Photos courtesy Nossa Caipirinha Bar

Dish By DishLos Angeles

How Nossa Caipirinha Bar Is Making Its Mark on Brazilian Food, in Five Dishes


Last Word Hospitality, the hitmakers behind Found Oyster and Queen Street have mastered the art of effortlessly cool yet sought-after neighborhood restaurants. One of their more recent entries, Nossa Caipirinha Bar in Los Feliz, specializes in all things Brazilian, including stellar ceviches, five varieties of their namesake cocktail, and plenty of red meat, naturally. It’s flown a tad under the radar, but Nossa is a perfect spot for casual dinner dates, drinks, patio hangs … and just about everything in between. 

Owner John Borghetti and his son Xandre have operated a Brazilian restaurant in the same Hillhurst address for some 15 years, and rebranded the space as Nossa in 2021. The following year, Last Word stepped in as partners and the menu and concept got another refresh, courtesy of executive chef Rory Cameron and bar leads Shannon Inouye (Imperial Western Beer Co.) and Steven Zakarian (All Season Brewing Co.). 

Brazilian food is still relatively underrepresented in Los Angeles, and is often dominated by churrasco-style steak houses. While Nossa Caipirinha Bar could be considered a steakhouse in its own right (the chef describes it as a cross between American and Brazilian in style), the current menu is an amalgamation of favorites from the original Nossa menu, and some new additions courtesy of the Last Word team. There’s also an extensive selection of seafood dishes, tapping into Cameron’s experience at Found Oyster and the Borghettis’ Southern Brazilian roots, in which ceviches, moquecas (seafood stews), and crudos feature prominently. 

We sat down with both Cameron and Inouye to run through the five essential dishes that represent how the team at Nossa is making their mark on Brazilian fare in L.A. 

The full caipirinha lineup, including the Tropical (front left).
The full caipirinha lineup, including the Tropical (front left).

Caipirinha Tropical 

“At most places, the cachaça is the dusty bottle that sits on the back of a shelf,” jokes Inouye about the main ingredient in the classic cocktail. Along with Zakarian, he created the drinks menu, which offers five takes on the iconic Brazilian beverage. The Tropical rendition is the most colorful of the bunch. “This one starts with the classic base: muddled lime, sugar, and cachaça, but then we have the added element of passionfruit and Salers, a French gentian root aperitif. This is probably the prettiest one of all of them,” he notes. Looking at the rainbow-colored final product, we’d have to agree: it’s the Tequila Sunrise of all the caipirinhas. The combination of the sweet and tart caipirinha base with the bitter aperitif and floral passionfruit makes for an unforgettable way to start (or end) a meal here.

Kampachi Crudo 

“This is a little homage to my seafood-centric background,” says Cameron. This dish features kampachi sourced from Hawaii, adorned with biquinho peppers, minced shallot, and cilantro amid a leche de tigre sauce spiked with a vibrant annatto oil. “The dish came about from just riffing with the other guys in the back. We use the achiote oil to give it a nice red color,” he adds. To make the leche de tigre (a traditional South America ceviche marinade), Cameron combines coconut milk, lime juice, and one special ingredient from the bar: “We use the ginger-honey syrup from the Remedio drink, which is an agave distillate version of a Penicillin.” The result is a tender, tart, and creamy bite of amberjack, a lightweight and delicious prologue for the heartier dishes to come.

Various xixa (skewers) including sausage and eggplant.
Various xixa (skewers) including sausage and eggplant.

Linguiça Xixo

Brazilian xixo, a.k.a. skewers, are a popular street food eaten all throughout the country. Nossa’s version utilizes another very Brazilian item: linguiça sausage. “According to Xandre, the name comes from ‘shish kabob’ and they shortened it to ‘xixo,’” says Cameron. “They do it with all kinds of meats in Brazil, but I just wanted to put a sausage on the menu,” he says. “My background is in seafood, but [Brazil is] a very meat-heavy country. We make the linguiça in-house using the trimmings we have from the steak or the pork from the feijoadas, along with smoked paprika and red wine,” he says. (There’s also cayenne, fennel, salt and pepper, garlic, and fresh parsley in the mix for good measure.) Plated, the linguiça comes with farofa (toasted cassava) and a bright green chimichurri sauce, made with fresh herbs and two types of vinegar — distilled and white wine — and a little Dijon mustard for an extra kick.

Prawn Moqueca Baiana 

Moqueca, a quintessential seafood stew, is eaten all over Brazil and there is some regional variation in terms of what makes it into the pot. But for Cameron, the inspiration here came from the OG Nossa menu and working with the Borghettis. “He grew up on moqueca and really wanted it on the menu. Typically in Brazil it’s made with a mix of different seafood, maybe prawns, octopus, fish, and more. But we simplified it a bit here to [highlight] head-on prawns from British Columbia.” While the traditional accompaniment is white rice, Cameron’s version calls for coconut rice instead. “I use carnaroli rice which is similar to arborio. I’m basically making coconut risotto, I just don’t tell anyone,” Cameron says with a laugh. “To make the sauce, we use Mae Ploy yellow Thai curry paste and cook it with palm oil, which creates the distinguishing flavor in moqueca — it kind of coats the mouth,” he says. That base is mixed with coconut milk, red bell peppers, and tomatoes, to create a spicy, savory, peppery stew that’s balanced by the creamy coconut rice on the side. 

Picanha Steak Frites with Salsa Campanha 

The piece de resistance at Nossa is the steak frites, which draws inspiration from both the French classic and Brazilian cuisine by way of the cut of meat. “We use a kind of rump round steak which is unique to Brazil,” says Cameron. “I cook it on a plancha because grilling it is a lot of fun. It’s a very lean piece of meat with a fat cap on it, and I like it cooking in its own fat, so it gets a more even sear,” he says. This unusual steak comes from Cream Co. Meats in Oakland. “They’re quite an amazing company and the beef is from their British Baldies program,” says Cameron. These cows spend nearly two years on an open range pasture and are dry-aged for several weeks, resulting in a full, extra-beefy flavor even in lean meat. Salsa campanha is the pico de gallo equivalent in Brazil, only spicier. It combines Brazilian malagueta peppers, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and onion with a little Jerez sherry vinegar as well as fresh cilantro and mint. The finished product is served with — what else? — delightfully crispy French fries. 


Kelly Dobkin is an L.A.-based writer/editor and former New Yorker. She has contributed to Bon Appétit, Grub Street, Michelin, Here Magazine, and is a former editor at Thrillist, Zagat, and Eater. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Resy, too.