Posted June 21, 2024

Camarões is a very popular seafood restaurant which got its start in Natal, Brazil. If you meet anyone from this northeast region, they will say they love this restaurant. My partner has been talking about this since day 1 that I met them. Now, I have the opportunity to try this out to see what the rave is all about. Camarões has since expanded to more locations in Natal, as well as a location in São Paulo city, which is a food mecca for Brazilians.

When we arrived in Natal, we actually ate it twice in 2 locations, one in Midway Mall and the other in Potiguar.

Ambiance & Service

The ambiance reminds me of a suburban U.S. chain restaurant (think Black Angus or Red Lobster), where people host parties or have get togethers. THe restaurant gets filled pretty quickly, but the service is pretty fast.

The prices are pretty cheap due to the 1 USD to 5.4 Brazilian Real conversion.

Food

The Capifruta Com Saquê (R$29) came with passion fruit. I’ve found that I actually prefer Japanese sake mixed with fruit than cachaça. This one was actually pretty tasty.

The Frutas Amarelas (R$24,50) came with vodka, cajá (a hog plum), maracujá (passion fruit), caju, suco de limão (lime juice), and hortela (mint). This was basically a medley of fruits soaked into vodka. It was pretty good though I wished they had less ice and more liquids.

The Ceviche de Caju (R$24) came with cashew flesh slices marinated with olive oil, lime juice, cashew nuts, red onions, bell peppers, cherry tomato, and cilantro. It was accompanied by sweet potato chips. This was just OK to me. It was very fresh, but not something that I thought was out of this world.

The Bruschetta Potiguar (4 units at R$24) came with fried cubes prepared with tapioca and coalho cheese, topped with cream cheese, grilled shrimp, pepper, and a drizzle of honey. This was decent in that it was a toasted flour cube with a little medley of flavors and textures.

The Casquinho De Caranguejo (R$19) was crab meat sauteed with olive oil, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and coconut milk. It was covered with farofa. My partner was craving for this from years ago, and they thought this was one of their favorites. For me, I thought the crab flavors were not as prominent as I would like. It definitely reminded me of what happens when you take crab meat and mix it with lots of liquids and seasoning ingredients. It ends up having a slight paste texture.

The Pastel de Camarão (R$22 per unit) came with salty pastry filled with shrimp and herb Catupiry cream cheese. This was probably one of my favorite things at Camarões. The pastry was perfectly balanced in seasoning, and the texture was perfectly crunchy and delicious. The pockets are pretty densely packed with ingredients.

The Caprese de Camarão (R$34) came with shrimp sautéed with basil pesto, covered with fresh tomato sauce and whipped parmesan cream. It came with homemade toasts. The huge wad of parmesan cream was interesting in that it added a salty, creamy layer on top of the shrimp. It definitely was not my preference, but it was quite popular among the party.

The restaurant entrees are family style, and before I could snap of the full plate, the servers had already split up the food.

The Canto do Mangue (top - R$124 for 2 people, R$179 for 4 people) had shrimp sautéed with sertão butter (northeast regional butter), a creamy shrimp sauce, tomato, red onion, and cilantro. It was served over rice with crab meat, au gratin with coalho cheese, and a side of fried cassava root. This was my favorite of the 2 shrimp dishes because I liked how it was less creamy and less rich than the Gratin as well as the subtle crab flavors from the rice. Many Brazilians though love the Gratin.

The Gratin (bottom - R$113 for 2 people) was shrimp sautéed with red onion, cherry tomato, and white wine sauce. It was served over herb rice with leek and dried tomato, au gratin with Catupiry (a soft processed cheese) and parmesan cheese. On the side, it came with french fries with smoked paprika seasoning. This was too creamy and heavy for me. I could only eat so much before being full and also just having too much melted cheese and cream in my mouth.

Both dishes, in my opinion, are very starchy and heavy. Definitely come with an appetite if you want to order rice with cheese or cream!

On another night, we ordered the Flor De Sal (R$130) which is grilled shrimp, drizzled with herb-infused olive oil and served with cherry tomato, buffalo mozzarella cheese, and a dash of hand-harvested salt. It was accompanied by almond rice, grilled pineapple, and baked vegetables. This is a stark difference from the Canto do Mangue and Gratin in that this did not have as much sauce or cream in it. It felt healthy, and it was good.

Just like the above anecdotes and before I could take a picture, the servers had already split up the food for the guests. My partner ordered the Vila Flor with a grilled dorado (R$131), and it came with aromatic butter and sliced of Brazil nut, served over julienne vegetables. On the side, it came with 7-grain rice, plantain purée and baked tomato. The dorado was very dense and pretty good. Overall, it felt much healthier and less heavy than the prior night’s cream-centric dishes.

For dessert, we ordered the Taça Romeu e Julieta (R$17). This was homemade guava-cream ice cream with cheese mousse, guava syrup, grated coalho cheese, and cashew nut cookies. It’s guava jam with dessert, so it’s too easy to love this.

Final Verdict

I can definitely see the allure of Camarões in Natal. It’s a very iconic restaurant in this small city, similar to how localized chain restaurants appear in different parts of the United States many years ago. If you’re in the region, it definitely is worth a try to see how this region makes their seafood to the masses.

Yelp Jabs

If I lived in this city, I’d be eating here every week.

There are definitely not too many restaurants of this value in the city, so I would definitely do the same.

Very expensive, had to wait 40 minutes to be seated. Wasted 2 hours and half to have lunch. When we left the restaurant our car got broke in, they took everything was inside.

This was posted in 2018. Fortunately now, there are a lot of security guards watching the parking lot, and it’s a little safer.

Revisions

  1. Jun 21, 2024 - Initial revision.