA; Philadelphia; or New Jersey.
The foundation of Brazilian cuisine and dining culture is manioc or cassava, but specifically farinha de mandioca (manioc flour), which is either served raw on the table, or toasted to make farofa. It’s used both to dust stews, and as a side with meats for starchy, gritty goodness. Farofa, included in prato feito (shortened as PF, meaning a complete meal), is piled on a tin plate to the ceiling at lanchonetes, and botecos (pubs) in Brazil. In Somerville it’s reduced to a small bowl’s worth, but here in Los Angeles, one might be lucky to get a jello shot cup’s worth, due to the fact the Brazilians must buy the stuff at retail price. Imagine getting a quarter of a tortilla to eat a bowl of birria de chivo, or eating a spicy Xiang-style dish with a thimble of rice. Lesson here is, have an ample amount of farofa with your Brazilian meal.
Today Los Angeles counts a variety of successful churracarias, acai spots, lanchonetes, regional specialists like Oxnard’s Moqueca, Brazilian markets, pizzerias, por kilos (food by the kilo) places, and even an espetinhos (skewers) restaurant in its landscape of Brazilian restaurants. Whether enjoying salgadinhos (savories) with suco de cupuaçu (Amazonian fruit), snacking on Bahian acaraje (black eyed pea fritters), lunching on a prato feito de luxo (luxurious meal combo) like virado à paulista (Sao Paulo’s monday combo plate), or starting your evening of rodizio de carnes (Brazilian AYCE steakhouse) with a couple of caipirinhas (National Brazilian cachaça-based cocktail), here is your guide to the best Brazilian cuisine in LA. Bom apetite, galera. (Restaurants are listed from west to east)Read More