I love coxinhas. If you don’t know what these are, it’s a savory Brazilian pastry that’s a small bundle of deep fried wonderfulness. The typical coxinha is made with a potatoe dough, filled with shredded chicken, and sometimes a creamy cheese, molded into a drumstick-ish format, and battered in breadcrumbs to be deep fried. In Portuguese, coxinha literally means, “a small thigh,” or, in this case, referring to the chicken filling, a small chicken drumstick. The best thing is – you can have coxinha with a beer, with a caipirinha, with a soda, or even with coffee!
And everywhere you go in Brazil, you can find coxinha! Many sign it off as street food, but I’d prefer to call it comfort food. Party food. Bar food. Or even café food!
And every particular city has their voted “best” coxinha in different bars, restaurants and café’s. Although most will say their favorite coxinha is made by someone in their family, if you don’t have the privilege of having vovó’s coxinhas, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to get coxinhas in 7 of Brazil’s top travel destinations for you.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Bar da Gema, Rua Barão de Mesquita, 615, Tijuca
Every Tuesday, this bar dedicates itself to making its famous coxinha da Luiza, the restaurant’s chef, who reportedly makes the best coxinha in the city. Their coxinha is creamier than most, made with extra milk, and served with a small cup of hot peppers.
Coxinha do Gago, Rua das Gaivotas, Imbuí
If you ask anyone in Salvador where to get the best coxinha, they’ll lead you to Gago. One of the best things about this coxinha is, there are tons of fillings! I’m a traditionalist and will always go with the chicken, but there’s a coxinha for everyone here, and many say the sun dried meat (carne seca) is the best!
Chopperia Kibelândia, Rua Victor Meirelles, 98 – Centro
Finding the best coxinha on this island was a difficult task. There were so many people calling so many different places the best place to get coxinhas in the world. But I finally came to a consensus with Kibelândia. Because the coxinha is excellent, and creamy, and the atmosphere is super cozy.
4. Foz do Iguaçú
Confeitaria Jauense, Av. Juscelino Kubitschek, 117
HANDS DOWN, a perfectly formed coxinha right in the center of Foz, mere meters away from Paraguay and Argentina, but still in Brazilian territory. Here you can order just one, or get them in bulk!
5. São Paulo
Veloso Bar, Rua Conceição Veloso, 54, Vila Mariana
Living in São Paulo, I’ve had my share of coxinhas here. But the one that always makes my eyes light up, is the coxinha at Veloso. It’s a typical neighborhood bar, but the lines that form outside, even before the doors open, usually mean two things: coxinha and caipirinhas. Here, the coxinhas come in batches of 6, for sharing (or not), and there’s a shrimp croquette that’s super similar, in case you don’t eat chicken. Oh, and to accommodate those who can’t make it to the bar, or can’t bear the queues (like me!), they now DELIVER #godsaveme.
Dois Corações, Rua Quinze de Novembro, 80 – Centro
This was a tough call, but I chose Dois Corações, because it’s been touted as having the best and most filling for a coxinha! And here, they have an option with catupiry cheese, or without, that comes with olives, which I love. An honorable mention in Curitiba, however, will also have to go to Casa da Coxinha, which has 14 different flavors of coxinha <3
If you don’t have a chance to come to Brazil in the near future, and would like to learn to make this exquisite street/party/bakery/everyday croquette, then head over to this recipe to make your own!
Balu Doces, Various Addresses in Meirelles, Sul and Aldeota
This is the most differently shaped coxinha on our list! It’s constantly been voted the best coxinha in Fortaleza for its size, and plentiful filling. Balu is also known for it’s coffee and sweets, so this is also one of those places on our list where you can get a decent coxinha and coffee, and some dessert to complete your new guilty pleasure!
What’s your favorite place to get coxinha?
And if you can’t make it to Brazil soon, but have been enticed by my musings, find a recipe here.