Rio de Janiero - pls check my list
We are heading to Rio and Buzios soon and would love some feedback on our restaurant list. Yes we have read some of the other prior postings but we are wondering if there is anything new or someplace we should add/subtract from our list below. We would prefer Brazilian and Italian spots. We have been to Rio a few times before:
Garcia & Rodrigues
Via Sete Grill
Also, if we head up to Lapa one evening is there a good spot up there you would recommend? Casual is fine, as long as it is good. We speak some Portuguese, but try to get by with Portanol.
We have been to Porcao a couple of times and like it. Yet, is there a new churrascaria we might try? Likewise, anyplace similar to Sushi Leblon, but not Sushi Leblon. We have been there a couple of times and were not wowed, but its a great spot. Esplanada Grill also has been good but it seems their pricing is now in the stratosphere.
Thanks in advance.
From your list I have only been to Gula Gula, Fratteli, Artigiano, Guimas, Belmonte and Garcia Rogrigues.
I don't care for Garcia & Rodrigues and Guimas is the kind of place that has been around forever but the food is nothing special (nothing bad either). I haven't been in Guimas in a long time, so I don't know if the menu became more creative.
I would add Resto in Ipanema and Julius Brasserie in Urca to the list. These are newish places with creative menus and nice ambiance. Not cheap but not that expensive either.
I love Gula Gula and Artigiano, and only went to Fratelli once but it was quite good.
For pizza (which in Brazil is great) I would add Cappricciosa (for pizza and antipasto), Alessandro and Frederico (has also a very good antipasto) and Braz.
And if you like Kilo style I would highly recommend Frontera.
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Giuseppe Grill - I prefer Esplanada Grill over Giuseppe Grill, but I think they are both overpriced for what they offer. If you are willing to venture outside of the Ipanema-Leblon neighborhood, try Majorica (a la carte churrascaria) in Flamengo (Rua Senador Vergueiro @ Paissandu) - ask only for the "linguica" (I don't think the couvert is worth), and order the "picanha" plus sides such as "arroz ao camelo" (I always ask them without bacon, it is rice with garlic and parsley), "batatas portuguesas" (potato chips) and "farofa dolabella" (manic flour with lots of eggs). If there are only two of you, order only one or two sides (and you will still have leftovers). You can order the picanha in slices or small pieces - it all depends on how many of you will be eating: the picanha especial usually is good for three people...
CT Boucherie - from french-"brazilian" chef Claude Troigros. I think they still have a lunch menu which is an option of fish/baby beef and the all-you-can-eat sides. I get full just eating the sides which will vary but will usually have a tomato confit, a vegetable gratin, a manioc-type (batata baroa) puree, etc. Very yummy. Also, I like the watermelon carpaccio for appetizer.
Gula Gula - pretty good combination of salads. Not really a place to eat meat.
Guimas - there is only one location now (the one in Ipanema closed, the original one in Gavea is still open). I haven't been there in ages... I used to like their brie "pastel" (fried savoury)
Garcia & Rodrigues - closed. Rumor says it will be replaced by Porcao...
Artigiano - I am really sensitive to salt, and their dishes in average are on the saltier side... But, I recall there was a ravioli type of pasta with almond sauce that was pretty tasty (and not salty!). Note that they only take cash (or Brazilian checks). I prefer Osteria dell' Angolo just around the corner (Prudente de Moraes at corner of Paul Redfern) for Italian food.
Via Sete Grill - I haven't been to the one in Leblon. The one in Centro is a good option for light fare (salads used to be good)
Venga - I went once to the Ipanema location (I heard the Leblon one, the original one, to be better) and although the location is hip, totally not worth the price. They don't even know how to make decent "croquetas"! Spanish croquetas are different to Brazlian croquetes (creamy fililng vs. potato filling). For Spanish food, I recommend Entretapas in Botafogo (Rua Conde de Iraja).
Fratelli - went once ages ago. I can't remember what I ate, but definately did not make an impression on me... Neither good or bad...
Bar Astoria - I never been there. I recomend Astor in Ipanema - it's a bar from Sao Paulo. Really good drinks, decent appetizers (some really tasty, others so, so). Their alheira is very yummy (the Portuguese Jewish sausage version - no pork meat, usuallly rabbit and such)
Belmonte - I only like the one in Flamengo, which have always kept their standards and it is the original one... Other branches(I've been to the ones in Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Jardim Botanico & Urca) have not kept the same quality in my experience. The one in Urca is still ok, service in Copacabana was the worst, food in the one in Leblon was the weakest compared to the main branch in Flamengo - so, I have not been to this branch in a while.
Jobi - it's a traditional bar that I used to go a lot in the 80-90's... now, with so many other options, never returned. Better food at Chico & Alaide, they used to work at Bracarense - another "traditional" bar in Leblon. She makes great savouries - don't miss out on her bolinho de tutu (black bean). Chico & Alaide is almost acroos the street from CT Boucherie.
In Lapa, I recommend A Capela/Nova Capela (it's the same kitchen, two separate entrances at Av.Mem de Sa, 96) and order "Cabrito Assado" (roasted baby goat with broccolli rice).
As for churrascaria, my favourite place is Majorica (I detailed above). Porcao Rio's at Aterro is the best one among the other branches. There is a sort of a new place, Fogo de Chao, but I did not like it... The salad bar option is poor, price was more expensive than Porcao, and I could not get rare meat... I kept asking and asking and they only kept bringing me medium meat!!!
Don't waste your time eating sushi in Rio... I agree that Sushi Leblon is a great spot, nice ambiance, but no good sushi. It is ok by Rio standard but it is expensive...
I have not been to Claude Troigros' new Italian restaurant, CT Trattorie (where was Bistro 66) in Jardim Botanico (Rua Alexandre Ferreira). It just opened recently...
Also, since you will be heading to Buzios, try to check the restaurant at Sollar. Chef Danio Braga opened a restaurant there - he was previously chef/owner of Locanda della Mimosa in Itaipava. I have not gone to his new restaurant yet, but he is one amazing chef and I plan to go there once winter comes (low season in Buzios...)
Hope it helps!