Prism Tastes: Ofa Restaurant
June 20, 2018admin
The wonderful thing about living in a melting pot like Miami is that we can dive into the world’s cultures at any time. And for every gimmicky tourist trap, there’s a multi-sensory gem that transports you right to that country’s proud streets and treasure-filled villages. Ofa Restaurant is just one of those discoveries. The kind of place that greets you first in their native tongue not as a character choice, but a natural reflex. It’s a direct gateway to the culturally rich center of Sao Paulo.
The Sunset Harbor Brazilian outpost is a welcoming escape from the Beach’s usually exclusive attitude. The space is understated, subtle, and airy–not your usual representation of such a vibrant and loud country. The atmosphere is as friendly as you’d expect. Knowledgable staff picks fruits from the 10-year old pitanga tree in the back patio, tells you the story of their decorative posters, and walks you through the menu like an in-the-know local walks you through the streets of their home town.
A Place to Call Home.
It’s a bright, wood-filled interior complimented by the outside’s lush courtyard–the only deck of its kind in the Harbor area. It’s private yet still worthy of a good jam with friends whether during happy hour or a romantic meet-up. Positive sayings in Portuguese pattern the wall in the traditional “lambe lambe” style so traditional to Sao Paulo’s Vila Madalena. Everything about Ofa shows a deep appreciation of the comforting things in life–from classic cocktails, addictive bites, and a tantalizing playlist to match.
Ofa’s staff are a collection of good party hosts who make you feel like an important guest while still giving you room to roam. They proudly walked us through their homemade hot sauce featuring four different Brazilian peppers while suggesting the night’s drinks. The berry caipiroska, tri citrica and negroni were delicious, but the refreshing house caipirofa stole the show. From there, we dove into their coconut milk ceviche, a flavorful and creamy appetizer that disappeared within minutes.
The burrata and Brazilian sausage came next, packing a surprise in the crispy arugula. A trio of munchie-worthy apps came out next: crispy tapioca, beef croquetas, and the fried rice balls–all served with their own tangy, spicy, and dense dips. Then came Ofa’s true colors: their mains. It was a truly satisfying experience to taste their picadinho, Sao Paulo’s most popular dish. More for the pride with which it was served than the plate itself. Although, it was the night’s show-runner by far.
It takes true skill to wow with a salad, and they do just that with their salada de graos with cashew aioli and vegan pesto. I still think about the bobo de vegetais, a coconut-infused twist on a classic veggie stew topped with beautiful seasoned jumbo shrimp. Finished it all off with some traditional brigadeiros and we had a successful first trip to Brazil. If you’re looking for a place that hits all the bases of flavor, comfort, and family-friendly ambiance with a heavy transport to the world’s cultural corners, Ofa Restaurant is just the ticket.
Photos by FujiFilm Girl.