South America export Coco Bambu brings plenty of seafood options to Miami Beach

In September, Coco Bambu, an award-winning Brazilian seafood restaurant, sailed into Miami Beach with a plethora of land and sea dishes.

Founded by Afranio and Daniela Barreira, the Miami Beach space—inside a large, two-story art deco building on Alton Road—is the couple’s first U.S. location, joining 28 restaurants across South America. The Barreiras, who are partners in both business and life, say theirs is now the largest seafood restaurant in Miami Beach.

“Miami, and specifically Miami Beach, is a perfect blend and flow of multicultural tourists, businesses and locals,” managing partner Felipe Luna says. “Alton Road and 10th Street is also perfect visibility for locals and tourists.”

The restaurant draws inspiration from Brazil. It features tropical décor with neutral tones, wood furnishings, and gold and green accents, and it seats upward of 450 people. Private dining areas and a wine cellar with space for more than 2,500 bottles surround the main room.

It closely mirrors Coco Bambu’s Brazilian locations on the menu, too, with a wide variety of fish, meat and vegetable plates. Before opening, the kitchen and wait staffs traveled to Brazil for training in an effort to bring as much original flavor back to the United States.

The massive menu, with more than 100 items, boasts seemingly endless choices in the forms of shrimp, lobster, crab, gratins, steak and more. While most food and drink items match the Brazilian locations, Miami Beach offers some seasonal local flavors, including stone, king and snow crabs.

“Our large menu helps cater to different guests and gives them a reason to come back to the restaurant,” Luna says. “For those who get overwhelmed, our servers help diners better understand our dishes to make a decision.”

All of Coco Bambu’s dishes are designed to be served family-style, and many items can accommodate three to five people, depending on how hungry they are.

Standout dishes include savory puff pastries filled with shrimp, lobster, beef or cheese; a selection of gratins made with meat, shrimp or bananas; house-cured meat fries smothered in mozzarella and béchamel; and lobster tails served with creamy rice and mozzarella shoestring fries. 

Other offerings include a crab stew made with snow crab legs and white rice in coconut sauce; whole roasted snapper topped with white wine and garlic; seafood paella with shrimp, calamari, fish and mussels; lobster rolls and hamburgers.

The restaurant also offers vegetarian dishes, including eggplant lasagna, breaded and baked in tomato sauce with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; and ratatouille with red onions, zucchini and herbs.

During dinner, guests can pair plates with a caipirinha, a traditional Brazilian cocktail. Cocktail highlights include the Honolulu, mixed with strawberry, pineapple, lime, ginger and vodka; and the Tropicalia, a vodka drink with mango and passion fruit.

Dessert offerings include lime pie and lava cake with vanilla ice cream.

Luna says Coco Bambu plans to expand across the United States as well as to Dubai, in the Middle East. For now, though, plans for the next location remain private.

Coco Bambu

Location: 955 Alton Road, Miami Beach

Hours: Monday-Thursday, noon-2:30 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.; Friday, noon-2:30 p.m. and 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, noon-11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-10 p.m.

Contact: 786.348.0770; cocobambu.com