Keywords: Brazilian Steak House | Rodizio-Style Service | Gourmet Salad Bar | International Wine Selection
Churrascaria: Brazilian-style barbecuing where the meat is skewered and cooked over an open flame or on a grill; the meat itself is called churrasco.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaca and lime juice.
When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.
The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.
As a youngster, Latif Lamnaouar learned classic Moroccan dishes by watching and helping his mother in the kitchen. After moving to America, the homesick Latif started cooking those meals himself, a process that reduced his homesickness and propelled his culinary aspirations. He now crafts Moroccan specialties at Lateeva's Cafe, from veggie sandwiches with eggplant and split pea hummus spread to lemon chicken paninis with pesto and spinach.
Before noon, Latif assembles plenty of breakfast treats, too, including wraps chock-full of eggs, hash browns, salsa, and a choice of turkey sausage or turkey bacon. Complement feasts with coffee drinks or the apple juice, strawberry, and tamarind blend of the Road to Casablanca smoothie, named for its resemblance to Humphrey Bogart's naturally fruity scent.
Teppanyaki chefs twirl their knives and ignite towers of flame while cooking meals tableside inside Hana Japan Steak & Seafood. They slice new york steaks, chicken, and salmon and toss scallops onto the grill alongside chopped veggies and mounds of rice, all without ruffling their tomato-red toques. Each hibachi dinner comes with a shrimp appetizer, a bowl of soup, and a salad with organic Hana dressing imported from the organic part of Japan.
The Vibe: The Brazen Head looks like it exists in a different time and place—say, Manchester in the 1960s. Old news clippings and portraits line the walls, and dark woods stretch back as far as the eye can see, which isn’t that far thanks to the dim lighting and heavy drapes that block out excess sunlight.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Swing by The Brazen Head’s sister restaurant, Liverpool Lil’s (2942 Lyon Street), for classic British pub grub such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.
The azure-blue sea and palm-tree-lined beach on El Nuevo Frutilandia's rustic painted sign hint at the Caribbean cuisine served inside. A modest menu highlights multiple courses of Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes, including meatless options such as mofongo vegetariano, a classic dish of fried plantains smashed together with olive oil and garlic. Pork is featured throughout the menu, whether roasted and sliced alongside ham and cheese in the Cuban sandwich, or fried as chops with a spritz of lemon and crown of onions.