Brazil tips for Salvador, Lencois, Itacare and Boipeba
I am headed to Brazil next week and will be headed to Rio which is fairly well covered on these boards but also Salvador, Lencois, Itacare and Boipeba. Any tips? Also will be in Rio for our wedding anniversary so wondering what your tips are for a blow out meal there?
Gourmet Chick sounds like a great itinerary in Bahia! I second the rec for Paraiso Tropical for a variety of moquecas. Its grown up a lot since I have been there last, but I really enjoy the Rio Vermelho area in Salvador at night. From simply listening to impromptu music and eating acaraje from a stand on the pracinha, to some interesting restaurants. The restaurants there do tend towards continental options (particularly when you look at contemporary ones), but check out Dona Maraquita for unusual spins on food from the sertao and Dinha if you want a sit down experience with baiana street food and a wide selection of moquecas. I always tell friends to try a galinhada in Bahia (with a galinha caipira, often made with mint, and you can either get it normal or made with blood 'galinha ao molho pardo'), I can't think of any convenient suggestions (mostly in futher away bairros) but a hotel might be able to help -- you would either need to find a restaurant which regularly offers it or order in advance (a bit south of there its R$45). Since you are spending a bunch of time at the shore, have some good moquecas in salvador and use your time to try other specialties from the northeast: look for bode (goat), sarapatel (pork offal with coagulated blood), if you are into offal you might find a buchada do bode (goat offal stuffed in the stomach sort of like a brazilian haggis), baiao de dois (rice and bean dish) or farofa de feijao verde or feijao de corda (a stuffing using fresh beans). Look for an escondidinho -- carne de sol, bode. Make take advantage of a larger mercado municipal or feirinha to try more fruits (I particularly love 'cajá manga' which is planted a lot in southern bahia as shade for cacau trees). BTW I am not talking about the Mercado Modelo, which is definitely a good tourist destination (and has a restaurant on the second floor), but more a street farmers market or one of the other markets.
Lencois and Vale do Capao seem to have a lot of variety as far as restaurants and cusine because of tourists from over Brazil (supposedly one of the better taquerias in Brazil is in Lencois). Again I would suggest looking for things from the sertao, maybe seeing if you can try some licores or doces too (liquers from fruits and sweets/conserves of fruits), try some basic plates (like prato feito or a picanha na tabua). I have seen Bode Grill mentioned a lot as a cheap eats place which offers some of the things I was mentioning. Might be a good place to try some cachacas somewhere stumbling distance to your hotel/pousada. For Boipeba and Itacare, I think cold beer (see if you can get an Bohemia or "original" -- antartica original formula), porcoes (like carne de sol com aipim) and simple seafood (pescadinho frito, moquecas, local shrimp -- depending on the month this may or may not be local, mabe casquinha de siri). Prices at beach front restaurants are pretty standard, although quality and portions can vary. So check out several or order a beer and an appetizer first, while watching other table's orders.
In Salvador: Paraiso Tropical for a great moqueca (fish stew).
Rio high end options: Fasano Al Mare (great for seafood), Roberta Sudbrack (Nouvelle Cuisenem Brazilian), Antiquarius (old style, portuguese food), Carame Bistro (Nouvelle cuisine, Brazilian), Olympe (French/Brazilian). You should be able to find all these restaurants on line.