Fried Puffs of Heaven

Smart Coffee BR, in Richmond, is the best Brazilian snack shop in the Bay Area, says rworange, largely on the strength of its fried-to-order sweet and savory pastries with a range of 24 fillings: "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful."

You can mix and match fillings for these flaky pillows known as pasteles, or go with one of the six specialty versions. Chicken, corn, and catupiry (a mild, creamy Brazilian cheese) make a nice combo. Don't be deceived by the creamy pink sauce—that's the housemade habanero cream sauce, delish but hotter 'n' Hades. Other filling options include shrimp (camarao), beef, olives, ham, and palm; there are also dessert-y pasteles of guava, banana, dulce de leche, or pineapple.

There are other baked goods made in-house, like the moist and flavorful mané pelado, a yucca-coconut cake that's "like one of the best coconut macaroons I've ever had," rworange says. A sonho is a fat doughnut sliced in half and filled with dulce de leche that somehow it manages to avoid being cloyingly sweet.

There's also caldo verde and a rich, intensively flavored chicken soup; sandwiches and salads; and Brazilian shakes.

Smart Coffee BR [East Bay]
4820 Bissell Avenue, Richmond
510-237-1778

Discuss: Richmond: Smart Coffee BR / A Taste of Brazil – Over 30 fabulous pasteles, outstanding soup, sonho (donut), x-tudos and more