PART.ALTO is a casual place near the beach in Vitória, ES, Brazil. It´s a favorite of our dear friends, Luís and Sávio, with whom we recently stayed. Thank you both so much for hosting us in your beautiful home!
The dining is all open to the ocean breezes, the service is unrushed and the food is incredible! Heguiberto has been a fan of moqueca capixaba, a type of fish stew distinct to the state of Espírito Santo, for as long as I´ve known him. PART.ALTO has one of the best.
We only stayed in Vitória for three nights but managed to eat at this place twice. Both times it was the mid afternoon, so it was hot and humid. We had Bohemia in large bottles and I had a caipirinha, too, as I love cachaça. Luís recommended the Casquinha de Siri, which are these wonderful savory appetizers of crab meat and spices stuffed in their casquinhas or shells. They´re served with farofa, a popular Brazilian side that´s essentially flavored cooked dry corn meal used for sopping up juices in savory dishes.
On out second visit, Sávio ordered a whole deep-fried local fish called peroá. It came on a platter with raw onion, lime wedges and a side of a tomato-based condiment that reminded me of pico de gallo. Naturally it was amazing, though what fried things aren´t?
The piece de resistance was the moqueca capixaba. Ours was made with some local fish and tiny shrimp, though I´ve had it with just fish or a mixture of various kinds of fish and shellfish. The key to this is the sauce, which is a magical blend of tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and a local spice, urucum. Urucum is the fruit of a tree from the region. It´s also available as a dried powder called colorau. It reminded us a bit of the Mexican spice, anchiote.
The moqueca comes with sides of rice and pirão, another Brazilian speciality. It´s a hot savory pudding-like dish made from cassava. Everything came in dramatic looking black clay pots that retained their heat for a long time.
Of course I realize that most of you will never have the chance to try PART.ALTO. However, we were so excited about this place that we just had to share it with you. Plus I´m going to badger Hegui into making moqueca capixaba and even casquinha de siri very soon! We´ll keep you posted.