Brazil comes to Barcelona in the form of a hidden treasure – La Carioca. This hip little joint is quickly becoming one of the hottest new brunch venues in the trendy Barceloneta neighbourhood. And that's because La Carioca has a significant claim to fame – it's Europe's first authentic tapioqueria. With a distinctive Brazilian flavour, tapioca is the signature touch in a menu that is healthy, gluten-free, and has all sorts of vegan and vegetarian options. So get a dose of Brazilian sunshine into your diet today.
La Carioca's menu is based on organic, seasonal and local ingredients – nothing but the best will be hitting your plate here.
As far as brunch goes, you're spoilt for options that will kick start your day with a boatload of nutrition. There's the classic and creamy Eggs Benedict, but we love the vegan-friendly Avocado Toast to start our morning off with a bang – it comes with sweet cherry tomatoes, peppery arugula, sesame seeds and chia. And you'll also find another Brazilia superstar tucked away in their açai bowls of homemade granola – the superfood açai berry.
The word carioca refers to anything from the city of Rio de Janeiro – and in this part of the world, the virtues of tapioca are well known. It's been a fixture of the indigenous Brazilian diet for thousands of years, and is still used in everything from butter, cheese and bacon to chocolate, fruits and condensed milk.
Tapioca is a type of starch that comes from the native Brazilian root vegetable yuca – which is dried to a powdery extract and then produced into tapioca powder, flakes, sticks, or pearls. Tapioca flour is so versatile it can be used in all sorts of doughy goodies – pancakes, bread, wraps – but it's most commonly used to whip up crepes that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
La Carioca's tapioca offering shows off all that this super versatile ingredient can do. They use gluten-free tapioca flour in a range of homemade tapioca pancakes with an impressive spectrum of toppings.
The two most popular are the Homemade Tapioca Pancakes with fresh banana, dulce de guayaba, strawberry jam, earthy chia and chocolate coco. If you've got a sweet tooth, there's a dreamy caramel version subbing in banana, sweetened milk and coco for you.
But if you want a savoury hit, there's plenty of options – we love their crepe selection. Try the Brazil Tapioca, with dry meat, fried banana, Dutch gouda cheese and fresh tomato. While the Carioca comes with cooked chicken campero, sweet corn and mango sauce, the Pizza Pepperoni is another favourite – here gouda and mozzarella are met with fiery pepperoni and fresh tomato to make this crepe a rival to pizza itself.