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Brazil Restaurants

00
240 Avenida Padre Leonel Franca
Gávea
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2540 8041
www.00site.com.br

As much a nightclub as a restaurant, 00 (Zero Zero) becomes more of a beautiful-person scene the later it gets. Inside, conversation at the tables will get drowned out by the DJ around midnight (particularly on Sundays, which attracts a stylish gay crowd). But before then, the food is quite good Brazilian-Caribbean-contemporary—think jerk chicken and salmon burgers. After eating, chill on the huge candlelit patio with its Indonesian benches. If a cabdriver doesn't know the place, tell him to take you to the planetarium, to which it's attached.

Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Hotel Photo
Bar Astor
110 Avenida Vieira Souto
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2523 0085
www.barastor.com.br

The Companhia Tradicional de Comércio, best known for its Bráz pizza joints and for the popular Pirajá bar in São Paulo, situated this bustling brasserie at Ipanema's most prestigious crossroads, the corner of Vieira Souto and Rainha Elizabeth avenues. Bar Astor's interior has a retro-style Roaring Twenties look (mirrored columns, fluted ceiling lights, and floors of Portuguese tile work), and the 130-year-old bar once graced a Tennessee saloon. But the tables most prized by savvy Cariocas and fashion-friendly guests of the nearby Hotel Fasano are those on the terrace overlooking Arpoador Beach. The crab cakes, grilled shrimp, or a dozen oysters pair particularly well with a kumquat caipirinha or a dry martini.

Open Mondays through Wednesdays 6 pm to 2 am, Thursdays 6 pm to 3 am, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 3 am, and Sundays noon to 6 pm.

Bar do Horto
780 Rua Pacheco Leão
Jardim Botânico
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3114 8439
www.dohorto.com.br

You can't beat the location: Set on a quiet corner opposite Rio's Jardim Botânico, Bar do Horto spills out onto a street shaded by tropical almond trees. Oddball lighting effects and a happy clutter of knickknacks—paper butterflies clustered around Chinese lanterns, faux-religious statues propped up on the bar—brighten its Aladdin's Cave interior. It's worth kicking off with a caipisaquë de caju, a sake-based caipirinha flavored with cashew, but malt-rich microbrewery beer best matches the classic Brazilian food on the menu, such as Arborio rice dumplings with herbs and Parmesan, shrimp-and-cream-cheese tapioca pasties, and a spicy chicken-and-cashew stew.

Opens daily at 10 am.

Espirito Santa
264 Rua Almirante Alexandrino
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 8154 9793
www.espiritosanta.com.br

Chef Natacha Fink has made this Santa Teresa's most popular restaurant with her creative take on cozinha amazônica, offering a seven-page menu as exotic to most Brazilians as it is to foreigners. Try the piranha soup; the tambaqui—a giant river fish that grows to an astonishing 66 pounds—in coconut milk and spices; or the equally zesty but lesser-known namorado or matrinchã fish. There's a scattering of meat-based Brazilian staples for the seafood-averse: Highly recommended is the feijoada de rolo (rice rolls filled with black beans and pork), spiced with a superhot chili sauce. Fink returns to the Amazon for desserts based on bacuri, a yellow fruit favored for its sweet, gummy pulp, and cupuaçu, which so resembles cacao that mothers feed it to their children as a chocolate substitute.

Open Mondays and Tuesdays noon to 6 pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays noon to midnight, and Sundays noon to 10 pm.

Gero Rio
157 Rua Aníbal de Mendonça
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2239 8158
www.fasano.com.br

Evidence of Rio's general gastronomic upgrade can be found at the city's latest Italian favorite. Part of the Fasano empire—which made a big mark in São Paulo with restaurants and a hotel before opening a hotel right here in Ipanema—it brings its sister city's more sophisticated air (soft lighting, exposed brick, and wood floors) and serves traditional Italian dishes such as fresh pasta and seafood.

Open daily noon to 4:30 pm and 7 pm to 1:30 am.

Hotel Photo
Gula Gula
57 Rua Henrique Dumont
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2259 3084
www.gulagula.com.br

Housed in a 1920s mansion on a side street off Rua Visconde de Pirajá, Gula Gula, the lead outlet of this classy steak-house chain, is a stalwart dining option that attracts upper-crust Carioca regulars with its well-executed grilled meats, chicken, and fish. Rio's daily O Globo newspaper, however, singled out the vegetarian options—palm hearts and watercress with raisin dressing; Andean corn with a piquant pineapple sauce; smoked salmon with mint leaves; and the Mediterranean Salad, a towering mound of shrimp, squid, zucchini, and tarragon-marinated hearts of palm—for its Best Salad prize in 2010. The cavernous dining rooms include an airy antechamber with two-tone floor tiles and potted palms and a wood-clad bar with orange acrylic seating. The street-facing terrace is great for admiring Ipanema's bright and beautiful.

Open Sundays to Thursdays noon to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 1 am.

Miam Miam
34 Rua General Góes Monteiro
Botafogo
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2244 0125
www.miammiam.com.br

Tourists tend to skip the Botafogo district, a heavily residential area edging the Guanabara Bay shore, north of Copacabana, but Miam Miam makes it worth at least one visit. Aimed unashamedly at the young and hip, it is modeled on '50s and '60s designs, from vinyl-and-chrome chairs and acrylic place mats to the tortoiseshell-and-orange Formica-topped tables. Indeed, it's as much bar as restaurant, attracting more than its fair share of Rio's slinky and svelte, who linger over inventive, fruit-based cocktails as an eclectic soundtrack—ranging from bossa nova to wildly hippy flute tunes—provides a punchy background. Nevertheless, the shaven-headed waiters manage to combine cool attitude with warm service, and chef Roberta Ciasca, who learned her trade at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, cooks an inventive menu with panache, pairing duck trouxinha dumplings with caramelized orange, pepper-crusted tuna with lentil ragout, or stewing up spicy prawn moquecas with curry.

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 7:30 pm to 12:30 am, Saturdays 8 pm to 1:30 am.

Nova Capela
96 Avenida Mem de Sá
Lapa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2252 6228

One of the few places to eat well in Lapa, this century-old Portuguese restaurant has become an institution, much loved for its award-winning baixa gastronomia (rough translation: honest fare). This is the cooking that lets Brazilians feel at home, even when they're out, particularly on Friday nights, when the botequim bars and samba clubs lining Lapa's Avenida Mem de Sá are bursting at the seams with suited workers bellowing out salty stories. Burly old-world waiters in cheap black tie ladle out steaming bowls of chicken soup, pickled tongue, and roast kid, all served with endless rounds of almost obligatory ice-cold chope draft beer. Don't expect ambience: Nova Capela's interior has remained unchanged since an early-1970s refurb, with its florid brown wall tiles and Formica-topped tables brutally exposed by fluorescent strip lighting. But there's a reason this place has survived so long: Despite its lack of sophistication, the food is consistently tasty.

Open daily 11 am to 5 am.

Polis Sucos
70A Rua Maria Quitéria
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2247 2518

There are hundreds of juice bars in Rio, but Polis Sucos, just two blocks from Ipanema beach, regularly wins prizes for its fresh Amazonian fruit juices and laid-back vibe. It's been around for some four decades and still draws the crowds, who spill from the simple counter onto a sidewalk corner shaded by almond trees. For a mere four reis (about $1.75), you get a bewildering choice that runs from the popular—guava, passionfruit, kiwi, papaya, or watermelon—to lesser known concoctions based on cashew, fruta do conde (sweetsop) or acerola (Barbados cherry). You can opt for an extra shot of vitamins and even add chlorophyll, or order a high-energy açaí shake, topping it with granola.

Open 8 am to midnight.

Hotel Photo
Porcão
218 Rua Barão da Torre
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3202 9158
www.porcao.com.br

This churrascaria chain is a hungry-man institution—after all, the name charmingly translates into "big pig." Come starving, and don't burn out too soon. First up is a massive buffet "salad" bar, with cold cuts, sushi, hearts of palm, salad, cheeses, and seafood casseroles. Meanwhile, waiters push around carts of drinks and make fresh juice-and-alcohol concoctions. Then come the meats, delivered tableside: pork, chicken wrapped with bacon, chicken hearts, all manner of beef preparations (including a sumptuous cheese-rubbed one). The best cut of all is picanha—the equivalent of filet mignon. Sides include black beans, french fries, farofa, onion rings, and cheese balls. You can only stop the onslaught by flipping your coaster from the green side to the red. Except for drinks and dessert, it's all included in the per-person price. Don't plan anything afterward—except a nap. There are locations throughout the city, but this one, in Ipanema, is consistently the best.

Open Mondays through Thursdays noon to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 12:30 am, and Sundays noon to 11 pm.

Restaurante Aprazível
62 Rua Aprazível
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2508 9174
www.aprazivel.com.br

Nestled in a private jungle of jackfruit, mango, and star fruit trees, this artfully designed eatery became Santa Teresa's first gourmet restaurant when it opened in 1996. Its terraces, patios, and Amazonian-style thatched huts all afford commanding views of Guanabara Bay. The menu creatively interprets traditional dishes from northeastern Brazil: prawns grilled with saffron rice, fresh crab salads, and tropical fish sautéed in orange sauce, served with cashew-and-coconut rice and a roasted banana. It's a perfect lazy lunching spot. Get in the mood with a custom-designed, devilishly potent cocktail—we recommend the Carambela, which combines sparkling wine, rum, star fruit, and mint—and save room for one of the exotic ice creams whipped up from the cacaolike cupuaçu, the energy-giving açaí palm fruit, or Brazil nuts.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 1 am, Sundays noon to 7 pm.

Zazá Bistrô Tropical
40 Rua Joana Angélica
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2247 9102
www.zazabistro.com.br

The contemporary menu at this hot spot for post-beach lounging shamelessly mixes its metaphors—ceviche to dim sum to ravioli. The terrace is sweet, but everyone goes upstairs to kick off their shoes (it's compulsory) and recline, pashalike, on pillows in the candlelight to drink caipirinhas de saquê—made with Japanese sake and cachaça.

Open for dinner Mondays through Thursdays 7:30 pm to 12:30 am, Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 pm to 1:30 am.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.