By Melanie Galarce
Ofa (1929 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach) is a local eatery with outdoor seating and a full bar, serving contemporary Brazilian cuisine. Located in the popular Sunset Harbour neighborhood, its modern and funky decor is reminiscent of the cool, relaxed vibes of Rio de Janeiro. Similarly, the Ofa menu offers an eclectic take on Brazilian cuisine that’s far beyond the steakhouse parillada that you might be accustomed to.
Menu highlights: Like any good Brazilian meal, I kicked off the experience with Pão de Queijo, which are tiny pieces of homemade traditional Brazilian cheese bread served wth Brazilian cheese spread (requeijao) that puts our American bread selection to utter shame. I honestly can’t think of a better way to kick off any meal than with cheese and bread. Ofa’s rendition of Pão de Queijo is brought to the table steamy and soft, making for an even more perfect experience.
Although I’ve had Pão de Queijo plenty of times in my 33 years, it was my first time indulging in the Pernil na Latinha, a dish of slow-cooked pork leg with orange sauce served with house bread. The delicious sauté in which the pork leg was cooked makes for the perfect dipping sauce to soak the accompanying bread, and its strong vegetable flavors make it almost impossible not absorb the sauce in its entirety.
Standout dishes: Offerings like the Picadinho are the kind that make Ofa such a special place. The dish brings small cubes of filet mignon cooked in a tasty meat sauce served with baked plantains, bacon farofa, and crispy kale on a bed of short brown rice. All topped with a sunny side fried egg. It’s a dish that has a lot going on, but it all seems to come perfectly together. You have the really strong flavors of the filet mignon and bacon, but the kale and the brown rice all seem play a great supporting role in making a well-synchronized dish. It’s the kind of meal that will leave you fully satisfied, but won’t necessarily make you feel guilty about, which is always a win in my book.
And, if you have a sweet tooth, you will not want to pass on trying Ofa’s rendition of the very popular Brazilian dessert, the Brigadeiro (traditional Brazilian chocolate truffles). These, in particular, were milk and dark chocolate flavored and I could have easily eaten a whole box of the thick and rich chocolate delicacies.
Are we boozing? This is a Brazilian restaurant and we are definitely indulging in all sorts of traditional cocktails. Expect to consume signature Brazilian drinks like Caipirinhas and Rabo de Galo, but can also enjoy an extensive list of beer and wine if you’re keeping things low-key. Mocktails are also available and delicious (particularly the grape drink rendition shown below).
Check this place out if you like: Local favorites like Fogo de Chão where you can enjoy authentic Brazilian cuisine and feel like you’ve been transported to this incredible country.
Mel’s take: I loved the hospitality at this place. Everyone was warm and inviting and it gave me major nostalgia to the days where I used to travel to Brazil for business. Apart from the incredible service, the food had that unmistakable Brazilian flair that keeps you coming back for more. The dishes were a mix of old and new with generous portions and innovative twists. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for date night at a place that will move you outside your culinary comfort zone.