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Restaurant Review: Muqueca in Cambridge

Oi! As some of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, I recently took a Portuguese Class at the Boston Center for Adult Education with a group of co-workers. We were interested in learning how to speak this language that’s becoming so prevalent in our region, both to make us better at our jobs and to be able to interact with the many people moving to¬†Boston from Brazil, Portugal, the Azores, Cape Verde and beyond. It was a great class and I’m eager to keep learning.

To cap off our last class together, we hit Muqueca Restaurant in Cambridge’s Inman Square (where my roommates and I used to live just before I got married). I never made it to any of the Brazilian or Portuguese restaurants in the square, if you can believe it, because there are SO many amazing restaurants to try on and around Cambridge Street! If you’re in the area, even as an out-of-town visitor, Muqueca should be on your list.


So what did we eat? We did what I suspect most groups do — they split a slew of appetizers, moquecas (their signature dish) & mariscadas topped off by drinks and desserts (because they’re inexpensive and really good).

Appetizers

For starters: calamari in passion fruit sauce.

Coconut shrimp.

Brazilian crab cake.

Drinks

Brazilian cocktail; brandy and fruit in a snifter. Delicious.

And the price is right.

Entrees

Feijoada completa, the Brazilian national dish. I didn't eat this and you'll see why: it's a black bean stew with fresh & dried meat, including pork, sausage & bacon. It is served with a side of collard greens, fried plantain, farofa & orange (I did eat that stuff).

Since everyone shares, the foundation of your plate is the rice, which sops up the juices from the moqueca and mariscada.

The Mariscada! Shrimp, crabmeat, mussels & squid with cilantro, tomato, onion & coconut milk. Served with rice, farofa & plantain moqueca.

Plantain moqueca. YUM.

Dessert

Mango Mousse -- light and just sweet enough. You could also get passion fruit flavor (next time!)

Flan (delicious).

Muqueca has authentic Brazilian fare in a festive yet relaxing atmosphere. Great for groups, it would make an excellent choice for your next birthday celebration or any other special occasion.

THE DETAILS

Muqueca Brazilian Restaurant: 1008 Cambridge Street, Inman Square, Cambridge.

  • Phone: 617-354-3296
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tues-Fri, Noon to 9:30 Sundays (closed Mondays)
  • Ordering online: Yes, at mixmenu.com
  • Accepts reservations: Yes, by phone
  • Accepts credit cards: Yes
  • Parking: Yes, on street (metered) and in nearby municipal lots at night
  • Transit accessible: Yes, via the Red and Green lines, as well as bus
  • Kids Menu: Yes
  • Veg Friendly: Not really; more like pescatarian-friendly

Browse the menu here. Connect with Muqueca on Facebook, Yelp and Orkut.

 ***

If you’re visiting Cambridge, Inman Square is the place to be. It’s a little less crowded than Harvard and Porter squares, but it still boasts plenty of cute stores, coffee shops, ice cream places and restaurants, along with more parking options (and just as many hipsters as the rest of Cambridge). It’s a 10 minute walk north from Central Square, or a 15-minute walk from Lechmere Station on the Green Line in East Cambridge.

Going to Inman? Don’t miss:

  • Muqueca, of course, as well as Midwest Grille for authentic Brazilian BBQ.
  • Ryles Jazz Club (they do a mean brunch with live music on Sundays)
  • 1369 Coffee House (located, very helpfully, at 1369 Cambridge St.)
  • Ole Mexican Grill (this place is UNREAL — guacamole made fresh at your table-side and sangria to die for).
  • The S&S Restaurant & Deli — this place has been around forever, and for a good reason. It is one of my favorite places to meet for breakfast or lunch, and the desserts are not to be missed.
  • East Coast Grill — Consistently rated one of the best places for fresh seafood and BBQ. Don’t miss “hell night!”
  • Bukowski Taverngreat beer selection, awesome burgers & snacks, super hipster vibe.
  • All-Star Sandwich Barhands down the best sandwich shop around.
  • Christina’s Ice Cream (& spice store next door) — this is my favorite ice cream place in the entire Boston area, with Toscanini’s in Central a VERY close favorite (and I know my ice cream). 50 flavors, including fresh rose, honey lavender, coconut butterfinger, ginger molasses, pumpkin, adzuki bean, lychee sorbet…I could go on and on.

There’s something for everyone!

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