Food & Cuisine in Vitória
Food & Cuisine in Vitoria
Along with its scenic beauty and hospitable people, Vitoria´s food and cuisine provides yet another enticing element to visitors. Vitoria has many restaurants, snack bars and kiosks serving a wide variety of both traditional Vitorian cuisine as well as other familiar international cuisines. The fishing tradition and the heritage of Indian and African culture have profoundly influenced the local Capixaba cuisine. It has an eclectic mix of many influences from the local habitants of Portuguese, African and northern European background. Famous worldwide, Moqueca Capixaba is the most known dish of the region.
You cannot say you've visited Vitoria if you haven't tried one of those two traditional Vitorian meals Moqueca Capixaba or the Capixaba pie!
The Vitoria Restaurant Guide below provides some brief information about the different types of food you can expect to find while spending your vacation in Vitoria, as well as a listing of where to find the best Vitoria restaurants. Some general information about the different types of Brazilian food and cuisine can be found in the Brazil Restaurant Guide. If you have not had time to buy a souvenir to take back home, visit our Vitoria Shopping Guide for some ideas of where to go to find the best gifts.
Seafood in Vitoria
Seafood dominates Vitorian cuisine. Thanks to the experienced fishermen, Vitoria has at its disposal a variety of shrimp, crabs, fish and other more exotic sea creatures. The two signature dishes of Vitoria cuisine are the Capixaba fish stew, Moqueca Capixaba, and Capixaba pie. Both use crab, shrimp and fish seasoned in clay pots and mixed with a variety of indigenous flavours and seasonings.
Capixaba fish stew is called moqueca, which is made from a process in which the sea food is cooked without water. It carries the name Capixaba in order to differentiate it from Moqueca Baiana, a different type of fish stew made in the Bahia State. Moqueca Capixaba is different because it does not use either coconut oil or dende oil.
The Capixaba Pie is normally served in all Capixaba households during Easter. This delicacy is made from salt cod, palm heart, crab meat, oysters, shell fish and prawns. The Capixaba Pie takes hours to prepare and does not figure on the regular menu of most Vitoria restaurants. So if you are planning to sample this in a restaurant, do remember to notify the chef in advance, as the Capixaba pie is served only on specific request.
Churrasco, or barbecue, is the other main dish of Vitoria cuisine. It originated in the gaucho Pampas region, which covers a large portion of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It is traced back to the days of the cowboys, who used to cut their own meat and roast it in a hole in the ground, with the ashes of the fire providing the seasoning. The process and the taste both gained popularity and suddenly many people began to ask for churrasco; as a result, there were improvements in both the hygiene and taste. Today, it is one of the most requested dishes of the gaucho region. Vitoria has steak houses or churrascarias, all of which serve great churrasco. They all follow the practice of rodizio since the '60s, when waiters go from table to table with a skewer full of meat pieces of different cuts. The guests select the cut and its quantity, which the waiter will then carve off and serve.
While the not so adventurous can stick to chicken, sausages, pork and chicken breasts, the audacious gourmet can try out alligator and boar meat in their churrasco. All you need to do is step into a churrascaria and dig your teeth into some delectable barbecued meat served with rice, manioc flour, beans and salads as the side dishes.
Brazilian cuisine also uses a variety of vegetables which are not very well known. These include maxixe, chuchu (chayote), jilo, mandioca or aipim (yuka) and abobora or Brazilian pumpkin. Do not miss the doce de abobora, a lip-smacking dessert made from pumpkins. Pimento do Cheiro or Malagueta are two Brazilian peppers that will set you on fire. Most dishes are seasoned with condiments and spices like the old reliable bay leaf, as well as others.
Most Vitoria shops and bakeries sell biscoito de polvilho, which are sweet and salty crackers. Sold by the kilo in large bags, you can snack away on these light airy titbits that melt in the mouth.
Eating out in Vitoria
The Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle is a complex between two streets: Joaquim Lírio and João da Cruz, on Canto´s Beach. This area derived its name after these two party-goers got
lost between the bars and restaurants over twenty years ago. There are more than 15 places that receive all kinds of guests, from young students to executives. Usuallythe biggest nights are Fridays and Saturdays, as the area functions as a gathering point before going out to the clubs.
Another busy area for nightlife is the Mud Street (Rua da Lama), in the Jardim da Penha neighborhood. The Lama is a gathering point for the young people that brings together college students, musicians, journalists and artists who stay at the bars until the wee hours of the morning.
The Camburi´s Border has 7 kiosks that offer snacks and drinks, with a great view of Vitoria beaches. On Camburi´s Beach, one can find the largest hotels in Vitoria, as well as bars and restaurants that serve great moqueca capixaba.