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NYC's Best Brazilian Restaurants

credit: Ipanema Restaurant / Facebook

Can't get to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics? No matter. New York boasts several terrific Brazilian restaurants, featuring traditional preparations and modern takes. Below are our five favorites. You'll feel as if you've left the city and landed in South America in no time. By Jessica Allen.

credit: Churrascaria Plataforma / Facebook

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At Churrascaria Plataforma, the meat comes to you— and it keeps right one coming and coming and coming, until you say stop (by flipping a chip.) This Midtown establishment is generally considered to be the city's best rodízio restaurant, an all-you-can-eat-style of serving various cuts of meat that began in Brazil in the 1800s. Your meal begins with a trip or two to the huge salad bar, featuring a lot more than just lettuce. Then waiters (known as passadores, or "meat cutters") come to your table bearing side orders like polenta, plantains, and cassava --followed by chicken, beef, lamb, and pork -- all carved tableside

credit: El Mate / Facebook

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From its welcoming, cozy outpost in Carroll Gardens, El Mate serves up platter after platter of specialties from Brazil and Argentina, including picanha na tabua completa (rump steak served with salsa criolla, collard greens, rice and black beans, chimichurri, seasoned tapioca flour known as farofa, purée de yucca and Brazilian-style flan. The housemade "coquetels" feature yerba mate spiked with vodka, brandy, or cachaça (Brazilian rum), while the sangria is another big draw.

credit: Emporium Brasil / Facebook

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Often called "Little Brazil," the strip of West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues has a bunch of Brazilian shops and restaurants, including Emporium Brasil. Begin your meal with fried yucca and sausage, a fried beef croquette, or a cheese empanada, then feast on acorn squash bursting with hearts of palm, catupiry cheese and shrimp --a specialty of the house. On Saturdays, there's a buffet featuring Brazil's national dish, feijoada (a black bean stew featuring pork and beef.)

credit: Garrett Ziegler

Start your meal at Favela Grill with a salgado, a homemade pastry bursting with your choice of cheese, codfish, shrimp, chicken, ground beef, bulgur, potato, or yucca -- then satisfy your inner carnivore with costela bam-bam (slowly roasted prime rib) or tutu à favela. The Astoria restaurant also makes a mean feijoada (a traditional Brazilian stew with meat and beans) -- so mean in fact, that it's usually offered as a special (generally on Saturdays). If you see it, order it!

credit: Ipanema Restaurant / Facebook

Named after the famous beach in Rio, Ipanema is something of a New York institution. Founded in 1979, the Little Brazil restaurant brings together Portuguese and Brazilian recipes and techniques. Delights abound, from Brazilian shrimp bisque to paelha, a hearty stew with saffron rice, clams, chicken, shrimp, mussels, scallops, and chouriço (Portuguese sausage), to vatapá, grilled monkfish and shrimp in a stew made with dende oil, hazelnuts, and spices. Another beloved dish is frango tropical -- chicken thigh with blueberries, pineapples and strawberries, in a mango and port wine sauce.

Jessica Allen writes about New York.
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