Sabor to the core
A surfer since he was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ricardo Malia moved to Santa Cruz in 2011 to learn English and ride the waves. He set his eyes on the restaurant industry, to serve the Brazilian food he grew up eating. He and his family served inside Woodhouse Brewery in 2021, and they were such a hit that they were able to open Sampa Brazilian Food in June.
It’s open every day from 11am (close 4pm Mon-Thurs, 9pm Fri/Sat, 7pm Sun). Ricardo defines the menu as a blend of traditional and street Brazilian favorites. A flagship entrée is the picanha, a very traditional high-quality top-cut sirloin steak, chargrilled and served with rice, beans and farofa (fried yucca flower with bacon, oil and onions). Then there’s the feijoada, a black bean stew with sausage, bacon, dried meats and collard greens. They also offer a vegan version of this dish, as well as a tofu moqueca, a vegetarian tomato broth stew with veggies and coconut milk.
How would you define Brazilian food?
RICARDO MALIA: A mix of flavors because Brazilian food has diverse influences. People from many other cultures came to Brazil over the centuries and integrated their cuisines. European cuisines like Italian, Portuguese and Spanish mix in, but there are also African and Indigenous influences as well. Brazilian food has really rich and deep, developed flavors that come together to bring a really unique culinary experience.
How do Santa Cruz and São Paulo compare?
They are really different. Sao Paulo is one of the biggest cities in the world, and has big city problems like poverty, violence and traffic. But Santa Cruz is a small town with a big community. My family and I love Santa Cruz, and so we decided to make our lives here. To have the beach and the connection to the ocean, combined with such a great community makes Santa Cruz a very special place to live.
841 North Branciforte Avenue, Santa Cruz; sampabrazilianfood.com