Cafe Do Brasil: a must-try in midtown Oklahoma City

by | May 20, 2008 | 45 Comments

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Cafe Do Brasil

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440 NW 11th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
405-525-9779
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For some reason, I have yet to write about Cafe Do Brasil, which is odd because it is one of my favorites. I know that many of you love this place as well, because I have received a lot of recommendations for it from you guys. So, today we will make this right and take a look at what I consider to be a must-try in midtown, Cafe Do Brasil.

This place is no stranger to those tied into the OKC restaurant scene. It has been written up in most of our major local publications, so I’m guessing that most of you are already aware of it. If you have been here before, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you give it a try as it is one of the most affordable and unique places that OKC has to offer.

The location is fantastic. It’s right at the heart of the midtown renaissance and right across the street from the revitalized Plaza Court building. The white, spanish-style building (formerly a funeral home) is very close to my home. I only wish I worked closer to midtown so I could more often take advantage of their fantastic lunch specials.

The interior decor perplexes me a bit. On one hand, the dark-wood tables and chairs give it a sophisticated feel, yet the bright (and I do mean bright) yellow and green color scheme on the walls is quite a contrast. So, you have this sort of tension going on in the interior, but that’s ok.

The interior is spacious. It’s pretty much just one big room, two-stories high (remember it’s in a funeral home’s chapel) and it can be pretty noisy when the lunch crowd is at its peak and the cacophony of voices is bouncing around all of the hard surfaces. On the weekends, they offer a brunch which is really fantastic. They even feature live, one-man-band jazz music during this time which adds to the atmosphere. I can say that every time I’ve been, the vibe is really lively. I have never been for dinner, however, so I can’t speak to that, but I believe they have a pretty nice evening scene complete with their upstairs rooftop bar.

Speaking of the brunch, I really enjoyed it. It features lots of options including spanish-influenced dishes like migallas, brazilian scramble, vegetarian scramble, and ovos rancheros, as well as more international offerings like eggs benedict and a tropical delight of fresh fruit over french toast. Plus, they have a “bionic drink” which is a non-alcoholic fruit and vitamin-boosted smoothie. Everything is fresh and the building just lights up with the morning sun pouring in through the large east-side windows.

Lunch is my favorite. They post three lunch specials on a blackboard out front. Each one includes iced tea (fruity or regular) for about $6.50. This is a great deal, in my opinion. My favorite lunch special is the Prato Sao Paulo. It has been the #2 special every time I have been there so I think it’s pretty much a standard. It features strips of chicken atop of plate of rice, beans, diced onions, and tomatoes served with a tasty and spicy green salsa you can pour over top. I love the simplicity of this dish. It comes out beautifully presented every time. I also love that it’s extremely healthy, a perfect portion, and very tasty.

They offer several other Brazilian specialties. Sometimes these are served as a lunch special and other times they are not, but you can always order them off the menu. They include a Feijoada plate (which they say is the Brazilian national dish) and Xin-Xin, a very interesting shrimp dish including palm oil, coconut milk, peanut paste, cashews and dry shrimp. I tried Xin-Xin once and really enjoyed it. Problem is, I like the Sao Paulo better so I keep going back to it every time. They also offer a selection of sandwiches, salads, quiches, brasilian pies, and some vegetarian specialties like Prato De Minas which is sort of like my favorite chicken dish but minus the chicken and with some other vegetables added.

They even offer a kids’ menu featuring several selections for brunch, lunch and dinner for kids under 12. This is a welcome treat. The atmosphere is good for kids, too, given its lively nature so you don’t feel out of place when the little ones are making a bit of noise.

Cafe Do Brasil has several bakery items that they sell at their up-front counter, or you can order them to your table. I’ve tried the cheese biscuit on the recommendation of a friend. I thought it was ok, but not really worth the cost (it was close to $2, if I remember right). That’s the only baked good I have tried, but many have told me they have some other great offerings. If you’ve tried something, please share your impressions in the comments.

The bottom line is that Cafe do Brasil is a must-try. I have no reservations about recommending it. I know that not everyone will like it as much as I do, but its uniqueness as a thriving South American restaurant in our city and its location in the rapidly-developing midtown area at least warrant a visit. I also think it’s a great place to bring out-of-town guests to or to recommend to out-of-towners when they visit the city. I would throw it in there with Pho Hoa as a place that really showcases our city’s cultural diversity and effectively represents our potential.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments.

Cafe do Brasil on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Cafe Do Brasil

Picanha Brasileira at Cafe Do Brasil in Oklahoma CityCaipirinhas at Cafe Do Brasil in Oklahoma CityJacare Ao Pantanal (Fried Alligator) at Cafe Do Brasil in Oklahoma CityBobo De Camarao (Shrimp Stew) at Cafe Do Brasil in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Andrew says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 7:53 pm   

    I’m a big fan as well. I like the Xin Xin, but my favorite so far is the empanadas. They aren’t always offered, but when they are it makes my taste buds happy.

  • Clint says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:12 pm   

    The dish is actually Prato Sao Paulo, not Prato San Paulo.

  • Tim says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:15 pm   

    Woops! Thanks for catching that typo, Clint. I have corrected it.

  • Clint says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:58 pm   

    It’s my favorite as well, along with the Xin Xin. I’m a Midtown resident, and I love being able to make the short trip there for brunch. I’ve never had a bad dining experience at Cafe Do Brasil. They do have the one notorious waiter, but he’s always treated us okay.

  • BJ says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 9:54 am   

    Does anyone know what restaurant is going in directly south of 1492?

  • Tim says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:09 am   

    BJ, I have heard that it is going to be a sushi place, possibly even from Gaijin sushi, the same folks who opened in the Park Harvey building downtown. However, I’m not 100% sure on that.

  • Clint says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 11:07 am   

    It will be Gaijin Sushi.

  • Noelle says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 12:53 pm   

    I’ve had decent dining experiences at Cafe do Brasil. However, their desserts are not very good in my opinion. I’ve tried the apple cake and the carrot cake on different occasions, and they are very dry. They taste as if they were baked a few days ago and left in the refrigerator to dry out. The last time we were there, our waiter didn’t even bother to ask why we were displeased with our desserts, he just quickly gave us our bill and pretended not to notice we weren’t eating our food. Other than that, I feel their food is decent – I particularly like the empanadas when they’re on special.

  • Tim says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 12:59 pm   

    Noelle, thanks for that insight. I’ve never tried any dessert item there so I appreciate your perspective.

  • Markbb says:
    May 25th, 2008 at 7:39 am   

    My wife and I met my sister and her husband there and the food was good but the live entertainment was abit loud, needs to really tone it down so you don’t have to yell to be heard….

  • Ben Jamin says:
    May 30th, 2008 at 12:24 pm   

    Cafe de brazil was totally wicked. I had the national dish, under the assumption that a whole nation couldn’t be wrong. It was way better than I had hoped. Filling, tasteful, and good price. Now if they could only get the teas right…

  • Marla says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 4:54 pm   

    Cafe do Brazil is one of my favorites.

    GET THE CEVICHE! Wow, it’s the best ever with an unexpected fusion of cilantro, pineapple, tomato, heart of palm, enough hot pepper to give it a kick without killing a spice o phobe and delicate shrimp, bay scallops, and tilapia.

    I love the fried chicken appetizer as well frango a passarinho… these are not your typical okietex wings. It’s chicken perfection!

    But hands down, my favorite dish is on the dinner menu, Moqueca a Baina. My husband and I get the mixed seafood version. It’s big enough to share, but we don’t because we love it so much and the leftovers are to die for.

    I adore the owner, Ana. She’s warm and sparkles with sincere hospitality, but the service is spotty at best. A couple of waiters are good, but really, good help is really hard to find. The food has always made up for it in my opinion.

  • Erin says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 10:04 am   

    We just recently moved to town and decided to check this place on on your recommendation. We went for dinner, but quickly found out the vegetarian menu doesn’t extend to dinner beyond one appetizer, one entree, and a few lackluster salads. I say lackluster because that’s the one area where I believe a restaurant can show some creativity for us Veg-Headz. I felt like someone had taken a VERY large plate and dumped a store bought bag of salad on it, and then tried to dress it up. It was just very disappointing, huge and flavorless. That being said, the waitstaff was very friendly, but as the crowd picked up, we were left waiting for our check for quite some time. I have to say, if it hadn’t been for the charming and sincere performance by John Pappas on the clarinet, piano, and JAZZ FLUTE (I am not even kidding) the whole experience would have been a wash. I’m willing to give the brunch a try, because I’ve heard so much about it…

  • Tim says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 1:00 pm   

    Thanks for that report, Erin. Sorry that your initial experience was not so great. I have never been at dinner but it sounds like things are much different.

    I’d recommend you give it another try at lunch or for brunch. I’ve found both to be different from what you’ve described so maybe its worth another shot. The jazz man is usually there for brunch as well so that’s a plus!

    Thanks again for the comments and welcome to OKC!

  • Chris J. says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 8:42 am   

    Went here last Tuesday and had the Xin-Xin. It was very, very good. The service was a bit slow, but it would not hinder me at all to go here again.

  • KevinW says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 12:02 pm   

    I have been here many times with friends and family but only for brunch on Sundays and it is ALWAYS awesome! I love the cheese bread. I really need to go sometime for dinner but just haven’t had the chance yet.

  • Sarah says:
    September 6th, 2008 at 5:35 pm   

    Five of us went last night for dinner before Mamma Mia, and I’m glad we sllowed an hour and a half for dinner, as the service could have been just a tiny bit quicker. The lady was knowledgable about the menu and very talky, which we liked. I had the frango a butrios, which was a grilled chicken breast covered in a light cream sauce. It was very good, although I was surprise at how mild it was. Although I’ve never been to Brazil, I would think the food would be a little more spicy. My dish could have used a little heat. What was great was John Pappas! Being a flutist myself, it was a treat hearing him play flute, alto flute and bass flute. The main dining room did get quite noisy by the end of our meal. Spinach salad was a tasty surprise!

  • Rena says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 3:29 pm   

    I usually enjoy the food at the Cafe. However, I truly dislike the live music. It is way too loud and often not great!

  • Casey says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 9:10 am   

    I wasn’t so impressed with my last visit to Cafe Do Brasil. My husband and I both found the food to be overly salty and lacking in flavor (other than salt). Perhaps it was just a bad night because I have had many great lunches there. Also, our service wasn’t that great. We’ll probably give them another shot.

  • Aaron says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 6:09 pm   

    Tim,

    Your review was spot-on. We had great service and 3 of us ate lunch complete with coffee and desert for under $40 !

    The food was fabulous, the food quality was great and the flavors were phenomenal.

    I recommend the stroganoff (sp?) or the Prato, both were more than enough for lunch and for under $& with a drink, you cant beat the quality!

    I do wish they’d take the plastic table covers off, they’re very…. well roadside diner-ish.

    We will definitely be back!

  • Aaron says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 6:13 pm   

    BTW,

    Forgot to mention we had both the Apple cake and the flan for dessert. Both were excellent.

    The apple cake tasted like it was made from scratch, and although it was crumbly, it went well with the fresh whipped cream and coffee.

    The flan was rich and creamy and delicious as well.

  • Donna says:
    October 6th, 2008 at 1:31 pm   

    I’m totally hooked on the Brazillian Pie with ham, mozzarella, spinach, and garlic in a pie crust. Order it on a special with the orange almond salad and it’s a fabulous meal. The Xin-Xin and Prato Sao Paulo were very tasty. We go there after church on Sunday’s. It’s usually very crowded, but the service has been excellent. The Prato Sao Paulo and apricot tea makes for a wonderful lunchtime away from the office. Friends have enjoyed the Flan. The bright walls felt a very intense the first time I dined there, but now I can’t imagine them changing to a softer color. Still haven’t been there on a Saturday night.

  • Cory says:
    November 6th, 2008 at 3:53 pm   

    Cafe do Brasil is one of my all time favorite spots downtown. My wife, daughter and I go for Saturday morning brunch quite often. My favorite is the Migas. For lunch, I do love the Prato Sao Paulo, but my favorite is the Carne Cozida sandwich. We also go to the Bossa Nova lounge when the weather is nice and hang out on the patio. Great view, awesome drinks and the appetizers are my favorite.

  • Ryan says:
    November 10th, 2008 at 10:25 am   

    I ate lunch at Cafe do Brasil on Saturday, with a few friends. I had the Carne Cozida sandwich and it was great, cooked and seasoned perfectly. My wife had the Brazilian Muffaletta, and it was very good as well. The portions were perfect. My wife and one of my friends said the salads were lacking. My other friend had the Brazilian Pie, and it looked great, he said it was very tasty with perfect, flaky crust.

  • John H says:
    December 24th, 2008 at 11:22 am   

    One of my favorites in OKC, great for brunch on the weekends, everything has been great that i’ve tried there, except for the Bionic Drink, which was alittle luke-warm. Still, one of the best restaurants in town.

  • Rick Cain says:
    December 29th, 2008 at 11:11 am   

    Its closed on mondays!, adjust your lunch schedules to suit.

  • Carlie says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 8:09 pm   

    I have only been for brunch once and tried the migas and while they were okay I have found the Migas at Cafe Antigua to be much more delicious and cheaper!

  • dave says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 11:44 am   

    I went there on Wednesday 3/4/2009. The ambiance was ok, too many tables for the space available, but I can understand that. We had the XIN-XIN and the Guisa. The xin-xin was tasty, the Guisa (a ‘stew’) was watery although the flavor was ok.

    The rice and black beans were dull and entirely unsuprising.

    All in all, I won’t return. For south/central american try Zarate’s in Edmond.

  • Debbie says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:26 am   

    Went to Café do Brasil on Saturday night – oddly this was my first time at this establishment. I really enjoyed it – nice vibe overall, with good service, good food, and colorful and pleasant décor (although the place can get loud). My boyfriend and I each decided to partake of some spirits here and really liked the clean, refreshing taste of the caipirinha. For dinner, I had the Feijoada, the Brazilian national dish. It’s served with rice and collard greens and orange slaces. This hearty and aromatic stew of black beans, sausage and pork meat is good and certainly filling. My only complaint is that the pork meat should have been removed from the bone before it was served, as I had more than one mouthful of bones. But the flavor was really nice – it’s certainly something I’d order again and something I would attempt to make at home. If anyone has suggestions for the best dish at Café do Brasil, drop a message!

  • Cory says:
    April 19th, 2009 at 1:31 am   

    i went here for dinner on saturday night with a group of about 12 and we all found the food, service, and ambiance great. we chose to go here on a good recommendation, and it was more impressive than we were lead to believe. all of our meals had excellent flavors and were cooked perfectly, and the same goes for all of our desserts, but i thought the ceviche was my favorite along with the picanha brasileira (wow) and the apple cake to top it off. the music was lively and fun. overall, all twelve of us are looking forward to our next visit! this is definitely a must for anyone who wants to experience something unique and have a great night out.

  • froggy says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 3:36 pm   

    Café do brasil is just the best restaurant ever! It is one of my favourite since it was placed on Classen several years ago. I loved every dish I tasted ( and I tasted almost all of them). The place makes me feel happy as soon as I enter. The owner Ana is a fabulous woman! Everyone who goes to OKC shouldn’t miss it!

  • Jenn says:
    May 6th, 2009 at 10:08 pm   

    We plan to do Mother’s Day brunch there – so glad to pass your review onto our family!!

  • Jenn says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 9:45 pm   

    Sunday brunch was so yummy! $2 mamosas was a bonus!

  • Alexis Lux says:
    May 21st, 2009 at 2:17 pm   

    I also had the Brazillain Pie. It was good, lots of spinach. It came with fruit on the side and I got Apricot Iced Tea to drink. It’s not someplace I would normally go, I don’t do seafood and many of their dishes had seafood in them. Good Service and neat building.

  • Xander says:
    June 18th, 2009 at 2:46 pm   

    Go there often with coworkers. I don’t think there is really much difference between the Stroganoff and the Prato Sao Paulo. Those 2 along with the Feijoada in my opinion are actually kind of disappointing. Their Quiche,soups ( Black Bean,Broccolli, and Potato),and salads are amazing though as are their chocolate chip muffins.

  • Kevin says:
    June 22nd, 2009 at 10:57 pm   

    In a word … yum!
    In several words …. grab some friends, enter hungry, turtle race to a most excellent state of being full and happy

  • kathi pinkston says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 6:58 am   

    The quality of the food coupled with such reasonable prices makes this restaurant a success every single time. How nice to have a pleasant meal without breaking the bank.

  • Wimpy says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 6:07 pm   

    My wife and I had lunch there today she had the stroganoff dish I had the feijoada, both were very good and served hot and fresh. We both expected spicier food, I guess I had a misconception of what Brazilian food would be like. The sandwiches and salads looked very good and seemed to be what most were ordering. Our meals were not served with bread, but it was provided when I asked for it and it was good as well, looking forward to trying it again, maybe for breakfast next time but wasn’t sure if it is served daily. Anyone know??

  • Tim says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 6:21 pm   

    @Wimpy, I believe the brunch is only served on the weekends. It’s very good, though. Thanks for the report on your experience.

  • Jay Wright says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 11:43 am   

    Met some friends downtown and we tried Cafe do Brasil and were impressed. We started off with a couple of the Perfect Martine Ceveche’s, so different from what I expected, so many different flavors mixed, but it was excellent. A few ordered the Prato Sao Paulo and it got all thumbs up and some of the group had the Chicken Strogonoff which was not your average strogonoff. Nothing but clean plates on our table so it was all good. This was lunch time, full crowd so it was a little loud, but its all good. You will have to make several trips to be able to hit everything on the menu.

  • MaryAnn says:
    November 14th, 2009 at 7:50 pm   

    Great spot for brunch!

  • Shaun says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 8:27 pm   

    I went with a friend and his mom for “lunch” (or whatever you call the meal one eats at roughly 2pm) this past Saturday. The restaurant was uncrowded, with maybe three or four other tables of customers. The waiter was really friendly and polite, and we all enjoyed our food. I ordered the Prato Sao Paulo, and whereas I wasn’t super-impressed by it I didn’t think that it was bad either. My friend got the Xin-xin, which I wished I had ordered, but at least he was nice enough to share with me. His mom ordered the Brasilian Pie with fruit and I have been assured it was delicious. After lunch, we pored over the dessert menu and found the most decadent-sounding thing on the menu to split. I cannot say enough good things about whatever the dessert is called. It was passion fruit mousse topped with chocolate mousse, and it was perfect. It left me wondering why there are so few passion fruit desserts, and why I’ve never heard of it being paired with chocolate. It’s Sunday evening now, and I think I’ve already threatened to make at least five of my less ‘adventurous’ friends go there with me just so I can get more of that mousse. That said, I’m definitely going back.

  • Kacy says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 7:46 am   

    My favorite reason to go to Cafe do Brasil is for brunch – great coffee, simple and delicious dishes, and good adult beverages. It’s a great place to impress and out-of-towner.

  • Kaylee says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 3:23 pm   

    Just ate here today for the first time. I had the empanada lunch special and it was really good!! My co-worker go tth echicken stroganoff special and it was very yummy! We will definitely be going back!

  • Lesa says:
    December 9th, 2010 at 4:38 pm   

    We met friends here last night, this all ours first time. What a wonderful experience. The food was good, even if you can’t pronounce a lot of the dishes, and the service friendly. By the time we were finished we decided we would be coming back here more often.

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