All things considered, most of us are good with forgoing the Olympics this year, content to watch Brazil’s games from the comfort of our own countries. And it seems especially reasonable to take a pass on Zika (et al.), when you just happen to live in Brooklyn, where there’s an unprecedented number of bars and restaurants serving singularly Brazilian food and drink, from Bahia’s bobo de camarão and Southern-style churrasco, to bouncy brigadeiro balls and bottles upon bottles of cachaça.
Inspired by the traditional botecos of Sao Paulo—casual, day-to-night gathering spots, featuring live music, affordable fare and free-flowing drinks — this seven-year-old bar and eatery obliges with samba bands, happy hours, and Brazilian mainstays like Bife a Cavallo (steak and eggs), Coxinha (chicken croquettes with catupiry), and Feiojada (the national dish of pork and black bean stew, served with rice, collards and farofa), as well as Palma Louca and Xingu beers, cachaça flights, and tumblers of Maracuja Capiroska—vodka and passion fruit cocktails.
45 Richardson St., Williamsburg
Open for lunch, brunch and dinner, this Brazilian botequim crouched under the Williamsburg Bridge brings a distilled essence of Rio to Brooklyn, serving authentic eats such as Carne Seca com Madioca Frita (beef jerky with yucca), Salpicao (chicken salad tossed with lime, mayo, apples and raisins), and Picandiho a Carioca (chopped meat with beans, greens, bananas and eggs), as well as bottles of Brahma beer and caipiranhas, in a corrugated steel-walled space saturated in pinks and greens, the official colors of Mangueira—Brazil’s most famous samba school.
57 S 5th St., Williamsburg
Carroll Gardens’ Brazilian-Argentine churrascaria offers an extensive selection of parilla-cooked cuts such as Picanha na Tabua—rump steak smeared with salsa criolla and chimichurri—as well as baked Brazilian flan and cocktails flavored with yerba mate, the brewed, smoky, caffeinated leaves of a South American shrub.
550 Court St., Carroll Gardens
Back and better than ever after a devastating fire last year, the Colonia Verde team impressively reconstructed the interiors of their James Beard “Outstanding Design”-nominated restaurant, and retooled the menu to feature a bevy of South American bar snacks up front (such as housemade sausages, passion fruit and cachaça-dressed salad, and pulpo al pastor), and a refreshed selection of wood-grilled items in their garden oasis out back, from picanha with farofa (toasted cassava flour), to a cilantro-flecked burger deposited in pao de queijo (puffy cheese rolls).
219 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene
Bogota Latin Bistro
While its specialty is Colombian cuisine, Park Slope’s pan-Latin mainstay pays homage to Brazil with Moqueca (fish stew swimming in dende oil-infused coconut milk), and supplements its lineup of mojitos and margaritas with caipiranhas, containing cachaca, sugar and lime combined with ginger or tropical fruit.
141 5th Ave., Park Slope
Thanks to Streets BK’s “passport to culinary adventure” menu, you can touch down in Brazil by way of peri peri chicken wings, glazed in a hot pepper-fueled marinade, market fish steamed in banana leaves, along with ginger, pineapple and plantains, and churrasco y papas—skirt steak paired with fat fries, chimichurri and spinach and cilantro-stained rice.
53 Broadway, Williamsburg
Though ostensibly a Portuguese spot, this Greenpoint steakhouse celebrates centuries of culinary crossover between the two intrinsically-linked countries, with mixed grill empanadas and Brazilian all-you-can eat “rodizio” spreads, including flame-broiled chicken, lamb, linguiça and turkey accompanied by kale, rice and beans.
139 Nassau Ave., Greenpoint
Ivy Mix’s Cobble Hill cocteleria is devoted to Latin spirits, which means you’ll find plenty of cachaça (Brazil’s beloved sugarcane rum) behind the bar—incorporated into the “Say Anything” along with jalapeno tequila, watermelon and aperol, the “Aqui/Alla” with contrato, vermouth, cinnamon and grapefruit, and the “Oye Como Va,” comprised of mango, tamarind, chiles and vanilla.
221 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
My Sweet Brigadeiro
This Bushwick dessert shop specializes exclusively in Brazil’s signature, truffle-esque sweet, made by rolling satiny, fudgy balls of butter, cream, condensed milk and cocoa in chocolate sprinkles, coconut, puffed rice or nuts.
57 Porter Ave., Bushwick
All photos, except Leyenda and Miss Favela, by Jane Bruce