Brazil - Rio, Florianopolis, Ouro Preto, Paraty help
I'll be traveling to Brazil at the beginning of March and was looking for some restaurant help. I'm looking for a mix of traditional, authentic Brazilian/Bahian fare (in Rio I've heard good things about Siri Mole e Cia and Severyna) and Modern Brazilian (names in Rio I'm considering are Aprazivel, Carlota, Zuka). Any opinions on those I've mentioned and any suggestions on restaurants I've overlooked?
I don't have any ideas of where to eat in Florianopolis, Ouro Preto, or Paraty, any help at all would be greatly appreciated. Obrigado!
I second Olympe. It is French-style cooking with Brazilian ingredients. Expensive also but very well worth it.
I went to Roberta Sudbrack recently and did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Olympe, where I have been several times. Sudbrack is an unique experience and the food was obviously of very high quality but it just wasn't for me. There is a set menu so diners have no choices, half of the dishes are vegetarian and the food, though good, does not seem very authentic. It seems like a place Brazilians go for foreign cuisine.
I haven't been to RS in about a year, and the times I have been, some have been better than others. Since each night is a single set menu, it's possible that on a given night, the dishes may not be your favorites.
Roberta Sudbrack is a very precise cook, and manages to coax excellent flavors out of a small number of well-chosen ingredients. Two of the most memorable dishes I've had there illustrate this. One was a fine brunoise of blanched asparagus and fried miga (both crispy, but with different textures) topped with a perfect egg yolk that was cooked just enough for it to hold its shape. As soon as I touched it with a fork, the yolk instantly dissolved into the brunoise. The entire dish had three ingredients (four if you count the sel de guerande on top of the egg yolk), but the result was delicious. Another memorable dish was a lamb shoulder (paleta) slow-roasted for 8 hours, with only the simplest of seasonings. This was one of the most flavorful pieces of lamb I've ever had.
By contrast Claude Troisgros (of Olympe) crafts much more complex dishes. It's interesting to visit both restaurants to get a feel for the contrast between the two styles.
Another difference is that Roberta actually cooks, and can be found in her restaurant every night. With his busy TV career, it can't be said that Claude maintains a consistent presence at Olympe (though his sous chefs are apparently quite good).
I agree completely with your comments. I have been going to Olympe for a year or two now and I don't think the menu has changed once during that time, so who knows if CT is ever there.
I think both places are different yet quite good. Still, though, as a tourist I prefer Olympe because most every dish has a distinct Brazilian flavor to it, while I could not say the same for RS. I also prefer the decor at Olympe, which seems more casual to me.
I will say, though, that the best thing I had when at RS was as good as (if not better than) anything I had at Olympe. It was pollo com cebo but served as ravioli with a very light and simple cream sauce, and it was inventive yet authentic and also superb. Most everything else on the menu was good but not great, and for around US$300 per person in one of the best restaurants in Brazil I think everything should be great or close to it. I may go back and give it a 2nd chance though.
Do a search on this board, there a lot of good suggestions for Rio. Here are some:
Rio is my hometown, I hope you will enjoy it. The food in Brazil is quite good.
Portuguese/Brazilian: Antiquarius, it's really good, don't miss it. It's considered one of the best restaurants in Rio and IMO it is true... The place is a Rio institution and it has been around for a long time. But Portuguese food can be very unfamiliar to a lot of people, an American couple friend of mine hated their signature dish: cod fish with eggs, exactly because of the eggs... But that's Portuguese...
Icecream: Mil Frutas - as the name says, 1000 Fruits. You can taste icecream made with different kinds of tropical fruits. White chocolate and passion fruit is my favorite. They have 3 locations: Rua Garcia D'Avila, Rua J.J. Seabra and in a mall in Leblon. Don't miss it!
Juices: Brazilian juice stands are amazing. My favorite is a store in Ipanema, Rua Maria Quiteria with Rua Visconde de Piraja. Don't miss it!
Steak House: Not Rodizio style, but the best meat you can get in Rio, Esplanada Grill, Rua Anibal de Mendonça
Kilo: try a kilo, you pay buy the weight like in a NYC deli, but the experience is quite different, waiter service, great food. Fellini is very good. It's a good way to try different Brazilian dishes since it's buffet style.
Cozinha Contemporanea (a kind of "New Brazilian" Cuisine, traditional ingredients with a fancy twist): Carlota (try the cupuaçu mousse or the goiabada soufle for dessert!), Atelier Culinario, Careme Bistro or Roberta Sudbrack (supposed to be excellent, but quite expensive).
Go to a Botequim after the beach, as the cariocas (people from Rio) do: Bracarense and Manuel e Joaquim are 2 good options. You can have salgadinhos (Brazilian savory snacks) and beer. Manuel e Joaquim has dinner too. Bracarense is located in Leblon and Manuel e Joaquim has different locations in the city.
Italian: Fratelli in Leblon, inexpensive and very good. In Ipanema: Gero (more expensive, nice room and great people watching) and Artigiano, inexpensive and very good
Drinks: Academia da Cachaça, Leblon. You can taste different kinds of cachaça, the liquor we make caipirinhas and batidas with.
Pizza: Stravaganze, Cappriciosa and Alessandro e Frederico. Brazilian pizza is really good. Don't miss it.
Try a tapioca. They sell on carts on the street. It's a kind of crepe made with yuca flour. Really tasty.
Degrau: Leblon. This restaurant has been around forever and serves traditional Brazilian food. Inexpensive. They have a huge menu with fish, pasta, chicken and beef options. I would compare loosely to a diner, but not quite...
In Florianopolis I recommend Ostradamus for oyster and seafood. Florianopolis is the main producer of oyster in Brazil so you should try them there. Bistrô d'Acampora is supposed to be the best restaurant there, but it will be a bit expensive. Mar Massa has good, inexpensive Italian food and a beautiful view.
In Ouro Preto you should go to Ouvidor, they have a great Frango com Quiabo (chicken with okra, very typical for the region).
Just wanted to say that Atelier Culinario , mentioned by TOOT, doesn't exist anymore. It closed several months ago. MIL FRUTAS for ice creams, is located not in a Leblon Mall but In Sao Conrado. There is also several new ice cream places around Ipanema, Sorveteria Italia, next to POLIS SUCOS, mentioned by TOOT (corner of Maria Quiteria and Visconde de Piraja), and sorveteria BRasil, on Rua MAria Quiteria. Polis as well as Bibi Sucos (Av Ataulfo de Paiva), another local institution , also has good sandwiches.
Antiquarius is a well known restaurant here, but like mentioned above, it is really Portuguese cuisine, quite heavy. They just opened a new place in Barra da Tijuca also.
Fasano should be great, I haven't been in the one in Rio yet, but I went to the one in Sao Paulo and I had a wonderful meal. I am sure the one in Rio will be good. Gero is also very good, and you shouldn't have problems in getting a reservation, just ask the concierge. You should definetely try Antiquarius too, since you won't find this kind of cuisine in the US.
At the Fasano Hotel, the restaurant's speciality is fish and seafood. They imported the Chef from Italy. It is a wonderful restaurant , although extremely expensive. They should be able to secure a reservation for you at Gero. Don't miss Londra, which is their lounge at the Hotel. It is great fot people-watching!! And also, the Fasano has the most beautiful swiming pool in town, be sure not to miss it- the view at the sunset is amazing!
This is too late to help the OP, but it may be helpful to others.
Having been to both of Fasano's fine-dining restuarants in Rio (Gero on Garcia d'Avila and Al Mare in the Hotel Fasano) I have to say I tend to enjoy Gero more. I've also never had any trouble getting a table at either, especially on a weekday.
However, in the same price range, you should check out Olympe or Roberta Sudbrack, both in Jardim Botanico. And for a little (but not much) less, you'll do very well at Terzetto, on Praça Gen. Osorio in Ipanema.
I'm not a big fan of Anitquarius. Many cariocas who recommend it, present company excepted, I'm sure, have never actually been there. To me, it's the Paris Hilton of restaurants: famous for being famous (and for being expensive). My opinion, however, may be colored by the fact that I work not far from a great neighborhood Portuguese restaurant in the little-Portugal area in Niteroi.
I live in Rio so I am going to answer those. All of the above are really nice except Carlota, which I think is absolutely overated. Dont forget to go to Yorubá, Rua Arnaldo QUintela 94, which is even better than Siri Mole. I like Via Sete (7) a lot, for a light meal, maybe after the beach, or something casual ( on Rua Garcia D'Avila). There are the usual "churrascarias" , POrcao, Oasis, but there is a wonderful steak house, File de OUro, on Rua Jardin Botanico, that is really authentic and not as crowded as the other churrascarias. Another very nice place if you enjoy a wonderful salad and cold meals (although they do have hot dishes, the are known for salads), is Celeiro, Rua Dias Ferreira, which is open only for lunch, but it is a great place to go, also very casual. Hope this helps !