Student Eats: Samba cuisine misses the beat


The croissant with Brasilia filling comes with a small side salad and pairs perfectly with Samba’s fresh and made-to-order pineapple juice. Photo credit: Katherine Salindayao-White

A new, affordable Brazilian cuisine restaurant with personalized options opened on July 7. Located on 819 C St., Samba is right next to the City College trolley stop.

The owners of Samba, Juliano Colasana and Guilherme Almeida, are motivated to establish the most authentic Brazilian restaurant in San Diego, providing it through a fast casual restaurant, which seems to be a very popular system in the U.S.

Samba originally started as a traveling food stand in 2012 at the Hillcrest’s farmers market, UCSD and SDSU.

Walking into Samba, the staff seemed to be too busy to greet the customers waiting in the line that was almost out the door. When you seat yourself you’ll notice some of the tables and tables are unstable and wobbly, and the painting job on the wall is also chipped in multiple areas.

Most of the items on the menu can be customized with a choice of a pastry and filling. The price to customize your own dish with any of the pastries is $7. Depending on if you want savory or sweet, there are many options to satisfy your craving.

The croissant with Brasilia filling has artichoke, cheese, pesto sauce, nuts and sun dried tomatoes and is served with a side salad. This had just the right amount of cream cheese and pesto sauce to even out the different flavors without one overpowering the other. This paired really well with their pineapple juice made fresh when ordered.

The tapioca crepe was unfortunately a disappointment. The flavor did not meet the expectation of the presentation. If you haven’t had a tapioca crepe before, don’t expect tapioca to be the same as your traditional soft crepe. Tapioca crepes are a gluten free version of the traditional with many positive healthy aspects, as it is a non-dairy, no-fat and nut-free product. The tapioca crepe has a crunchy/hard texture that looks like a thin white shell and the filling included Nutella, strawberries and bananas. The Nutella was a bit overwhelming, but you can always ask them for a smaller amount.

The acai bowl also didn’t meet the expectation of the presentation. The bowl was a fairly big size filled with granola, bananas and strawberries. Everything was good except the acai itself. It had a bitter, strawberry jam flavor with a thicker texture than a usual acai bowl.

Savory definitely beat sweet this time. With the presentation being the best part of the cuisine, it was slightly disappointing, however, many of these food options have healthier food ingredients that fit college student budgets.