Looking For A Fabulous Restaurant In Paraty?

In the historical center of Paraty (near our hotel) there is an excellent restaurant named Bartolomeu ParatyBartholomeu Paraty has a warm and charming feel to it. The menu is stacked with a variety of fresh pasta dishes (the bolognese was fantastic), a number of fish options as well as the ‘sensational Argentine Rump Stuffed with Roquefor Sal Grosso’ (shown below) unfortunately we were not the ones who ordered it so were literally salivating over someone elses meal.

There is also a very cute outdoor area in the back, candle lit and very private, however it was a chilly night so we opted to sit inside.  The ‘gateau’ for dessert was delicious, but then again it seems to be a Brazilian specialty so it is great pretty much everywhere.  Overall, a wonderful dining experience that I would happily go back to and recommend!

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Best Hidden Restaurant in Santa Teresa

Aprazivel (Rua Aprazivel 62) is hidden away on a small street high on the hills in Santa Teresa facing the Northern areas of Rio de Janeiro. Note: Taking a taxi in and out is a must as you have to drive through some ‘dodgy’ areas to get there. I would never have found it myself if it wasn’t for a friend who recommended it.  You could walk past the entrance without realizing the restaurant is right in front of you.

After walking down the steep narrow steps (tip for the ladies- walk very slowly!), we were welcomed by the friendly staff and shown to our table.  Since we did not have a reservation we were not seated in one of the ‘tree house’ style tables for this this restaurant is famous for.  Yes, I plan to make a reservation and go back to sit at one of those cute tree house tables.

Besides the incredible tree house tables, the rest of the candle lit tables are outside spread out in luxurious gardens.  It is a very charming restaurant with many intimate seating locations scattered through the property, great for a romantic night out. Check out the view (see below)

Food was delicious! Direct from the Amazon, it is prepared in an open kitchen with a lot of attention to detail and great taste.  Everything on the menu looked, and smelled fantastic.  Our fish was prepared perfectly, and our small beef with pumpkin starter hit the spot.  Aprazivel has an extensive drink selection- I recommend having champagne mixed with one of the amazonian fruit juices!

When visiting Rio, this restaurant is worth a detour if you are looking for a romantic escape and nice cuisine in Rio.

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Espirito Santa Teresa

After visiting Ruins Park, we were starving and stumbled upon Espirito Santa From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but once inside you will see how charming this restaurant really is.  It is rated one of the best restaurants in Santa Teresa (apparently we still have good taste even when famished!) for its Amazon-style cooking.  This is a place to get a ‘real taste of Brazil’ as the chef uses only local ingredients when creating delicious traditional Brazilian dishes ie. lots of different fresh fish choices, exotic fruits and vegetables are on the menu.

The outdoor patio area hangs over the hills, so sit back and enjoy the amazing views while sipping your Caipirinha.  Great spot for a late lunch or dinner (before heading to Lapa!)

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Enjoy Drinks With A View at Bar dos Descasados

Whether you are heading to Santa Teresa for dinner or drinks, everyone you meet will tell you that you must go to Bar dos Descasados at the Santa Teresa Hotel.

The hotel occupies an old house that was once an old coffee plantation home…. and the bar area was actually once the slave quarters! Now, fully restored, the decor is extremely tasteful, using and abusing a lot of demolition wood and the beauty of Brazilian handicrafts. But the real reason people gravitate to this tucked away beautiful hotel is for the breathtaking view of Rio and the delicious drinks!

Spend an afternoon or evening (or both, once you get comfortable you may not want to leave) lounging in a big comfy chair,or plush cabana bed on the terrace. 

Order the ‘French Pink Mojito’ (champagne, rum, cranberry and mint) or the ‘Iced Teresa’ (Mojito with Mate) both are delicious while you enjoy the fabulous views of Rio de Janeiro. If you are hungry for a little snack I recommend the freshly made chips with alioli dip. Though I didn’t eat there, the food looked great and the desserts were to die for— might actually have to make a trip back specifically to try the desserts!  Tip:  This is a prime sunset spot so try to get there half an hour before so you get a comfy seat! 

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Jobi Is The Place to Be

Jobi has been a Leblon institution since it opened its doors in 1956 and is known for having the best ‘chopp’ (light, refreshing beer served with a creamy head in tall glass) in town.  Busy every day of the week, it is open from 9am to 4am (5am on weekends), there is always a crowd spilling out of the boteco and on to the pavement tables.

 Only two blocks in from the beach Jobi  is the sort of place you can go to in your bikini straight from the beach, or stop by for an after work/ have a pre-dinner drink or if you are having a great time (which you probably are) spend your night at.

It is packed with businessmen (the only people that wear suits) around lunch time.  The rumors you are true- in Brazil, people take 1-2 hour lunches no matter where they work!  The menu is huge, from sandwiches and salads to full meals; their kitchen also makes some of the best salgadinhos (salty snacks) in town- people always rave about it.  The meals are to share- something that I love about the restaurants in Rio, meaning if you order steak (as shown below) it is portioned for two people and comes with rice, beans, farofa and chips.  The ‘chips’ are incredible, fresh right out of the oven!

The prime location, relaxed ambiance and delicious bar snacks have combined to make Jobi one of the best-loved bars in Leblon.

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Brigitta’s

Brigittas Restaurant captures what Búzios really is: charming, easy going and with a certain air of sophistication.

There is a small bar with an eating area in the front of the restaurant and about four tables scattered in front, but the real entrance is through a small, well-hidden door, leading into this adorable restaurant with live music. There is no back wall at Brigitta’s; only an opening to the sand, the bay, and the fishing boats.

The platform above the main floor is a former guestroom with a wall torn down but bed still in place; complete with artful tray on which drinks and dinner are served to those lounging around as if at home.  Grilled fish/ seafood and steak are their specialties, but they also variety of delicious pasta’s and salads. Perfect place for a group or a romantic date night

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Best Restaurant in Buzios: Bar do Ze

After a day of beach, head to Rua das Pedras, where you will find tons of cute stores (this is the spot to pick up your Brazilian bikini if you don’t already have one!), and TONS of restaurants!  Including authentic Brazilian, American, Asian, Mexican, Seafood, and French.

My Favorite place Bar do Ze:

When you walk by Bar do Ze, the first thing that comes to mind is- what a charming, romantic restaurant with a great view of the bay. It is way more than just that! First off, since I am only a few Portuguese classes in, I was pleasantly surprised by the very friendly staff which spoke good English:) Ok, now to the food…

The food was INCREDIBLE!!! We started off with a nice bottle of wine (which isn’t the easiest thing to find in Brazil) and a warm goat cheese salad (perfect way to start a meal in my opinion), but it was the lobster pasta that sealed the deal for me.  The huge chunks of fresh delicious lobster in a very light but flavorful tomato sauce was so unbelievably good, my mouth waters whenever I think about it! Mmmmm! On to dessert: Fresh chocolate dipped strawberries with gelato! Honestly doesn’t get much better than this, was a perfect meal, and I plan on going back!

Usually, come 10pm Bar do Ze turns into a more trendy, fun atmosphere, however it started to downpour the night we were there… and when it rains here, it POURS! As you can see the staff was kind enough to ‘make us’ rain coats, and provide a bag so I could ‘save’ my shoes:)

If you find yourself in Buzios… this place is a MUST try!

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Traditional Baian Fair Facing Lagoa

After biking around Lagoa (lagoon which borders the Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Gávea, Jardim Botânico and Humaitá) we stumbled upon this cute ‘Bihian’ restaurant tucked away off the bike path, facing Lago: Oke Ka Baianetem

As you approach the restaurant, the first thing you will notice is a woman wearing a colorful costume preparing some of the traditional Baian dishes (see below) and whatever she has got cooking in that pot smells delicious! I mean right away-  ‘very authentic’ was my first reaction. Inside, the restaurant is decorated with vibrant colored ribbons of Senhor do Bonfim, and a statue of Yemanja; the waiters also wear very colorful outfits.

We started with ‘acarajes’ (what this place is famous for), hard to describe, but closest thing I can think to compare to would be a warm lobster roll but with shrimp, and instead of mayo (ew) it is made with a vegetable paste that is actually very good.  Only warning I have with this… they do not ‘de-shell’ the shrimp so before digging in, make sure you remove all of the shells! We also had ‘carne encebollada com aipim frito’ (ie steak and onions with fried cassava) to start.  Ok fine… I’ll admit it.. We also ordered the steak as a back up just in case I didn’t like the main dish which was Bobó de camarão

Bobó de camarão is a shrimp stew (very popular here) served in a clay pot, with white rice and yucca flour on the side. FYI- Bobó is the name given to any dish thickened with mashed cassava.  It was quite tasty, BUT be aware: this dish is VERY heavy and the portion is huge (better for 4 people to share). Personally, I think they should consider serving it with salad to balance out it- girl needs their ‘greens’!

Trying to meet some other Expats :)

living in BrazilIn my quest to find some English speaking folks I discovered a fun blog written by a fellow expat DailyRioLife and figured why not email the writer.  To my pleasant surprise she emailed me back and arranged to meet! I’ll be honest I have never done the ‘internet dating’ thing so when she suggested lunch at Via Sete I was thrilled (have walked by this place a bunch of times and each time I walked by said “that place looks good”.   The restaurant was great— highly recommend it (salads were fantastic!) and she was awesome, very helpful! I am looking forward to hanging out with her again and meeting some of her other ‘expat’ friends:)

Enjoying the food..

Cafeina is a great spot for salads and sandwiches! Huge list of both, plus they even have English translation under each item- first place I have been to that I have seen English since I got here… it is VERY exciting! The restaurant itself is on the corner of Av Ataulfo de Paiva and Rita Ludolf (a nice tree lined street) and open so you can sit inside or outside.

Off to Ipanema for the afternoon I discovered Casa do Pao de Queijo (apparently it is a chain and scattered throughout Brazil, but I happened to discover this one). For those of you who don’t know what Pao de Queijo is, it is a type of ‘cheese bread’.  They come in a variety of sizes, and are baked, cheese-flavored rolls (the inside is chewy and moist).  They are a very popular/typical snack in Brazil (and one of my personal favorites!). If you have never had it, I highly recommend trying it. If you are reading this and not near a Casa do Pao de Queijo (since they are in Brazil, you are probably not near one) Pão de queijo can be bought frozen at supermarkets to be baked personally, look for brands like Forno de Minas, and Casa do Pão de Queijo. Additionally, cheese puff mix packages are easily found in most supermarkets,super easy to make on your own (if I can make them, ANYONE can!) look for brands like ‘Yoki’ and ‘Hikari’ (those are the more popular ones in the states). If you are in NYC visit Buzios Brazil Boutique located at 20 W 46th St (second floor) to get the frozen kind or the mix, otherwise try it the next time you are at a Brazilian restaurant!

For those of you who know me well, a day is not complete without ice cream…. and while searching for my favorite comfort food, I stumbled upon Sorvet Italia

think I struck gold with this find! I can say with confidence I have never had such incredibly delicious, amazing, wonderful chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in my life, each bite was loaded with brownie! They don’t skimp out like they do at Ben & Jerrys does (you know what I am talking about, you dig and dig and maybe get 2-5 bites with brownie in it and are a little disappointed when you realize you’re left with just chocolate) well not here, you will be completely satisfied! They have a HUGE selection (I of course tasted a few flavors before deciding) and everything I tried was delicious, I will def be heading back there again!