Friday, April 4, 2008

Malagueta - A Different Kind of Brazilian

Malagueta - 25-35 36th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106
N/W Train to 36th Avenue

I was excited to try Malagueta because it offers a side of Brazilian cuisine than I'm not used to. Instead of serving predominantly beef and sausage dishes, it presents a lot of delicious seafood options. Don't get me wrong, I love my Churrascaria as much as the next girl but it was nice to switch it up a bit.

Simplicity and elegance envelop you upon entering Malagueta but not so much that you feel intimidated. In fact, the decor is very lived-in and cozy. The walls are painted in rich tones with colorful artwork that's cheery and the tables and chairs are simple and comfortable. In fact, comfort and family seem to be the running themes here. From the friendly waitstaff to the laid-back patrons, Malagueta is only a short step away from your own dining room.

As I mentioned, Malagueta has some neat surprises up their sleeves when it comes to food. Their seafood is excellent and flavored with such care that you feel privileged to eat it. The menu choices are plentiful and the portions do not disappoint. Be prepared to be satiated but not to the point where you can't breathe. Here's a sampling of my dinner with Kimberly:

Linguica Grelhada Com Mandioca: AKA grilled Brazilian sausage with fried yucca and spicy mayonnaise. This was our appetizer but it looked--and felt--like a full meal. There were plenty of sausage slices for the both of us and the fried yucca was a much tastier alternative to French Fries. In fact, this whole dish reminded me of the festive Peruvian street food, Salchipapas. Our favorite part was the mayo, which was super garlicky and herby.

Moqueca De Camarao: This is Malagueta's most famous dish, consisting of a shrimp stew, palm oil, onions, peppers, coconut milk and cilantro, served with rice. Kimberly ordered this and she loved both its taste and its festive presentation. The jumbo shrimp happily revolved around the mound of rice topped with a pretty fringed scallion. The best part about it was the seasoning and the delicious coconut milk sauce that the shrimp floated on. It was fun to scoop up a generous forkful of all ingredients--simply a dream for the senses!

Corvina Com Vatapa: This was also a fish dish, which included roasted fillet of Pollock served with Vatapa (a spicy cream of fish, bread, dried shrimp, palm oil, cashews) and shrimp sauce. I've never tasted anything like it. The fish was super light and so flaky. Now the Vatapa is what did it for me. It tasted like shrimp mashed potatoes--the essence of shrimp was there but not overpowering. And since the fish rested on the Vatapa, it gave the illusion that there was less of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a big mound of Vatapa waiting for me after I devoured my Pollock--nice touch Malagueta.

Pudim De Leite: Flan! No explanation needed except to say that this was the real thing. No soggy custard here, this one had rich substance and impeccable flavor. It looks pretty small on the picture and even appeared so in real life, but once we dug in, it's luxuriousness was so impactful that we slowed down quickly. It was truly the right way to end our meal.

Service and Cost:
Our waitress was friendly and the menu seemed almost second nature to her. I suspect that she's part of the Malagueta family because she looked comfortable in her surroundings and projected a family hospitality onto us. I liked her immediately and she served us well throughout our dinner--dishes came out quickly and we did not feel rushed in the least.

The prices here are hands down unbelievable--as in cheap! The appetizers are large and generally go for $7-$8. All entrees are under $18 and dessert is $4. I was especially impressed because the quality of the food is incredible and the dishes are presented in a gourmet fashion.

3 very loud Mmmms


  1. I cannot believe that, after almost 4 years of living in Astoria, this is the first time I tried Malagueta! All I can say is--GO! It was delicious! Foodista nailed the review; the dishes literally exploded with flavor without being too heavy, and the value was incredible. We also enjoyed our wine. I can't wait to go back. This dinner could have easily cost twice as much in the city (and I would probably be willing to pay that considering how good it was).

  2. i adore this place even though its been a couple of years since i've been. its the closest thing to homemade i've had in ny. i might have to go back soon- even if its just for the farofa! yum



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