Amid the gritty brownstones and the urban hum of Brooklyn, a culinary oasis beckons those in search of authentic Brazilian flavors blended with healthful, vegetarian touches. Enter Pitanga – where tradition marries innovation, creating a gastronomic experience that’s uniquely New York, yet quintessentially Brazilian.
The journey of Pitanga begins with its founder, Raquel Furtado. Hailing from Pantanal, a verdant tropical region in Brazil, Raquel’s culinary roots trace back to her childhood where she was surrounded by medicinal plants, vibrant herbs, and nature’s bountiful superfoods. These early interactions imbibed in her a reverence for natural, nourishing ingredients, which would later play a pivotal role in her culinary pursuits.
After relocating to New York, life presented Raquel with challenges that pushed her to reassess her relationship with nutrition. Stricken by illness and driven by a relentless spirit, she began to craft recipes that drew inspiration from her Brazilian heritage. Each dish, infused with memories of home, became a testament to nature’s healing powers.
However, it was her candid story shared on Kickstarter that truly resonated with many. The community, recognizing the value of her vision, rallied behind her. And thus, in 2015, with a swathe of grassroots support, Pitanga sprouted in Brooklyn. A cafe boasting 100% vegetarian, organic, and all-natural offerings that, in just half a decade, has garnered a reputation for its unwavering commitment to quality, consistent flavor, and a genuine Brazilian touch.
Every breakfast dish at Pitanga is a symphony of flavors. The grain-free breakfast, with its meld of avocado slices, healing turmeric shavings, and an array of fresh fruits, is a testament to Raquel’s dedication to healthful yet delicious offerings. And for those with a penchant for classic breakfast dishes, the house-made gluten-free granola or oatmeal, topped with an assortment of berries, offers a comforting start to the day.
Yet, breakfast is just the prelude. The lunch menu sings with dishes like the Brazilian breakfast – a hearty plate of slow-cooked black beans, baked egg, and the unmistakable pao de queijo. The avocado toasts, available in various iterations, are an ode to simplicity, allowing the freshness of the ingredients to shine. And for those in search of heartier offerings, the menu delights with options like the Portobello “Steak” Sandwich or the veggie burger, each dish echoing Raquel’s philosophy of fresh, flavorful, and healthful eating.
However, no meal is complete without Pitanga’s wraps and savory bowls. The breakfast burrito and the ginger tofu burrito meld traditional ingredients in innovative ways. The rice, bean, and soul bowl, as well as the super quinoa bowl, stand out as testimony to the restaurant’s ability to create dishes that resonate both with vegans and non-vegans alike.
Rounding off the menu are salads, where every ingredient plays a symphonic role. The kale caesar salad, brimming with organic kale and avocado, is tossed with house-made cashew caesar dressing, adding a delightful creamy texture.
Behind every dish, every ingredient, and every sip of coffee at Pitanga, lies Raquel’s belief in the transformative power of food. Born in Brazil and made in Brooklyn, Pitanga isn’t just a cafe; it’s a culinary canvas where every dish tells a story, each ingredient has a purpose, and the experience is nothing short of memorable.
Author: Sarah Brown