Brazil is a country rich in history, culture and immigration, so it comes as no surprise that its cuisine is greatly varied. From the country’s native flavours to introductions from the Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, Germans, Polish, Africans and later, Japanese, Brazil’s food offering takes influences from all over the world and reworks it with local ingredients to create dishes and flavours that are unique and anything but boring. Rio de Janeiro is teeming with restaurants, from the contemporary and experimental to the meat-specialising churrascarias and bars serving up empadinhas (stuffed baked or deep-fried pastries) alongside your caipirinha.
Outside of the country it originates, Brazil is quite possibly one of the best places to go for a modern take on Japanese food. São Paulo leads the way, but Rio has Gurumê, a relatively new restaurant that strikes the balance between simplicity and sophistication both in its dishes and design. This is a casual space that promotes all-day dining, offering a relaxed yet highly-reputable restaurant in the city. For more information, visit Gurumê’s website.
In a small converted townhouse, Volta serves up traditional Brazilian comfort food at its best. The space is retro-inspired, filled with colourful furniture from the 1950s and ‘60s, with a feeling that you’re dining at someone’s home; fitting, since the recipes have been passed down from the owners’ grandmothers. Here, Brazil’s many flavours come together for a modern take on classic dishes – visit Volta’s website for more information.
Nestled in the hills above Rio’s bohemian Santa Teresa, Aprazível is a family-run restaurant where dining tables are tucked away in tree houses and on rooftops, with some of the most impressive views across the city. Owner and chef Ana Castilha blends her Brazilian upbringing with French Culinary Institute-training to create a menu that’s an innovative mix of native ingredients and French techniques. Go to the Aprazível website to find out more.
Words by Angharad Jones