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A guide to Brazil in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / June 23, 2014

brazil torontoWith World Cup in full swing, Brazilian culture has come to the forefront of Toronto's collective attention - though there are more than just sports bars that deserve recognition. We surveyed the city to discover that there's a lot more to Brazilian culture than steakhouses and soccer. The list below culls the best restaurants, cafes, dance venues and festivals to get a real taste of what this Latin American giant has to offer in Toronto.

Here is a guide to Brazil in Toronto.

RESTAURANTS, BAKERIES AND CAFES

Mata Petisco Bar (1690 Queen St. West)
Newly opened in Parkdale, this Latin American snack bar leans towards Brazil while nodding to neighbouring countries. Try the burger made of Picanha (a favourite cut of meat) and wash it down with Caipirinha cocktails chilled with coconut water ice cubes.

Sabor Brasil (1702 St. Clair Ave. West)
This Corso Italia restaurant is home to authentic Brazilian standards coxinha (chicken rolls), kibe (ground beef rolls) and Frango com queijo e mandioca (cheese covered fried chicken served with fried cassava).

Braz.1.L (7 Maitland St.)
This Brazilian snack bar in the Church Wellesley Village is known for its pao de queso - cheese buns made with cassava starch - (50 cents) and frozen acai bowls ($10) topped with granola, guarana syrup and fruits.

Rio 40 (1256 St Clair Ave. West)
A taste of Brazil in the heart of Corso Italia does Brazilian staples like feijoada, a baked black bean with smoke meat stew, as well as a fusion of Portuguese and Italian dishes. Try the frango com catupiry, a pizza topped with tomato sauce, chicken, oregano and house-made Brazilian cheese.

Caffe Brasiliano 849 Dundas St. West)
A stalwart on Dundas West known for strong coffee and a daily roster of Latin comfort foods.

Brazil Bakery (1554 Dundas St. West)
This popular Dundas West bakery is a reliable source for specialty coffees, sandwiches, salads and desserts like queijadas (custard tarts) and and bolos de arroz (rice flour cupcakes).

brazil torontoSTEAKHOUSES

Copacabana (230 Adelaide St. West)
Two Toronto rodizios and one in Niagara are a meat lover's paradise where all-you-can-eat barbecue is paraded around the restaurant and carved table-side until you tell the waiters to stop.

Rodeo Brazilian Steakhouse (95 Danforth Ave.)
Another example of an ACYE steakhouse on the Danforth that offers a prix fixe for $40 on weekdays or $50 on weekends. Help yourself to the salad bar or wait as over a dozen cuts of meat are offered to each table.

Touro Churrascaria (125 York Blvd.)
This massive Richmond Hill restaurant does both rodizio and Brazilian brunch. In addition to the meat-heavy menu, try visiting on a Thursday when seafoods are on special too, including grilled swordfish kebab, jumbo prawns, bacon-wrapped scallops and more.

GROCERS

Nosso Talho (1326 Dundas St. West and 1042 Bloor St. West)
On Dundas West, this butcher claims allegiance to Portugal, though Brazilian expats will find imported goods and familiar cuts of meats used in traditional dishes.

Segovia Meat Market (218 Augusta Ave.)
In Kensington Market, this Latin American butcher is known to carry Brazilian bonbons and serve up comfort foods like feijoada.

SPORTS BARS

Brazilian Star (1242 Dundas St. West)
In Little Portugal this Brazilian bar and grill boasts a lovely back patio furnished with picnic tables. Inside is an ideal spot to watch sports events while snacking on fried cassava or pastel (Brazilian empanadas).

Novo Horizonte Sports Bar (1430 Dundas St. West)
Also in Little Portugal, this sports bar where fans of team Brazil congregate. If cheering works up an appetite, try the Brazilian hamburger, fully loaded with strips of bacon, a fried egg, ham, chicken, cheese and all fresh toppings like lettuce, tomato, corn.

lula loungeDANCING

Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St. West)
The dancehall is home to live salsa, jazz, Brazilian, African and world music, though they book everything from classical to punk. Look for their salsa dancing and dinner packages on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mana Bar & Lounge (722 College St.)
While not specifically Brazilian, the nightclub hidden in the basement of The Mod Club hosts rioplatense nights on Saturday nights, featuring a cross-section of Latin styles including cumbia, cuarteto, salsa, merengue and bachata.

Touche Martini Bar (669 College St.)
The restaurant and martini bar hosts Banda Zé Fua, Brazilian folk dance music on Thursday nights and Brazilian samba jazz on Fridays.

Bavia Arts (898b St. Clair Ave. West)
A hub for Brazilian culture, this studio lists Brazilian drumming, African drumming, Samba bateria drumming, Afro-Brazilian dance, and capoeira on its programming and classes schedules.

brazil torontoFESTIVALS

Brazil Fest
Founded in 2003, The Toronto International BrazilFest (BrazilFest) attracts over 30,000 people to its annual summer showcase of Brazilian culture, featuring the best food, arts and entertainment from the Brazilian community.

BRAFFTV
The Brazilian film and television festival takes place annually in the fall. The display of Brazilian culture in film screenings encompasses a curated showcase of films both submitted for competition and invited as well as Bra-zoo-kah (films by Brazilians living abroad), and Brazil Through Foreign Eyes (films by non-Brazilian filmmakers about Brazil).

Brazil Film Fest
Dedicated to Brazilian cinema, this showcase takes place over four days each year to
showcase a selection from the new wave of Brazilian filmmaking, including fiction features and documentaries.

What did I miss? Bolster this guide to Brazil in Toronto in the comments.

Top photo by Black Tux in the blogTO Flickr pool. Additional photos by Jesse Milns and Irina No.

Discussion

12 Comments

daniela / June 23, 2014 at 01:20 pm
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Your missing Brazil Day!
Ibere / June 23, 2014 at 01:33 pm
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I don't think Caffe Brasiliano belongs on this list... there's not a single item in their menu that can be considered Brazilian.
aline / June 23, 2014 at 01:56 pm
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please note that it's "pao de queijo", and not "queso".
Felipe / June 23, 2014 at 02:11 pm
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Expressions of Brazil, summer festival @ Harbourfront Centre, from august 8 to 10
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/summer/expressionsofbrazil/
Sam I Am / June 23, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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I've yet to find one, but does anyone know of a place that will serve northeast (pernambuco, bahia) dishes like acaraje, moquecas and bobo de camarao??? craving them for a yr + now
list seems incomplete / June 23, 2014 at 04:19 pm
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No mention of where to go for a waxing?
SGM / June 23, 2014 at 05:57 pm
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How about a mention of the multitude of Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian bands that enrich this city with their frequent performances? Batucada Carioca, Maracatu Mar Aberto, Maracatu Baque De Bamba, Samba Elegua, Samba Squad, T.Dot Batu etc or the Capoeira groups that also teach, build community and perform?
There is culture beyond what you can buy or what you can eat, BlogTO.
To SGM / June 23, 2014 at 06:57 pm
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How about being less smugly sanctimonious, SGM? Thanks for providing the info, but give the writer a break. Everytime an article gets posted involving anything to do with another country, it seems to attract the crankiest critics hell bent on lecturing instead of just contributing to the conversation.
Cecília / June 23, 2014 at 09:11 pm
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UpTo3´- Brazilian Short Animation & New Media Exhibition of Toronto - www.upto3.com
Philip replying to a comment from aline / June 24, 2014 at 09:15 pm
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As aline already mentioned, it's queijo, not queso. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world, largest in Latin America, and yet still people forget that they speak PORTUGUESE not Spanish...(and there IS a difference)...sigh... in the writer's defense, at least they got it right in the paragraph before this error.

Good article though =)
James / July 13, 2014 at 10:07 am
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There are also Brazilian Capoeria classes offered by Grupo Axé Capoeira on St. Clair.
Falta muito / December 16, 2014 at 04:57 pm
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There's lots "faltando" or lacking in the article.

Re: parties and bars there's an annual Toronto celebration of Carnaval that a lot of the Brazilian community comes out to. There's often a big elaborate party at a rented hall and/or some parties at Touche or Bar Bola at Dundas and Brock, and often something at Lula Lounge too. Look up Toronto Brazilian Carnaval on Facebook and check in at Brazil Remittance on Dundas east of Dufferin for more info. I think Carnaval is in mid-Feb. this year.

** Re: local Brazilian music and artists and recurring Brazilian music nights! **


You can look up more any any of the names and info below online. Many of them have websites and Facebook pages and/or groups with current info.

Brazilian music and culture in Toronto?

Check out ** UMANOTA.CA ** for more on a lot of the artists, groups, styles of music and cultural background and history in a local Toronto context.

Facebook: Uma Nota Culture

The Uma Nota music series, including the Uma Nota Festival, has presented and worked with many of these artists and groups.

And maybe you've been to an edition of BLOCK PARTY either in Kensington in 2012 (when it was behind Segovia meats) or at Clay and Paper near Liberty Village in summer 2013 and 2014 ... always lots of Brazilian music in the mix.

* * *

Brazilian style percussion groups people can learn with/join/see perform around town (especially summer festivals but also live indoor shows from time to time):

Escola de Samba de Toronto, Samba Squad, Batucada Carioca Samba Elegua (samba percussion instruments)

Baque de Bamba, Mar Aberto (maracatu percussion groups)

Tdot Batu plays exclusively "bloco afro" or "samba reggae" style Brazilian percussion

There are offshoot groups that use the Brazilian percussion instruments as a base for other musical arrangements in more of a "stage band" format with melodic instruments also in the mix, such as A Bateria Fantastica, Mar Aberto SoundSystem, Primitiva and an upcoming project to watch for called Tdot Sound Crew.

Brazilian musicians based in Toronto and actively performing and recording include:
Luanda Jones, Bruno Capinan, Wagner Petrilli, Aline Morales

There are bossa nova, Brazilian jazz and choro scenes with artists like Tio Chorinho ... check out bossa nova duo Andre Valerio and Alheli Pimenta ... Gord Sheard is the head of the Brazilian music program at Humber College's music faculty and has a Brazilian quintet and knows about and plays

Os Tropies is a Toronto group playing Tropicalia inspired hits in Brazilian Portuguese and other languages. They are not Brazilian necessarily, mostly they are North Americans who are not, but they are part of the local scene and community and Brazilians attend their shows.

Forró (Brazilian couples dancing music from the northeast of the country) nights happen in various places, often Touche or Lula but also other venue.

Groups playing Forró include Ze Fua, Maria Bonita and the Band, and Forró Nite band (Aline Morales's forró group)

Capoeira schools include:
Axé Capoeira
Capoeira Camara
Capoeira Malês
Aruandê Capoeira
Escola de Capoeira Filhos de Bimba Toronto
Kadara Capoeira
Semente do Jogo de Angola (Capoeira Angola)

... many also have classes led by advanced students and instructors around the GTA as well as more centrally located/downtown area classes.


[MMA aka BJJ aka "vale tudo"
... will get back on this but I'm sure a quick google search would pull up a bunch of options! ]

Brazilian dance lessons in many forms:
Newton Moraes Dance Company
Brazil Dance World (Goreti Cardoso)
Dance Migration Company (Adrianna Yanuziello)
Grupo Afro-Lusophone (Jessica Da Cruz Semedo)
The Samba Connection (Yara Vasconcelos)
Rio Samba Divas is another one ... there are several I think

Bavia Arts is a cultural centre with a strong Brazilian community. It is looking for new space but watch for its names and participants around the community.

There's lots more I am forgetting I know, but this is a start to some of the world that some earlier comments mentioned was missing.

Oh, if you want to practice your Portuguese and keep up on Brazilianlife in Toronto, OiToronto.com is a city blog for Brazilians in Toronto. There's also a slew of Portuguese language papers and the Brazilian oriented print publications include Brazil News, Jornal da Gente, Brazilian Wave Magazine and etc.& tal, and there's an AM radio program called Fala, Brasil hosted by Jose Francisco Schuster, 1610 AM on Mon/Wed. nights.

Espero ter ajudado um pouco!

Hope that helps a bit!

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