Get into the Brazilian spirit

10 places to warm up for the 2014 Fifa World Cup

Get into the Brazilian spirit

We've still got a few weeks to go before the 2014 Fifa World Cup kicks off on June 12 in São Paulo, with the first match being between Brazil and Croatia. The host country might be seriously unprepared – reportedly half of the 12 stadiums being built have missed their completion deadlines – but that doesn't mean we have to be too. What better way to get into the Brazilian spirit than to eat, drink, dance and breathe everything South American in the run up to the games.

Vila do Samba Studio

Tokyoites wanting to learn how to dance to funky Brazilian tunes flock to Tsubasa Miyoshi's Vila do Samba, a full-fledged samba studio offering classes for everyone from absolute beginners to long-time enthusiasts. This Mejiro studio, also known as Flow Jojony, is the home base where classes take place in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – check out the full schedule on their website (in Japanese only, unfortunately). They also sell samba equipment like dresses, shoes and instruments, and ship nationwide.
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Cafe do Brasil

The unassuming downtown neighbourhood of Tateishi might look like an unlikely spot for a Brazilian café and bar like this, but the surrounding area (along with nearby Adachi) is actually home to a large portion of Tokyo's Brazuca population. The bar itself serves a muddled menu of authentic Brazilian dishes and standard izakaya grub, along with drinks like beer, caipirinhas and 'Braz-balls' (not very different from a regular highball). Frequented by locals looking for a cheap drink without having to resort to the chain izakayas, this one does merit a visit if you're already in the area.
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El Sur Records

Planning a Mexican-themed party but lacking the playlist to match your piñata? Add a little Jose Antonio Mendez to your CD selection courtesy of El Sur Records. A dreary apartment complex near Shibuya Station provides the unlikely setting for this impressively stocked world music shop, where the jumbled CD racks teem with imported CDs from South America, Asia and Africa.
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Café Paulista

This Brazilian-themed Ginza establishment was founded back in the early 1900s, making it one of the oldest coffee shops in Japan, and was apparently a favourite haunt of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The all-natural beans are imported directly from Brazil, keeping blend coffee prices down to ¥498, a bargain for the area. Low leather seats, plants and wall engravings catch the eye amid a general brown-and-green motif.
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Mundo Latino

This Colombian-run store specialises in imported foods from across South America, including Colombia (natch), Chile, Brazil, Peru and many more. Start out at the fruit and veg aisle, where you'll find plantains and small, yellow Andean potatoes, then move on to the range of chilled items, such as queso fresco and dulce de leche. Chicken- and beef-stuffed breads and pastries, tortilla, tacos and various other frozen foods make for quick and easy meals, while the selection of fruit purées (made from mora, mango, aҫai and other tropical fruits) would be a delicious addition to any cocktail.
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Barbacoa Grill

With the original Barbacoa Grill actually located in Sao Paulo, Brazil (and some of the staff from the original branch even coming over here to work in Tokyo), this is the real deal. The authentic churrascaria restaurant serves chunky, crispy, barbecued meat (about 17 varieties) as part of an all-you-can-eat buffet that includes a fresh veg and salad bar - all for ¥4,800. Pair your meal with a refreshing caipirinha cocktail and enjoy the spontaneous salsa show that adds to the already festive atmosphere.
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Rio Grande Grill Roppongi

Tokyo restaurateurs have realised that Roppongi is unquestionably the best place to open new and ambitious meat eateries. This Brazilian-style churrascaria is the latest opening, having just swung its doors open in April 2014, and intends to attract carnivores with high-grade product, rodízio service (the waiters slice meat from a skewer directly onto your plate) and the obligatory samba performances. We're already raring to go.
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Brazilian 'convenience truck'

Make your way to the Brazilian embassy in Kita-Aoyama on a Thursday if you want to catch this convenient truck selling food, daily necessities, fun knick-knacks and other items that help Tokyo’s Brazilians stay stocked up on familiar products while far from home. Almost everything here is Brazilian-made, including the pork and the chicken, while Portuguese-language magazines are available by the dozens.
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This Nishi-Ogikubo Brazilian-themed community space features workshops, Portuguese classes, talks or other events almost every single night, Aparecida serves Tokyo's Brazilians and anyone interested in the culture and lifestyle of the land of samba. You won't find any beer on tap here, but more than 20 kinds of cachaça (a rum-like, sugarcane-based liquor) and tropical juices are available, along with edibles like feijoada stew and linguiça sausages. Remember to check out the records, books and other Brazilian products on sale too.
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Praça Onze

Catch a bossa nova, soul or samba gig at this casual basement bar and live house, located just a few minutes from Omotesando Station but boasting an atmosphere that'll make you forget you're in Tokyo. There's someone playing here almost every night, with performers ranging from local artists to visiting Brazilian greats. The drink menu includes the obligatory caipirinhas and caipiroskas, but also a nice variety of cachaças and fruit juices.
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By Time Out Tokyo Editors
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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