Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area Brazilian

"Little Brazil", Culver City,CA-A gastronomic tour through a yet unnamed Brazilian enclave in LA


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Restaurants & Bars 22

"Little Brazil", Culver City,CA-A gastronomic tour through a yet unnamed Brazilian enclave in LA

streetgourmetla | Aug 11, 2009 08:14 PM

If you've spent any time in the Culver City traveling on Venice Bl. from where the Camaguey Market is located on Veteran Ave. heading east to just past Clarington Ave. where Brasa Brasil Grill is located, you've probably heard Portuguese spoken on the streets. The number of Brazilian restaurants and businesses has grown in recent years.There's even a Brazilian Mall across the street from Cafe Brazil, one of the older Brazilian restaurants in Culver City.

I say it's time for a "Little Brazil". Many already have referred to this area at a Brazilian enclave, or community.Here you can eat a variety of Brazilian cuisines, shop for sexy Brazilian bikinis, stock up on authentic ingredients Brazilian recipes, buy an Ivete Sangalo DVD, and send money to your family in Rio.

Some of the best Brazilian cooking is found spread all over the greater Los Angeles area.Natalaia Pereira hails from Minas Gerais and brings elegant home cooking to her downtown Woodspoon.Moqueca, a newcomer in far away Oxnard, brings the cuisine of Espiritu Santo, home of the original moqueca capixaba. It has a full menu of moqueca(seafood stews) and rare regional dishes. The cooking of Sao Paulo is well represented at El Sereno's Taste of Brazil, where a fine feijoada is available every day, among other sold plates. There are churrascarias all over Los Angeles, the best being Fogo de Chao, a chain from Brazil. But, recent events in "Little Brazil" with the arrival of Luciene Peck at Rio Brasil Cafe, the discovery of Sabor da Bahia's Brazilian street food, and Nalva at Zabumba have raised the stakes for substantial regional cooking.

Brasa Brasil Grill
Still a great value for churrasco at around $18 for salad bar plus continuous meat service. Lately the quality have been inconsistent at the salad bar, though. Be selective and look for the freshest looking items. The maminha(tri tip)and picanha were tatsy when I was there a couple months ago, and the other cuts that came were enjoyable. I find the staff very pleasant and always enjoy my experience here.

Cafe Brasil
It always feels like summer here, and is the ideal setting to enjoay an afternoon in LA. It feels like Brazil. The juices here are the real deal, passionfruit sweetened with real sugar cane juice tastes as good as the juice stands in Rio.They also have a sugar cane juice make from fresh stalks, surprisingly mild in flavor. Best bets here are the prato feito(complete meals), a protein with all the Brazilian sides, rice, beans, greens, and farofa(manioc meal).The pasteis(pastries) are nice too, they're very light on filling, but still are enjoyable.Try the hearts of palm pastel.

Pampas Grill
This is the second branch opened by this excellent por kilo(by the kilo)restaurant. The food is weighed, a very popular type of service in Brazil, and then you pay for what you eat. The salad bar is immaculate, the pratos quentes(hot plates) are textbook versions of Brazilian classics like stroganafe and abobara(pumpkin).They have 7 cuts of churrasco, 2 more than their Farmer's Market location, and beer and wine.This is an authentic por kilo, well received in the Brazilian community for its flavor,authenticity and quality.Por kilo is a great way to go when you don't want the full churrascaria experience.

Rio Brasil Cafe, (formerly, Brazilian Exotic Foods)
This restaurant opened in the former location of Cafe Toros followed by Delicias do Brasil, was closed for a minute, and has reopened as Rio Brasil Cafe. I went before it closed, was excited to try more of their plates, then was saddened by the sign saying they were closed. I received word that they were back, a tough time to open a specialty restaurant, but had a chance to dine there the other day. This cooking is from Rio De Janeiro's Luciene Peck. Try bobo de camarao(shrimp in a yuca cream),kibe de forno(baked kibe),casquinha de siri(Bahia's crab au gratin),or her awesome feijoada, when available.This restaurant is a shoestring operation, but the cooking here is top notch.It will be formidible when they can bring a full menu.They make brilliant salgados(savories) and will have these available when they get a hood for their deep fryer.I tried the bobo de camarao the other day and was brought to tears.It's worth a trip for this dish alone.

Sabor da Bahia
Reni an Ilma make acaraje and abara from their apartment near Overland and Venice. They bring authentic Bahia street food to "Little Brazil."One of the best kept secrets in LA.

Always a great place to check out a variety of local live music acts,but was never a food destination. That's until Nalva arrived. Nalva is another talented Baiana that recently took over the kitchen. Zabumba is open thursday through sunday evenings for a number of music themed nights. Everything here is delicious and filled with love. Salgados fried perfectly, devastating feijoada, addicting Brazilian pizzas, and home cooked moqueca de peixe(fish stew bahia style)She makes the best pao de queijo(cheese bread) in town. Try the peixe com molho de maracuja(fish in passionfruit sauce), or just a plain misto quente( the ubiquitous ham and cheese sandwich from Brazil).

The Mall
The Brazilian Mall has a great store called Supermercado Brazil. They have frozen salgados and other foods to go, everything you need to make traditional Brazilian foods, music and DVD's, beverages like Guaranana, Brazilian coffees and sweets, and yes they have Havaiana's and bikinis. There is a Brazilian beauty salon next door, and coming soon, a Brazilian pizzeria.The courtyard of the small Brazilian Mall has the same pattern of the floor as the beach walk on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro.Brazil Explore magazine has an office here too.

The Markets
El Camaguey
This place has a full spectrum of latin american products, but a strong emphasis on Brazilian foods due to the needs of the local community. You can get picanha cut by the butcher for your backyard churrasco, carne seca(cured beef), bacalhau(salt cod), and all the condiments necessary to spice the Brazilian way.

Palms Super Market
I've never been here, but they are known to carry Brazilian products as well.

There are places to send money back to loved ones in Brazil. The restaurants are frequented by Brazilians and there is a real Brazilian community living here as well. You hear Globo blasting on TV sets as you walk around the residential streets around here. One of the oddest experiences I had here was watching the Brazil vs. France World Cup match back in '04 at Cafe Brazil along with Brazilians and Brazilian soccer fans. When Brazil lost, all of us wearing our green and yellow were taunted and heckled by several cars driving by proudly flying the flag of France.I couldn't believe my eyes.The French knew where to go, Little Brazil.

Come to "Little Brazil".Try the exciting cooking of Rio Brasil Cafe, Nalva at Zabumba, and get some acaraje to go from Sabor da Bahia.Enjoy the diverse restaurants, listen to Axe being played on the patio at Cafe Brazil. Pick up a copy Carnaval 2009 on DVD over at Supermercado Brazil and a cold Guarana. It already exists, so let's make it official.

Brasa Brasil Grill
10022 Venice Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-3287

Cafe Brasil
10831 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90034

Pampas Grill
3857 Overland Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 836-0080

Rio Brasil Cafe(formerly Brazilian Exotic Foods)
3300 Overland Avenue
Suite 103
Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States
ph: 310.558.3338
fax: 310.558.3307

Sabor da Bahia
catering and orders to go(call first)
Fridays-acaraje and abara

Zabumba(Cozinha da Nalva-Nalva's cooking)
10717 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 841-6525
Thursday through Sunday nights
7Pm 'til late

Brazilian Mall
10826 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

El Camaguey
10925 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310) 839-4037

Palms Super Market
3568 Motor Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034

More pics at

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound