Brazilian award-winning chef Rodrigo Oliveira opens restaurant Caboco in downtown Los Angeles

Ask any foodies in Brazil where to try one of the best modern local cuisines and they’ll most likely point you to chef Rodrigo Oliveira’s award-winning restaurants Mocotó and Balaio IMS, in São Paulo. This month, the Brazilian chef celebrates the opening of Caboco, his first restaurant outside of his native country, and a highly anticipated hotspot for food enthusiasts to explore a new culinary expression in downtown Los Angeles.

It was during a visit in 2017 that Oliveira, along with chef and business partner Victor Vasconcellos, decided LA could be the first location outside of Brazil that they would consider opening a restaurant. “The city looked so familiar to me. It could be the similarities to São Paulo, the warm and kind welcome we had from everyone we met, or even the landscape we’ve seen so many times in movies. And then, there was the food,” Oliveira recalls. “It just felt right. I realized that we could bring something new to the scene”, said the chef.

Caboco’s menu features Oliveira classics like the crispy pork belly Torresmo, and famed Dadinhos de Tapioca, cheesy tapioca fries that have helped the chef consistently hold a coveted spot on San Pellegrino’s Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list. 

The many years of collaboration between Oliveira and Vasconcellos have also inspired newly conceived dishes like a vegetarian Moqueca de Caju (vegetable stew with cashew fruit, hearts of palm, plantain, ora-pro-nobis, tucupi and coconut broth) and a housemade Carne de Sol (salt-cured beef with roasted garlic and biquinho peppers).

The menu also has a heavy emphasis on exploring the scope of the Brazilian manioc (yucca) flour, incorporating tapioca, farofa, and yucca fries, as well as Amazonian fruits and wild vegetables from southeastern Brazil. Native ingredients like tucupi and cachaça come together with California’s rich bounty of produce, making Caboco’s menu unique and sustainable. 

Drinks come from former Chestnut Club barman Marcus Rigas, who fuses tropical fruits and more with Brazilian distilled spirit cachaça, creating caipirinhas and international cocktails such as the O Figo Fashion (fig syrup, bitters, oak cachaça) and Mandacaru (lime juice, caju syrup, cachaça branca, salt). 

After nearly four years of development in partnership with power-restaurateur Bill Chait, Oliveira and Vasconcellos seem confident they can present modern cuisine worthy of recognition in LA, one that tells a story beyond churrasco and feijoada, as delicious as those things are. “I hope Caboco builds a reputation not as a great Brazilian restaurant but as a great restaurant that happens to be Brazilian”, said chef Rodrigo Oliveira.

CABOCO
1850 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
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Phone: (213) 405-1434
@caboco.la

Author

Half-Paulistana, half-Americana. Cultural bridger and @a_cesso founder.

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