Wesley Olivera grew up in Brasilia, Brazil and came to Rhode Island 10 years ago with a dream of opening a restaurant that featured authentic Brazilian food.
That dream came true less than three months ago, when he opened Sabor Brasileiro at 369 Douglas Ave. in Providence. Wesley worked in construction, using those skills to completely renovate a former laundromat in a shopping plaza near the Providence College campus.
Wesley and his wife, Sylvana, worked night and day to make the bright and cheery place an asset to the neighborhood, offering not only authentic dishes at very reasonable prices but also adding an attached pizza parlor.
There is a small group of Brazilian families in the area, more in East Providence, but the couple want to attract people who are new to the native dishes while also offering typical American food like hamburgers and pizza.
If you have ever been to Brazil, you will remember the many food carts and bakeries serving a variety of “fritos na hora,” that wonderful pastry filled with meats and cheeses. Our favorites are the empadas, a sweet, crispy dough filled with beef, chicken or cheese. At only $1.70 each, they are the way to start any meal. We also fell in love with kibe, a combination of flour and meat that is deep-fat fried and has a wonderful flavor ($1.70). Served with lemon, and hot sauce if you wish, it is worth the trip to Douglas Ave.
Their pastries, breads and desserts (try the flan) are mostly cooked in house, with some of the breads ordered from a Brazilian bakery in Massachusetts. The Brazilian cheese bread ($1.70) makes a fine addition to the meal.
For my entrée, I chose a house favorite, Muqueca, which is a huge portion of king fish, topped with shrimp, with a fantastic sauce that is beyond description. It comes with the fluffiest rice I’ve ever eaten ($13 for one; $18 for two; $24 for three). I ordered for one and took a good portion home.
Joyce enjoyed the Amazonas, a colorful combination of chicken, sausage with broccoli and other interesting veggies and “pimentao” served with rice and french fries ($12).
A side dish of bean sauce enhanced my rice. I got it all because beans are the one food Joyce doesn’t like. I’ll be back to try the lasagna, which is prepared with either beef or chicken. A small portion (their small is quite big) is only $6, $10 for two.
Salads are prepared with fresh fruits and vegetables, and Brazilian soups are very popular and a meal in themselves at $11.
Try one of the many natural juice drinks made with water or milk ($3.50 or $3.75). I had a delicious tangerine, while Joyce enjoyed coconut. There are over two dozen flavors, with mango being very popular.
The bright and cheery, unpretentious restaurant seats about 48 people and is tastefully decorated. All of the breads, desserts and “salgdos” are displayed in cases available for take-out and hard to resist. If you are looking for something unique at very reasonable prices, try Sabor Brasileiro Restaurant and Café. Their phone number is 490-0724. They are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. While they aren’t currently serving breakfast, all of their delicious pastries are available.