globe magazine

A trip to Rio de Janeiro, without leaving Boston

The snowy months may say otherwise, but Boston is brimming with places to make you feel the sun and late-night rhythm of Rio.

Dine at hot spot Fogo de Chao in Boston.
Brian Feulner for the Boston Globe
Dine at hot spot Fogo de Chao in Boston.


Get your pulse thumping and body moving at Moves & Vibes Dance Co. in East Cambridge (lessons held at Club Benfica, 178 Elm Street, Cambridge, 617-821-5884, There are group classes in different kinds of Brazilian dance throughout the week (starting at 7 p.m.), including samba, forro, and zouk.

 Boston and its suburbs are dotted with Brazilian steakhouses, known as churrascarias, where servers roam with giant skewers of meat that they carve for you table-side. The Midwest Grill (1124 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-354-7536, is a longstanding favorite and a good place to fill up before an evening on the town.

 The focus isn’t on Brazilian music per se, but Clandestino ( is a lively late-night Latin dance party where you’ll hear all sorts of rock en espanol. DJ Christian Hinojosa says he peppers his sets with the occasional Brazilian band, such as Os Mutantes, CSS, and Curumin. The next installment is February 23 at Tommy Doyle’s (96 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, 617-864-0655).




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Consider skipping breakfast or keeping it to a cup of coffee. You’ll need room for the lunch feast that awaits at Oliveira’s. The East Boston outpost (297 Chelsea Street, 617-561-7277,; there are Somerville and Peabody restaurants, too) is intimate and charmingly no-frills. Head to the buffet and load up your plate with rice, beans, and veggies, and then drop by the rotisserie station in the back for meats roasting on skewers. Take your plate to the counter to pay by weight. It’s a steal: $6.99 a pound.  

You’ll use those calories at The Dance Complex (536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-547-9363,, which offers three Brazilian dance classes most Saturdays, including samba and two types of capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian art that combines music, dance, acrobatics, and martial arts. Remember: It’s all in the hips.

 For an upscale night out, join the throngs that routinely pack hot spot Fogo de Chao (200 Dartmouth Street, Boston, 617-585-6300,, a popular chain restaurant that recently opened in Copley Square. The dining room’s vast salad bar is lined with nearly 50 items, but take a seat at the bar and try one of the 12 varieties of caipirinhas, the classic Brazilian libation made with cachaca, sugar, and limes.


Geoff Hargadon
Check out the Os Gemeos mural in Dewey Square.



Brazilian breakfast is usually simple: coffee with bread. At Padaria Brasil Bakery (125 Harvard Avenue, Allston, 617-202-6783,, go for the pao de queijo (savory cheese bread), or feed your sweet tooth with some of the colorful pastries.

At home and abroad, Brazilians love soccer. When the motherland is playing, head to Braza Bar & Grill (158 School Street, Everett, 617-544-3772,; game schedules are posted on, where a full house packs the place on game days.

Their exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art ended in November, but the Brazilian graffiti artists known as Os Gemeos left their mark on Boston. They painted a massive mural of a masked character that still stands at Dewey Square and is worth a visit.

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