When it comes to Brazilian food in Berlin, there’s truly something for everyone. We sampled the wide range of options.
For Brazilians and their friends
When we asked our interviewees in this issue where they went for a taste of home, Café Mori was the most common answer. The Görlitzer Park restaurant’s owner, Berlinborn Alexander Mori, learned the traditional recipes from his Brazilian mother. The star of his small menu is hands-down the feijoada, Brazil’s national dish: a hearty black bean stew served here with braised pork, basmati rice, farofa (roasted manioc flour) and tomato-coriander salad (€7/€5.90 for a small portion). In the vegan alternative feijao marrom, Mori omits the pork, switches the black beans for pinto and adds roasted garlic for almost the same depth of flavour (€5.80/€5). For dessert, there are Sonho de Valsa chocolate bonbons (€1) or good old Kuchen like vegan apple cake (€3.40/slice) or carrot cake (€3). Don’t forget a guava smoothie or, if they’ve got it, Skol beer (€3.20), a popular Brazilian brew that’s actually manufactured by Carlsberg. And Mori’s Kreuzberg 36 location makes it a perfect pit stop for a nonwatery caipirinha during the annual May 1 melee.
Wiener Str. 13, Kreuzberg, Tue-Sat 11:30-22, Sun 12-20
For hipsters and super-foodies
You might associate tapioca (powdered cassava root) with the chewy blobs found in pudding or bubble tea, but in northeastern Brazil, the word means one thing: delicate, stretchy crepes made with manioc flour (a processed form of tapioca), served with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings. Found on just about every street corner in the motherland, tapioca was nonexistent in Berlin until four years ago, when German-Brazilian couple Mariana Pitanga and Peter Westerhoff decided the customiseable, naturally gluten-free snack would be perfect for the Markthalle IX crowd. Their mobile stand Tapiocaria serves the pancakes (€4.50-5.50) with a plethora of fillings, from chicken-cheese to vegan chilli to tomato-basil-mozzarella. “Tapioca Caprese” may not exactly scream Brazil to you, but the Tropicana (guava marmalade, grated coconut and banana) is as authentic-tasting as it gets. Finish off with a big bowl of açai sorbet (€6-8), which was big in Brazil before anyone over here ever deemed it a superfood.
Markthalle IX, Eisenbahnstr. 42-43, Kreuzberg, Thu 17-22, see Facebook for other events
For Germans, tourists and serious meat eaters
What kind of Brazilian restaurant will you find on Ku’damm? If you guessed “a posh steakhouse owned by Russians”, you’re right on the money. The gaudy, 11-year-old Brasil Brasiliero provides moneyed City West residents with the Churrasqueira Rodízio experience, in which roving costumed waiters present your table with cuts of grilled meat skewered on swords until you’ve had enough. For €29.50 on weekdays, you get access to imported Brazilian and Argentinian beef, lamb, chorizo and more, plus a salad bar and a rum-doused flaming pineapple for dessert. If you’ve got a taste for feather-bedecked showgirls and shirtless male dancers, Friday and Saturday evenings offer dinner and a show for €34.50. There are a few Brazilians working in the kitchen, but this isn’t the place your friend João goes for an authentic meal; rather, it’s where you take Jörg or Vladimir for some flashy distraction before hammering out the details of that oil contract.
Kurfürstendamm 51, Charlottenburg, Sun-Thu 18-23, Fri-Sat 18-1
For home cooks
If you feel like trying your hand at Brazilian cuisine yourself, venture into the back room of the Kantstraße clothes and cosmetic shop Alexa Jeans Brazil. Past shelves of Seda hair products, Nativa Spa moisturiser and Pit Bull jeans (which for €149.90 promise to lift and shape your butt better than any trousers you’ll find in Germany), you’ll find a small but comprehensive grocery section. Here’s where you can get the ubiquitous ingredient manioc flour, either plain or pre-seasoned as farofa; instant pão de queijo (cheese roll) mix; condensed milk for making dulce de leche and even little snacks like Passatempo biscuits (€2.35). Goiânian owner Alexa Oliveira opened the shop on Leibnizstraße five years ago before expanding to Kantstraße and adding the food section in 2016. How to use your grocery bounty? At Forum Brazil (see page 17), Murah Soares leads German-language courses where up to eight participants learn how to make dishes like the shrimp stew bobo de camarão (€35; sign up well in advance). If you’d rather skip the cooking part, Alexa Jeans turns into a mini-restaurant on one Sunday per month, when Oliveira and her small staff cook a dish of their choice for customers (in March it was feijoada for €8.50). On special order, they also prepare sweets, fried snacks (like the chicken croquettes coxhina) and unicorn-shaped birthday cakes.
Kantstr. 25, Charlottenburg, Mon-Fri 11-19, Sat 11-16, check Facebook for Sunday events