Although we may find ourselves in the middle of Lent, the recent explosion of great new restaurants in Rio has meant that we have been rather inspired to fall off the wagon when it comes to healthy eating. So to embrace things whole heartedly, as we like to do at Dehouche, we have been inspired to dream up our ultimate Culinary Day in Rio. Dehouche also organize tailor-made culinary tours around the city to explore its hidden spots while sampling some of Rio’s tastiest treats, and while we don’t want to give away all our secrets, this should be enough to whet your appetite.
The Whole Hog– One of the first reasons we fell in love with Brazil was the country’s love of cake for breakfast… yes, even rich, tripe layered chocolate cake with frosting is a perfectly legitimate option to start the day. Then we got distracted by the ham and cheese toasties with their abundant layers of the local quiejo minas cheese. Then we discovered the brunch at the Copacabana Palace and our problems were solved. As well as serving local Brazilian treats, The Copa brunch skips from seafood platters to Italian antipasti to freshly baked pastries, served with unlimited bubbles around their gorgeous pool.
For Bikini Babes– With its abundance of tropical fruits, Rio rivals California in its array of fresh juices. For a healthy breakfast packed with antioxidants, head to Bibi Sucos or Balada Mix in Leblon for Acai with granola and banana – the famed Amazon fruit is favoured by Madonna for its powerful health properties, washed down with Agua de Coco: 5 times more hydrating than water, it is the ultimate hangover cure.
Straddling the rocks between Ipanema and Copacabana and with views across the sea towards Suagrloaf, the Brazilian military occupies one of the most gorgeous spots in Zona Sul. Luckily those not in uniform can pay 2 reais to enter the fort and have coffee at the Café do Forte (the sister establishment of the belle-epoque dream Confiteria Colombo in the centre) which serves strong Brazilian coffee and Portuguese pastries in the shade of the almond trees.
The Whole Hog– Loved by locals as the more laid back version of Rio, Niteroi lies across the water from downtown and can be accessed by the long bridge or a short Catamaran hop across the bay. While famed for its futuristic modern art museum designed by Nieymeyer, its fish market is one of our favourite reasons to visit. While most visitors pick from the freshest of the daily catch and head upstairs to have it cooked up, Dehouche arrange for clients to visit the market with one of Rio’s top chefs who then takes them back to their kitchen in Santa Teresa to learn how to make seafood classics such as Moqueca.
Bikini Babes – One of Brazil’s best inventions for sushi lovers is the rodizio- a set menu from which you can order as much sushi and sashimi as you like for a set price. It is the high class version of the ‘all you can eat buffet’ and a current favourite among well-heeled Cariocas. Good spots to experiment with how just much tuna sashimi you can stomach in one sitting are Mini Mok, Togu and Sushimar.
The Whole Hog– A hole in the wall bar in the quiet neighbourhood of Urca, Bar Urca serves arguably the tastiest seafood snacks in the city, best drunk with a few cold beers while lounging against the cobble-stone wall overlooking the bay. Their caldo do peixe (seafood soup) is a must try.
Bikini Babes– The Fasano roof top. If you have been a true bikini babe, then by now you deserve to show it all off over sundowners by the infinity pool on top of the Fasano.
The Whole Hog– For the uneducated, Brazilian bar snacks translate into wonderfully deep fried nuggets of joy and any self discerning carioca will claim they know the best hidden spot for the real deal. Die hard favourite for bolinhos de bacalau, pernil (pork) sandwiches and an authentic vibe is Bracarense in Leblon, while Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa trumps with their Camarao pasties, Ginger cachaca shots and Sunday afternoon samba sessions.
Bikini Babes- There is no getting out of this one.
The Whole Hog– The Brazilian picanha can these days rival even Argentina’s sweetest sirloin and no better place to try it than at a full on churrasco- a traditional Brazilian style bbq where waiters present diners with an endless selection of different cuts. Sao Paulo import Fogo do Chao has recently opened in a beautiful location overlooking Guanabara bay, making it the perfect spot for pigging out long into the night.
Bikini Babes– Located high in the hills above the centro, Aprazivel epitomizes the best of Santa Teresa’s laid back bohemian spirit and serves specialities from across Brazil, including whole grilled trunks of palm heart that are not only healthy but ecologically sourced.
A Carioca stalwart, Pizzeria Guanabara serves typically cheesy Brazilian slices well past daybreak, accompanied by endless rounds of choppes. Running along the main street in leblon, this is a great people watching spot where you can regularly catch off duty telenovela stars on their way home.
To plan your own culinary experience around Rio, contact Dehouche.