What a view!
Rio is full of places in which the breathtaking view almost becomes the main dish. The unbeatable Bar Urca serves cold beer and appetizers from the counter to be consumed on the other side of the street where customers sit on a low wall looking towards Enseada de Botafogo. The Aprazível restaurant in Santa Teresa has delicious Brazilian dishes, as well as a view of the center and Baía de Guanabara bay. From the windows of Albamar, a fish and seafood restaurant located in a former tower in the Praça Marechal Âncora, you can see the green palace on the Ilha Fiscal island. The Espaço 7zero6 is even better as you can see the shoreline of Ipanema and Leblon on one side and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lake and the Cristo Redentor statue on the other.
? Albamar. Praça Marechal Âncora, 184, Centro, ☎ 21-2240-8378
? Aprazível. Rua Aprazível, 62, Santa Teresa, ☎221-2508-9174
? Bar Urca. Rua Candido Gaffrée, 205, Urca, ☎ 21-2295-8744
? Espaço 7zero6. Av. Vieira Souto, 706, cobertura (Praia Ipanema Hotel), Ipanema, ☎ 221-2141-4990
To suit every pocket
A challenge for tourists anywhere is to find a place with good food that does not hit the pocket too hard. Among the highlights of this select list in Rio is La Trattoria (Rua Fernando Mendes, 7 A, ☎ 21-2255-3319) and the traditional A Polonesa (Rua Hilário de Gouveia, 116, ☎ 21-2547-7378). These two places are both in Copacabana and serve tasty dishes at prices below R$ 30.00. On the other extreme, the city has also a number of places with prestigious chefs producing surprising (and expensive) menus. Experiences that are worth the cost include Claude Troisgros´s Olympe (Rua Custódio Serrão, 62, ☎ 21-2539-4542); Felipe Bronze´s Oro (Rua Frei Leandro, 20, ☎ 21-7864-9622); Pedro de Artagão´s Irajá (Rua Conde de Irajá, 109, ☎ 21-2246-1395) and the eponymous Roberta Sudbrack (Avenida Lineu de Paula Machado, 916, ☎ 21-3874-0139) commanded by the chef from Rio Grande do Sul state who used to run the kitchen of Brazil´s presidents in the Palácio da Alvorada.
Three recipes originated in Rio
Filé à francesa (Steak French style)
Two traditional places in Rio claim to have invented this dish and still serve it. One is the 140-year-old Café Lamas where customers have included President Getúlio Vargas and writer Machado de Assis. The other claimant, Nova Capela, has been in Lapa since 1903. Both tell the same story that a French customer in the 1940s always ordered his tournedos with matchstick potatoes and ham, onion and peas served on top.
? Café Lamas. Rua Marquês de Abrantes, 18, Flamengo, ☎ 21-2556-0799)
? Nova Capela. Av. Mem de Sá, 98, Lapa, ☎ 21-2507-1841)
Sopa leão veloso (Leão Veloso Soup)
Paulo Leão Veloso (1887-1947) was the Brazilian ambassador to France and loved bouillabaisse, the soup made with seafood that is typical of Marseille. It is said that on his return to Brazil he went into the kitchen of the Rio Minho restaurant, where he used to have lunch, and prepared his own version of the dish. The soup made with the head of the fish, octopus, squid, shrimp and other seafood is still served in the place. It is also found in the popular O Caranguejo.
? Rio Minho. Rua do Ouvidor, 10, Centro, ☎ 21-2509-2338
? O Caranguejo. Rua Barata Ribeiro, 771, Copacabana, ☎ 21-2235-1249
Filé à oswaldo aranha (Steak à Oswaldo Aranha)
When Rio was the federal capital, the Cosmopolita restaurant was known in the 1930s as the “Senadinho” (little Senate) because of the number of politicians who ate there. One of the regulars, Oswaldo Aranha (1894-1960), a diplomat and minister in the Getúlio Vargas government, gave his name to this thick steak covered with fried garlic and accompanied by Portuguese potato, rice and egg farofa flour. This dish is considered part of Rio´s heritage and has gained a contemporary version in the Salitre restaurant.
? Cosmopolita. Travessa do Mosqueira, 4, Lapa, ☎21-2224-7820
? Salitre. Rua Barão da Torre, 632, Ipanema, ☎ 21-2540-5719
INNOVATIONS AT THE TABLE
Lasai: Rafael Costa e Silva, a Rio chef has worked in the Spanish restaurant Mugaritz which has two stars in the Michelin Guide. His place in Rio has been serving varied menus in three stages and the festival consisting of more than 14 dishes since March. The inventive list of options includes a fantastic grilled beijupirá fish with caramel peel, missô broth with small carrots, and wagyu striploin with roasted red peppers. Rua Conde de Irajá, 191, ☎ 21-3449-1834.
Mee: This Asian restaurant within the Copacabana Palace hotel was opened in February. The menu is signed by the celebrity chef Ken Hom, famous for his BBC television programs, and carried out by Rafael Hidaka (formerly of Kinoshita in São Paulo). Fresh fish is the main suggestion but the most original tips usually include herring sashimis and freshwater eel. Av. Atlântica, 1702, ☎ 21-2548-7070.
Tupac: Peruvian chef Marco Espinoza opened his third restaurant in Rio at the beginning of May. He also runs the Lima Restobar and the El Chalaco sandwich place and is inspired by the cuisine of his homeland. He prepares dishes such as deboned kid in its own sauce, garnished with manioc, sweet carrot and chimichurri sauce. Rua Aníbal de Mendonça, 132, ☎ 21-3592-4941.