When you walk into Moqueca you are taken back to a tropical paradise with the smells of Brazilian home cooking. Moqueca means stew; the only reason to come here is to taste this glorious comfort food stew. I didn’t fool around; I ordered my favorite thing to put in my stew, lobster. All I can say is WOW!
The traditional cuisine of Espirito Santo’s State is closely related to its place, history, climate and economy. Espirito Santo is a small Brazilian state, located in the east portion of the southeast region of the country. Its coast has 250 miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean’s beaches and rich forests. The weather is wet and tropical. The people are friendly and kind; they are known as “CAPIXABAS”. Vitoria, the State’s capital, is an island surrounded by beaches and mangrove swamp.
The most famous dish of Espirito Santo’s State is the “moqueca Capixaba”. Symbol of its regional cuisine and appreciated everywhere, the moqueca is known for its unique way of cooking and serving. The name “moqueca” designates exactly this way of preparation which is using a clay pot to cook the seafood and vegetables with no addition of water. The ingredients include the fish (or other seafood), onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, “urucum”, and “malagueta” pepper.
The moqueca is served on the same clay pot it was cooked, with the sides of white rice and “pirao”, a thick broth made from the moqueca and yucca flour. This unique version of the dish is a combination from the ancestries of both “sarcinelli” and “Reis” families.
Here’s What I Tried:
Carnaval – Leblon Cachaça, with pineapple juice and orange juice. This is a very drinkable cocktail; it makes you feel like you’re relaxing on a tropical island.
Acai Caipirinha “The Amazon Berry Cocktail”- Limes with a touch of fine sugar, Leblon Cachaça and Cedilla Acai liqueur. A bit on the strong side, but a very popular drink in Brazil.
Lula Frita – Tender calamari rings lightly seasoned, deep fried and served with tartar sauce. These little darlings are cooked to perfection, with a great pungent tartar sauce.
Capa Santa Gratinada – Seasoned scallops in half shells crusted with Parmesan cheese and oven baked. This appetizer is a real delight; they are served in the shell and have the most fragrant flavor.
Coxinhas – Chicken filled turnover deep-fried and served with malgueta sauce. All I can say about these are interesting, but delicious.
Clay Pot Dishes:
Moqueca De Lagosta- Lobster Tails Moqueca – cooked in a clay pot with tomatoes, cilantro, coconut milk, onions and furculum essence, thickened with yucca cream. Served with a side of white rice. Ok, hands down the best thing on the menu. This is really fantastic. The lobster is tender and flavorful, 2 huge tails are served, and the stew just melts in your mouth.
Picanha Grelhada – Brazilian steak (10 oz. top sirloin cap C.A.B.) seasoned in rock salt, grilled and served with white rice, black beans and fried yucca. A good cut of meat with great seasoning makes for one wonderful entrée item.
Banana Frita – fried plantains. I just love these, they are sweet and crispy. A great side dish with all of the entrees.
Mandioca frita – Brazilian yucca fries. These were just ok, not something I would ever order again. They are like French fries but with out the great potato flavor.
Couve refogado – Sauteed collard greens. Another terrific side dish and very healthy.
Pudim De Caramelo – Brazilian caramel flan. A great way to end my remarkable meal.
Pave De Amendoim – Homemade chocolate-peanut cream layered with milk cookies. This dessert will blow your hair back, it is just that good!
Chardonnay, Wente Vineyards, “Riva Ranch Reserve”, Arroyo Seco, CA. A nice well-balanced wine, it paired nicely with the lobster, of course!!
Zinfandel, Ravenswood, “Old Vine”, Lodi, CA. This wine has many berry flavors and is rich and perfect. Zinfandel and steak is always my go to.
Our server James Ramirez used to work at The Yard House, and was born in Ventura. He made my experience very nice with his charming demeanor.
Moqueca opened 10 years ago in 2008; its past incarnation was Sea Fresh Sushi. Fraught with bad luck the building burned 10-15 years ago. Since Moqueca has been there all of that has changed. Every customer leaves happy and the reviews of Moqueca have all been stellar. With a sister restaurant in Thousand Oaks, you don’t have to drive all the way to Oxnard. 1610 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite J. – Thousand Oaks, CA 91632. – +1-805-230-3585
The décor is very tropical, with some great art pieces. There is an enclosed patio. A huge plus, you can see the sunset from the dining room. The music adds to the overall ambiance, with samba, and Brazil 66 playing in the background.
At Moqueca you will experience the true flavors of Brazil, with all of the authentic, colorful, spicy cuisine. Your taste buds will light up for the whole experience. This is great Brazilian food with all of the bells and whistles.
Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine
3550 S. Harbor Blvd.
* Note some content was taken off of their website.