Brazil had a disappointing World Cup finish, but the cuisine continues to excite fans in the far reaches of Vancouver. Brazilian cuisine dazzles the senses much like their gifted and stylish footballers. For a taste of Brazil, you can easily locate it in on the east side of Vancouver at Boteco Brasil.
Brazilian food is unique in South America. It is the only South American country that speaks Portuguese. Brazil cuisine has evolved since its inception with influences from Portuguese settlers, African slaves and other European immigration. Brazil has benefited from the many waves of immigration in both its food and drink.
Marcia Batista has owned Boteco Brasil for the past three years. Marcia was born and raised in Sao Paulo until emigrating to Canada twenty-six years ago. The cooking is her responsibility and customers are the benefactors. If you are wondering, Brazilian cuisine is not spicy.
All the dishes on the menu are authentic Brazilian cuisine and home made fresh each day. Ingredients and seasonings are imported from Brazil. Farofa is a toasted manioc (cassava) flour mixture that can be spread on top of the food. Heart of Palm oil is another Brazilian ingredient. Brazilians love garlic so that will be used in many of the dishes, although very sparingly.
Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail. It is made with cacheça (sugar cane hard rum based liquor), sugar and lime. Wow! This drink is delicious and not too sweet. The alcohol is barely tasted and the drink goes down smoothly. Lots of limes in the glass and some ice to keep it cold. In addition, a Brazilian soda is Guraná. Like Seven Up with apples and great complement to the food.
The appetizers were up first. Coxinhas are crispy potato-based dough pockets stuffed with shredded chicken and spices. It is served with ketchup aioli dip. A very popular Brazil snack. Crispy on the outside with some delightful crunch. Lots of shredded chicken inside and cheesy goodness. A flavourful appetizer that should be tried given the uniqueness of the potato-based dough.
Next appetizer was the Pastel. This is a traditional savoury pastry stuffed with either ground beef or mozzarella cheese and served with a side of vinaigrette salsa. This tasty dish is like an empanada. The outside is lightly fried making it light and flaky. Freshly made with a burst of cheese flavour. Thin, but packs a great punch.
The third appetizer from the long list of finger food was the Pâo de Queljo. It takes thirty-five minutes for this dish to be ready. It is worth the wait. Baked Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese balls served with a side of whipped butter. Comes hot and another big cheese hit. The texture is interesting from the softness of the cheese and the light but crispy shell.
A very popular Brazil main dish is Picanha. This is a cut of steak from the rump cap area (smaller side) of the cow. It is lightly seasoned with coarse sea salt and served with red beans, fried banana, farofa and mondioca (fried cassava root). Very good portion size and in fact can be shared between two adults. The steak was very flavourful and perfectly cooked to your request. The coarse sea salt really works and gives the meat a memorable after taste. The fried banana complements the meat and the cassava fries were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The white rice and beans were enjoyable.
Another unique Brazilian dish is the Bife à Cavalo. Described on the menu as Brazilian style steak and eggs served with a side of beans. Fries can be ordered. The steak is a thin piece of tender and juicy beef. Fried egg on top provides a different texture and taste profile. Brazil’s take on what is a popular North American order.
The Feljoada is a authentic Brazilian style rice and black bean stew. This dish can be found throughout Brazil. It is served with kale, cassava flour, white rice and vinaigrette salsa. A great smoky taste from the tender pork and beans. You can sprinkle the cassava on the pork, beans and rice. Lots of flavour in this Brazilian comfort dish.
There are salads on the menu. The Salada de Palmitoe Tomate comes with hearts of palm, tomatoes, onion, black olives and balsamic vinegar/olive oil. Hearts of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees. As you can see you receive a generous portion. The tomato and onion are thinly sliced. Give this a try if you have never ordered hearts of palm. All ingredients were fresh.
Time for Brazilian desserts. The first plate came with Brigadeiro and Beijinho. Brigadeiro is a chocolate condensed milk ball. Beijinho is a coconut condensed milk ball. The Brigadeiro can be described as ‘fudge on a spoon.’ Very rich and textured. A great chocolate hit and despite the size it is filling. The Beijinho was an intense coconut flavour. If you love coconut, save room for this dessert.
Last dessert was the Doce de Leite com Sorvete. This delicious dessert is slowly cooked sweetened milk turned into a milky paste with the taste of caramelized sugar. Very sweet and yummy with a thick caramel that matches perfectly with the ice cream. Save room for this dessert.
Boteco Brasil has an extensive menu providing a number of choices from finger food, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains, drinks and desserts. Fully stocked bar will quench your thirst. The prices are reasonable and a tip of 15% is included on your bill. Service was prompt and timely. Great portion sizes that come quickly. Very casual eatery with colourful painted walls. A very much neighbourly ambience. Live music is played Thursday to Sunday nights starting around 8 pm.
Address: 2545 Nanaimo Street (at East Broadway), Vancouver
Phone Number: 604-566-9028
Tuesday to Wednesday 12 pm to 8 pm
Thursday to Sunday 12 pm to 11 pm