Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Well, it doesn't look good for the Brazil recommendations! I'm heading there in April and will be spending time in Sao Paolo, Belem, and Manaus. I was there in 1991, but I was a starving student and we cooked instead of going out. Anyone?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Linda, I am happy to recommend a place in São Paulo, one of the best restaurants I've ever been to anywhere. It's called Antiquarius. The food is Portuguese, with an emphasis on bacalhão (cod). It's expensive and elegant, almost museum quality. The owner is Thales Martins, with whom I became chummy after several visits. If he's there when you go, please tell him I send a forte abraço.

If you like churrascaria, the meat carved on your plate, the best place (again in SP) is A Jardineira. Don't make the mistake of passing up the salad bar in order to save room for the meat. (N.B., donrocks!) You want to have a good, balanced, tasty meal, and the salad bar is delectable, light years ahead of anything I've seen in the US, a worthy part of the meal. My friend John C. Dvorak almost cried when he spotted the pickled turnips.

There are tons of good Japanese restaurants. The thick-crusted pizza will not remind you of anything you've had around here. Excellent Italian restaurants abound, notably Vila Romana. On the other hand, in all my time there, I was able to find only two Chinese places, and they were not as good as I had hoped.

Save time on Wednesday or Saturday afternoon for a feijoada and a soneca (nap).

Bom viagem!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm back, and as is typical of most of my trips, I ended up where I did not expect to be. So I had about 16 hours in Rio and a week each in Belém and Manaus. I do have a few food recommendations for each.

In Rio, try Mamma Rosa’s in Corcovado. Locals go here for Italian food, and we tried two eggplant dishes on recommendation from several people. The eggplant lasagna and eggplant Siciliana were both excellent. Ah, the eggplant – creamy, silky texture with crispy edges and fantastic flavor. It’s called beringela here.

In Belém, the pizza is excellent at Xícara da Silva. The Paraense pizza has jambu, a leaf that has nice flavor and the added bonus of making your mouth a bit numb. It’s almost like a temperature change, as if it is somehow a few degrees cooler in your mouth and things don’t feel quite like they should – hard to describe, but enjoyable and worth experiencing. The Veneto had eggplant and green onions – also delicious.

San Gennaro was voted the best Italian in the city for two years. At least that’s what the menu says. Read the descriptions of the food carefully – our Caprese salad was made with lettuce, sun dried tomatoes, and cubes of mozzarella. The rest of the food was quite good.

There are lots of restaurants at the Docas area along the edge of the Amazon river, an old loading dock that has been turned into a shopping area, It looks really touristy, but strangely enough, the vast majority of the people there were local. The beer is good at the microbrewery on the end, and rumor has it that there’s a good happy hour there weekdays before 9 where you can eat all the appetizers you want and drink all the alcohol you want for about 17 USD.

Na Telha, or “in a tile” is a restaurant that serves food, you guessed it, in a ceramic roofing tile that has been turned upside down and has the ends blocked so the food stays in. The fish is fresh and good here. The appetizers were particularly good. We had pasteles, little fried empanadas, and the fried manioc or macaxeira was perfectly done. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with really good flavor, an indication of very fresh roots.

At the Mangal das Garças park, you can see birds, butterflies, a nice view of the city from a lighthouse, and there is a restaurant with a buffet that serves typical local foods. There are other buffets (for some reason I was taken to several), and I don’t usually like buffets, but this food was quite good with selections of fish, chicken, pasta, beef, and potatoes. The salads in particular were nice here.

In Manaus, Açai is really good for local dishes made from local ingredients that are very fresh. Fish from the Amazon or Rio Negro, fruits from the forest, and caipirinhas that are really good. We also had some unusual araca-boi fruits that had been given to us by a friend who has a tree, and the kitchen made them into drinks for us. This restaurant is frequented by locals.

The local churrasco restaurant chosen by my hosts was Gaúcho, and by 8 at night it was packed with locals. Lots of meat which I am told was very nicely cooked, and a great salad bar plus various other grilled things including fresh cheese on toast and entire pineapples. They also have a selection of infused cachaças which I was also told were quite good. (I'm a cachaça lightweight leaning toward mixed drinks). The caipirinhas were good here as were the juices.

Piazzolo is good for Italian in Manaus, and it also has a decent wine list. Wine is expensive in Brazil, and I’m not sure why. In contrast, beer is really inexpensive as is cachaça. I paid an average of $2.00 for a caipirinha, and with a couple of exceptions where some funky-cheap cachaça was used, they were nicely made drinks.

Just as an aside, when most people think of Brazil, I think they have a tendency to focus on meat, but I think this is a little unfair. The produce is so fresh and good that the salads are just incredible as are the fruit juices and desserts made from fruit. I think I could live off the fruit there. Cashew fruit, cupuaçu, passionfruit, mango, sour sop, really good bananas and on and on. Then there are the fruits from Amazonian palms like tucumá, pupunha, and açai. Also be sure to try some Brazil nuts while there just to see what they are like really fresh. They are called castanha do Para unless you are in Manaus where they are called castanha da Amazônas (Manaus is in Amazônas state). Then there’s the palmito or heart of palm that is freshly harvested instead of canned. I ate my weight in it. Really fantastic. Nobody who has a choice drinks the water, and a restaurant would go out of business pretty fast if it made people sick, so they wash everything in clean water and use it to make all the drinks as well. Also, if you like fizzy beverages, be sure to drink the guaraná soda. It beats coke for taste and that lovely caffeine kick.

Happy traveling! (And please forgive my screw ups with accent marks - I'm still learning!) -Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/18/2014 at 5:36 PM, JDawgBBall9 said:

I'm off for the World Cup in two months. Probably 90% of the time will be spent in Natal and I doubt I'll have time to do exploring anywhere else. So here's a bump on the off-chance that anyone has been there in the past....

How the hell was it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...