Ipanema beach during the day – eating cheese on a stick -so good!
Terézé has the perfect location, look and menu but failed to deliver on the food. The restaurant has stunning views over Rio from its location in the luxurious hotel Santa Teresa. The design is also amazing with polished concrete walls, low hung lamp shades over tables and bottle top installations. Grouper carpaccio (R$32) was simple and light but roasted cod fish loin in a charcoal infused olive oil (R$65) read much better on paper than it tasted with claggy passionfruit sauce overwhelming the fish and charcoal. Of the dessert degustation R$55 the chocolate fondant pudding and lemon meringue were clearly the stand outs while the chocolate macaraon lollipops were dry and the ice-cream watery and flavourless. I was particularly unimpressed by being charged R$18 for the bread basket that was placed on our table. Go for the views and setting but prepare to be underwhelmed by the food. If you want a window table be sure to ask for this when booking as they told us all the window tables were reserved when we arrived.
Details: Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ph 20241-260)
Damage: Budget breaking. Our meal cost R$410 including one bottle of wine.
Dessert degustation at Tereze – more style than substance
MTV boyfriend and I tried out a few breakfast spots in Rio but our favourite by far was Market in Ipanema. The cafe is super modern and slick with designer chairs in bright primary colours and a lovely courtyard area to eat in. The eggs florentine (R$15) had perfectly poached eggs and hollondaise sauce with just the right amount of tang. There is also a great bookshop just down the street, Livraria da Travessa, which also has an English language section.
Details: Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 499 Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ph +55 (21) 3283 1438)
Eggs Florentine at Market
I didn’t think I would ever lavish praise on an all you can eat restaurant which is part of a chain but then I had never been to the amazing Porcao. Porcao is the most successful of Rio’s churrascarias where passadores (meat waiters) dart between tables wielding huge sticks of char grilled meat which they carve on request. The meat was nothing short of sensational. There were tender slices of filet mignon with a smoky char and melt in the mouth ribs. The waiters are guided by a hilarious card system where each diner is given a card to display with green representing nao for no more food and red meaning sim for yes – bring it on! The meat is so good that several times when I felt I could not eat another thing, almost in a dream I found myself flipping my card to green as a waiter approached bearing more carnivorous marvels.
Details: Rua Barao da Torre, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro 22411000, Brazil (Ph +55(21) 3202 9158)
Damage: Pricey. The cost of all you can eat meats plus sides and salads is R$89 per person. Including wine and service our meal cost R$220.
The essential ordering cards for Porcao
Sexy and sophisticated, buzzing Zuka is touted as one of Rio’s best restaurants. The room is darkly lit and tables sit close together however the best seats in the house are at the bar watching the chefs cook over a huge coal fired grill. With such a feature the obvious dish to order is steak and the Picanha (R$54), a cut of meat almost like a hangar steak which is particular to Brazil, was cooked to perfection. The steak had a smoky char and was served sliced to reveal the rosy pink meat. It was served with fries and a less spicy take on chimchurri sauce. Cod with coarse sea salt (R$45) was also cooked expertly on the grill and served with a coconut curry sauce which had a mild kick to it but was closer to a satay sauce than a curry.
Details: Lagoa Dias Ferreira, 233b, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ph +55 (21) 3205 7154)
Picanha at Zuka
Capricciosa was recommended to us by a Brazillian friend (thanks Daniel) as having the best pizza in Rio and from what we tried I’m inclined to agree. The restaurant features a large wood fired oven and the pizzas are expensive at R$40 for a small pizza but the crisp, smoke charred base is worth paying for. Try the parmagiana which we loved.
Details: Rua Vinicius de Moraes, Ipanema, Brazil (Ph +55 (21) 2523 3394)
There are a huge number of sushi restaurants in Rio thanks to the large amounts of Japanese immigrants in Brazil and the fantastic local seafood. The queues for Sushi Leblon were too long for our liking so we headed to the nearby Manikeneko. The restaurant is very slick and modern with lots of red perspex and fish tanks built into the wall in the basement dining area. It feels a little bit soulless but our sashimi platter was super fresh and the fish was top quality. Details: Rua Dias Ferreira, 410, Rio, Brazil (Ph +55 (21) 2540 7461)
Sashimi at Manekineko
The temperatures in Rio can be pretty hot so I think a few ice-cream recommendations are definitely in order. Mil Frutas
has the most expensive ice-cream in Rio at $R9 for one scoop but the creamy, rich texture was far superior to the icy, remelted offering from the recommended Sorvete Italia
at $R6 a scoop.