Brazilians are world-renowned for their beautiful bodies. One of the secrets to obtaining the god-like Brazilian body can be uncovered by observing their diet. Brazilians hold a love for healthy cuisine, which plays an enormous role in any holistic health and fitness plan. To experience healthy Brazilian food at its finest, visit Muqueca Restaurant in the charming neighborhood of Inman Square, less than a twenty minute walk from the Harvard Business School.
In contrast to most Brazilian restaurants that feature salty and heavy dishes of rice and beans and steak, Muqueca Restaurant Owner, Fafa Gomes, creatively designed a menu inspired by the delicacies of Espirito Santo, her Brazilian hometown. Muqueca is the authentic name of a traditional cooking style from the region of Espirito Santo, where seafood such as fish, crabs, and scallop flavored with cilantro, annatto seeds, and olive oil are cooked in a huge clay pot.
The menu is composed of the freshest and purest ingredients. Even the dessert is healthy, and the meal can be wrapped up with the Acai bowl, an energizing mixture of fresh acai fruit topped with fiber-rich granola. Acai is one of the many Brazilian fruits rich in healthy fatty acids, antioxidants and potassium. Other exotic Brazilian fruits offered in the form of fresh juices include guarana, acerola, and graviola. The restaurant is vegetarian-friendly; in general, all seafood dishes can be substituted with tofu. My only advice to health conscious dieters is avoid white rice which is served in huge portions with each muqueca dish. Unfortunately, brown rice substitutions are unavailable.
Every dish is a beautiful work of art, as each dish is meticulously presented. Each plate is colorful, fragrant, interesting and unique. The restaurant’s most popular and interesting dishes include the Lasagna de banana, Shrimp Moqueca, Cod Capixaba, Brazilian Crab Cake, and Seafood Pie.
The fresh and pure diet is only one component of a Brazilian’s secret formula for obtaining a god-like body. Brazilians understand the healthy holistic interrelationship between diet, exercise and lifestyle. Their fun-loving energies and positive attitudes towards life are reflected in the brightly colored interior design of the restaurant and the magnanimous spirit of the waiters. Brazilian television in the background contributes to the warm, small family-style ambience.
1093 Cambridge Street
Fafa Gomes has lovingly shared the recipe for one of her restaurant’s most popular dishes, the Seafood Pie, a tradition that dates back over one hundred years. This dish is typically enjoyed during Easter in Espirito Santo.
(Serves 6 People)
Fresh Herbs: Onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon, cilantro, green onions; Several fresh tomatoes
2kg of natural palmito that has been previously cooked or substitute with about 3 large cans of heart of palm.
200g frayed and cooked siri
200g frayed and cooked crab
200g cooked shrimp
200g cooked oyster
200g cooked sururu (mussels)
200g frayed and cooked white fish fillets
500g frayed and cooked unsalted cod
Prepare a saute consisting of onion, garlic, pepper, olive oil, green olives all chopped up. Cook the palmito and wait until the water evaporates. Incorporate all seafood cooked in the moqueca clay pot, ensuring that minimal liquid exists. Begin with fish and cod, followed by the remaining ingredients. After the seafood is cooked, mix in six beaten eggs, leaving a small amount to cover the pie. Pour seafood into the muqueca clay pot. Add the remaining of the meringue made with eggs and decorate with onion rings and black olives. Bring the pie to a preheated oven in medium temperature. When the pie starts to foam on top, it’s ready-it should have a light brown color and the eggs will look cooked. Enjoy!
Most people who visit MuQueCa, the familial Brazilian restaurant in Inman Square, go for the eponymous seafood stew ($11.95/fish; $14.95/mixed seafood) — and with good reason. Served in a handmade clay pot, the dish consists of cod, shrimp, and mussels gently cooked in an aromatic broth of onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Heavy with the fresh flavors of the ocean, it’s big enough to satisfy two healthy appetites. But on the left side of the menu, just between the Brazilian crab cakes ($5.95) and the sautéed shrimp with garlic oil and cilantro ($6.95), is what I’m after tonight: fried yucca with carne de sol ($5.95).
I am a French-fry gourmand. Whether it’s the thin-cut-double-fried-crunchy-on-the-outside-creamy-in-the-middle variety, thick and greasy steak fries, or crispy patatas bravas at a tapas bar, as long as it involves potatoes and hot oil, I’ll eat it (I’m even an un-closeted fan of fast-food fries). Fried yucca, I’ve discovered, is French fries taken to the next level. Its high starch-and-sugar content helps it become shatteringly crisp on the outside, while remaining luxuriously buttery and slightly sweet in the middle. Carne de sol, made by salting slivers of beef and allowing them to dry and ferment slightly in the sun over the course of several days, is a richer, beefier, more complex version of your standard beef jerky. Try alternating between bites of the yucca and the beef: the salty, chewy carne is the perfect foil to the crisp, sweet yucca.
The dish is served with a creamy, tangy sauce packed with garlic and herbs that pushes it over the edge from good to crave-able. The menu describes the sauce as a “secret, created by our chef,” and a quick inquiry to the waitress about its ingredients confirmed this, as she suddenly pretended not to speak English.
Available for $5.95 at MuQueCa, 1093 Cambridge Street, in Cambridge. Call 617.354.3296.
(credit: Rachel Leah Blumenthal)
CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Two years ago, I went to Muqueca on a first date. Recently, we finally got around to a return visit (not to celebrate our anniversary, though, because my boyfriend thought re-doing the first date would be too cheesy). When we first tried Muqueca, a Brazilian seafood restaurant with a focus on cuisine from Espírito Santo, it was in a small corner spot on Cambridge Street in Inman Square — cozy, lively, and loud. Since then, it has moved to a larger space down the street, making it a little less intimate but still quite homey.
Muqueca is named for moqueca — a traditional Brazilian slow-cooked stew containing fish and shellfish, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and a few other components. The reason for the spelling discrepancy is unclear; the “o” version is used throughout the menu. There are plenty of other things on the menu to try (a friend of mine reports enjoying the shrimp bobó), but I’d recommend going for the namesake, which is served in an authentic clay pot imported directly from Brazil. For a variation, try ordering the Bahian version, which includes palm oil and coconut milk. On the side, you’ll receive rice and pirão — a fish-based gravy made with cassava flour.
On my first visit, I don’t recall a liquor license – -just fruit juices and frozen “mocktails.” Now, though, there’s a full bar, so I felt I had to try their version of the national drink of Brazil, a caipirinha. A mix of cachaça, sugar, and lime, it’s similar to a mojito, but stronger (and tastier, I think!) Interesting translation note: caipirinha is the diminutive version of caipira, which translates fairly closely to “hillbilly.”
Muqueca’s decor, like the service, is cheerful and welcoming. One brick wall features colorful oil paintings, ostensibly of Brazilian scenes, and the back wall is turquoise, covered with a fishing net and whimsical fish sculptures.
Our latest visit was the night of the infamous tornado, and as we watched the never-ending lightning and downpours through thewindow, we decided to get dessert just to stay dry a little bit longer. The table next to us, who had already paid and were about to leave, ended up ordering another pitcher of sangria.
It’s a good thing we stuck around; the dessert menu was fantastic— and not just because of the tasty offerings. No, it was the menu itself that piqued our interest. The descriptions made us laugh almost embarrassingly loudly. “Just a flan? Not really! This is a flan with a twist,” read the chocolate flan description. “It will melt in your mouth hitting all the bud-tastes of your tongue. You will not regret having one. In fact, you will beg for more.” Well, we were too full to beg for more, but it was certainly tasty. (My favorite description, though, was for the regular flan. You were born for this,” it insists. Indeed!)
Muqueca1008 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02139(617) 354-3296
Rachel Leah Blumenthal is a Somerville-based writer, photographer, and musician. She writes about food on her blog, Fork it over, Boston!, and runs Boston Food Bloggers, a networking community. For more information, visit RachelBlumenthal.net.
Level Contributor132 reviews71 restaurant reviews93 helpful votes
Muqueca is located on the strip of Cambridge St., where I was told, lots of hip restaurants to eat. Muqueca is also well known by many MIT and Harvard students as the place to order their authentic traditional caipirinha (Brazilian hillbilly drink). It is a small place and surprisingly, not many locals know about. A hidden gem for sure, but…More
Best Brasilian food outside of Brazil. The moqueca’s, feijoada and caiprnihas are as authentic as you can find. The deserts were to-die-for and the expresso’s put Starbucks to shame. You really need to go here if you want to feel like you are dining in Sao Paulo or Rio.
Level Contributor267 reviews115 restaurant reviews59 helpful votes
Definitively the authentic Brazilian experience for seafood! Wonderful food and the owner is very friendly! Some staff are great! It is not a place to eat in a rush, so go when you have time to appreciate the time it takes to prepare great food!
We were in the mood to eat something different and tried this restaurant based on reviews here. Truly was a good restaurant with great food and service. Family friendly as well. Quick cab ride from MIT area. Parking easy in the pm.
To begin, let me state that our recent first visit to Muqueca will be the first of many. Our servier, Nicole, was first rate–informative, courteous, and attentive. As for the food it is AMAZING!!!! Constant Companion and I began with Lula empanada com molho de maracujá (Fried Calamari with passion fruit sauce). Nicole volunteered to bring some of Muqueca’s home…More
I’ve seen Muqueca when passing by but never really noticed it. It doesn’t demand your attention – it seems more low-key, content to do what it does, which is provide delicious food with friendly and accommodating service. Four of us went for an early dinner and the place was half full when we arrived. It didn’t take long to fill…More
If you love Brazilian food, this is your place in the Boston area! I am not such a fan of Brazilian food, but still enjoyed our visits here. The offerings were very similar to what I had traveling in Brazil. My favorites are the fresh juices available, which I have not found many other places, although the caipirinhas are also…More
A friendly welcome preceded an interesting and very pleasant meal. Two senior adults and a five year old boy all were pleased by the meal and service. The adults had the national dish of Brazil, the five year old was satisfied with his steak tips. We tried their nonalcoholic drinks, fruit based and again each was able to find something…More
Welcome to Man Food, where burger pro Richard Chudy steps away from his usual burger beat to explore food challenges, street eats, and other gut-busting delights. Ladies are welcome, of course.
Muqueca: It’s the name of both a national dish, and a charming restaurant in Inman Square. While I’m sure the rest of the extensive menu, which highlights Brazilian ingredients like yucca, plantains and black beans, is wonderful, on this visit I was after only one thing—a big clay pot of the namesake, brimming with an abundance of cod, shrimp and aromatics. A violently spitting clay pot arrives with an inverted pile of rice, pirao (a thickened sauce of sorts using stock and fish bones), and hot sauce. Waiting for the pot to cool down is not easy, since the savory flavors of cilantro and the ocean permeate the colorfully-decorated and brightly-lit restaurant as you sit there, salivating.
The muqueca is labeled as a stew but the broth is so scarce it’s hard to call it anything more than a really terrific fish dish with a little bit of liquid. But this quickly becomes irrelevant because the dish is so expertly prepared. The cod is soft and luscious, just flaking so that it barely dissolves into the rest of the pot. Plump shrimp are also treated with care, though slightly under-seasoned. The annatto and tomato-based broth ultimately acts more like a sauce and less like a soup component, but the little there is of it is a treat. The flavors of South America are alive and well here, with notes of garlic and onion balanced by the cilantro and tomato. It’s mostly just a straight-forward dish without too many twists and turns, but a careful addition of the fiery red hot sauce wakes it up in just the right way. The pirao, though is a mere distraction on the table. Overly thick and almost gelatinous, it has little to no flavor.
Sometimes the simple dishes are the hardest ones to pull off; too many components would easily muck this up, muddling the flavors in an unnecessary way. The muqueca at Muqueca is solid. The seafood is about as well-prepared as possible, and although the tomato-annatto broth is an appetizing blend of onions, garlic and cilantro, it isn’t until a generous self-helping of hot sauce that this dish truly begins to sing.SPONSORED CONTENTSuggested: Taj Boston’s New Seasonal Menu Is Here, And It’s Delicious1008 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-354-3296, muquecarestaurant.com
Muqueca Restaurant Brazilian | Cambridge FOOD 24 DECOR 14 SERVICE 22 COST $28 For “large, satisfying” portions of “Brazilian comfort food”, diners head to this Inman Square “treat” known especially for its way with “colorful, vibrant seafood dishes” like the eponymous stew served in a hot clay pot; the “festively decorated” space may be “small”, but it’s nonetheless a “nice”, “family-run place.” Zagat reviews are compiled from individual user reviews. Write a review for Muqueca Restaurant ADDRESS 10
For many Americans, Brazilian cuisine means red meat. Or self-service buffets selling food by the pound. Or churrascarias where skewers of barbecued pork, lamb, and sausage are sliced directly onto your plate.
Muqueca is a different kind of Brazilian restaurant. It specializes not in the beef of the pampas, the grassy fields in southern Brazil where cattle are raised, but in the fish and shellfish of Brazil’s lakes, rivers, and Atlantic coast. Seafood pie, red snapper, salt cod casserole, fish soup: This is what Muqueca’s owners, Antonio and Fafa Gomes, ate in Espirito Santo, their coastal home state in Brazil.
And it’s what they serve at the shoebox-sized restaurant they opened in East Cambridge six years ago. Their specialty is moqueca ($11.95-$14.95), a seafood stew of cilantro, tomato, onion, and a mixture of fish, shrimp, or mussels. It’s a blue-ribbon creation — light, healthful, rich in flavor, still bubbling with heat when it arrives, and elegantly served in a clay pot nestled in a decorative metal stand.
Ditto for the divine seafood pie ($15.95), a chunky mishmash of white fish, salted cod, crab, mussels, and the tiniest shrimp I’ve ever seen. Even when we were full we couldn’t get enough and kept scooping spoonfuls until the pot was scraped clean. “Pop art” is how my mother described its looks — a paper-thin topping of cooked egg, rings of onion baked into the eggy top, an olive plunked in each ring. A Rorschach test came to mind.
There’s red meat on the menu, too, including sirloin, tripe stew, and roast pork. There’s also feijoada ($11.95), the hearty Brazilian national dish of black beans, pork, sausage, bacon, and dried beef, accompanied by plantains, oranges, collard greens shredded like confetti, and white rice seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and salt.
This is marvelous, distinctive food. The soups ($3.50-$4.95) are excellent, especially fish soup thickened with yucca. Deep-fried red snapper (market price), a whole fish with an olive in its eye socket, gets nicely gritty crunch from a cornmeal coating. Shrimp sauteed in garlic, olive oil, and cilantro ($6.95) makes an ideal light starter, as does an unusual house salad ($5.95) of apples, olives, corn, tomatoes, heart of palm, and lettuce. But the Brazilian patties ($4.95-$5.95) are too doughy, and even though I like the greaseless fried yucca ($3.95), its “secret sauce” tastes like mayo from a jar.
A few warnings: Vegetarian options are few, although several dishes can be made with tofu, and some entrees are uncomfortably filling, like shrimp bobo ($11.95) in thick yucca sauce and chicken strogonoff ($8.95) with heavy cream. Strogonoff may sound strangely un-Brazilian, just like the lasagna. But they’re popular in Brazil, modified regionally. The strogonoff, for example, contains heart of palm, comes with rice rather than noodles, and is sprinkled with potato sticks, while the lasagna is made with plantains, not meat, tomatoes, or pasta.
The restaurant lacks a liquor license but makes up for that with its juice bar, which is stocked with tropical fruit that’s blended into naturally sweet drinks ($2.85). I occasionally longed for earplugs, because the juicer’s loud grinding can become grating. But it’s a joy to eat in this brightly colored, plant-filled place that feels like a cheerful home kitchen.
And what glorious desserts! Passionfruit and mango mousses ($3) explode with fruit flavor. Spumante ($3), a milky custard, is made special by a topping of prune and strawberry. Tapioca-coconut cake ($3) tastes like tropical rice pudding. Even the simple brigadeiros ($1.50), creamy chocolate balls made of condensed milk and rolled in chocolate sprinkles, are a hit.
Address: 1093 Cambridge Street, Cambridge (Inman Square)
Hours: Tue-Thu 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-7 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers $3.50-$6.95, entrees $6.95-$15.95.
Comments: Reservations for 10 or more.Closed Mon.; closes 5 p.m. Sun.
May We Suggest: Fish soup, fruit juices, shrimp sautee, seafood pie, moqueca, feijoada, passionfruit or mango mousse.