Earlier this month, Caboco became Los Angeles’ first modern Brazilian restaurant. Tucked away in downtown Art’s District, the eatery is helmed by chefs and business partners Rodrigo Oliveria and Victor Vasconcellos. The duo’s partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait marks their first restaurant outside of their native Brazil where they established the award-winning Mocotó and Balaio.
“The city looked so familiar to me, even though I had never been,” Oliveira said of the choice to set roots in L.A. after a 2017 trip. “It just felt right. I realized that we could bring something new to the scene, but we could also learn a lot from all of its incredible chefs...More than ever we need to celebrate life, diversity and cooperation, and this is what Caboco will be all about.”
Oliveira’s ascent in Brazil’s dining community began when he was a dishwasher. Alongside his father, Zé Almedia, Oliveira worked his way up to being a chef and elevated Mocotó from local pub to a dining destination. Staying true to his roots, he ignored global offers to expand. Instead, he recruited and trained inexperienced cooks from the local community and adventured into the upscale restaurant scene by opening Balaio. Recently, Oliviera established Quebrada Alimentada to combat hunger in the local community. The mostly self-financed organization has distributed approximately 80,000 meals.
“I used to say that I love to cook because I really love to eat, and for this reason, it was impossible not to fall in love with L.A.,” Vasconellos added about their introductory trip to the city. “The food trucks, great restaurants both big and small, the incredible chefs… it’s all so rich in flavor, diversity, and culture. We couldn’t be happier to join the fabric of this food scene.”
Caboco serves as a new way for Oliveira to bring his menu staples— like torresmo, dadinhos de tapioca and salgadinhos— to Los Angeles. But like any true innovator, a new restaurant means the opportunity for new dishes. Oliveira and Vaconcellos’ many years of collaboration have inspired menu items like a vegetarian moqueca de caju and a housemade carne de sol.
Along with infusing a taste of Brazil into L.A., Caboco is also home to Los Angeles first cachaça program and Caipirinha bar. Under the leadership of Marcus Ragas, the menu boasts a selection of Caipirinhas containing an array of fruits and international cocktails reimagined with cachaça, a spirit similar to rum.
Caboco is definitely worth the journey downtown, but in the meantime, Ragas revealed the recipe to the fruitful, zesty Karina Bonita. See below how to make your very own.
2 oz. Silver Cachaça
2 slices blood (or Valencia) orange
2 slices Meyer (or regular) lemon
2-3 ripe strawberries (sliced in quarters)
2-3 tbsp. of passion fruit pulp
2-3 tbsp. of cane sugar
1. Add all fruit and sugar into a pint glass and firmly muddle (5-6 times should be sufficient).
2. Add silver cachaça of choice (we recommend Novo Fogo).
3. Add ice and with a long spoon, stir up the fruit and sugar from the bottom of the glass to combine ingredients with the cachaça and ice. Add more ice, if desired.
4. Drink and enjoy! Vodka, sake or blanco tequila can also be used as substitutes for cachaça.
Visit Caboco at 1850 Industrial Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Photography by: DYLAN + JENI