So•ca is one of our Premium partners for Raleigh, so we headed over there to get the DL on how to have the best experience possible. Whether you're Premium or not, read on to learn why it’s awesome, what dishes not to miss, and pro tips for making the most of your time (and moolah).
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From the folks behind bu•ku, this Cameron Village spot features fresh takes on Latin American dishes. And we're not talking your average taco here—so•ca cooks up unsung heroes of Latin American cuisine, dishes that you maybe haven't heard of, but definitely want to taste: shrimp ceviche bursting with tangy lime, grilled beef churrasco cooked to perfection and served with an herby chimichurri, fresh corn esquites piled high with cheese, chili, and charred octopus.
Everything that comes out of the so•ca kitchen looks as good as it tastes, making it the perfect place to get tons of gorgeous content for your feed. Chef Eli Rodriguez's elevates each dish into a work of art with edible flowers, colorful sauces, and more. These plates are almost too beautiful to eat—almost. But we promise when you take a bite, you won't be disappointed that you did.
Besides their incredible food, so•ca boasts a nationally-recognized wine list that largely highlights wines from Central and South America that you probably can't try anywhere else in the area, craft cocktails that complement a meal with finesse, and the patio of our dreams (plus brunch to boot!). No matter when you go to so•ca you're in for a flavorful experience.
Before we get to the dinner menu, it's worth mentioning that brunch is a serious fan favorite. Think southern favorite shrimp and grits, but spicy Jamaican style; chilaquiles made fancy with duck confit; and, of course, churro waffles dipped in orange chocolate ganache and smothered with dulce de leche.
When it comes to dinner, you really can't go wrong. The menu is arranged into three sections: platos pequeños ($6-$14) which are small plates perfect for sharing, platos fuertes ($16-$36) which are the specialties of the house, and platos de la gente ($18-27) which are more traditional South American dishes.
It's hard to pick favorites—we recommend just going by your taste and picking which flavors catch you eye—but some truly stand-out dishes include either of the ceviches ($12-$14), the churrasco ($22) for an incredible marinated filet topped with herbaceous chimicurri sauce, and the Puerto Rican pork belly mofongo ($20) for a cultural dish made with mashed plantains and pork shoulder unlike anything we bet you've had before.
And, of course, you can't forget the beverage portion of the meal. If wine's not your thing, worry not—the cocktail menu is just as impressive, featuring fun twists on favorites and house-made ingredients (helloooo, habanero syrup).
The Little Mendoza (pictured above) is a fun twist on an old fashioned featuring a Malbec reduction. La Pina Loca uses roasted pineapple juice to seriously elevate a tropical tequila drink. The tangy Shaved Ice Daiquiri (with the ice shaved right in front of you) might be our new favorite cure for a hot summer day. And, of course, there's plenty of sangria to make for a fun time for all.
Finally, while everything at so•ca is #worthit, with most entrees in the $20-$30 range, we get that it might not fit into your weekday budget. Luckily, the desserts are the perfect way to treat yo self without breaking the bank.
The Videri Colombian Chocolate Mousse ($10) was definitely a crowd favorite, but every one of pastry director Brittany Grantham's creations is to die for: a Caribbean rum cake with caramelized peaches and bacon ($10), a guava tart with dulce de leche ($9), tres leches with mango ice cream and an edible meringue rose ($9), to name a few. Plus she has a stellar Instagram—@playwithsugar—where you can see what she's whipping up next.
At around $10 each, it's easy to grab a few of these babies to celebrate something special (or just because you deserve it).