By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As the nights draw in and turn cooler, many of Rio’s residents are enjoying long evenings spent indulging in a number of the culinary delights on offer. Unsurprisingly there are a wealth of top-class restaurants in Rio to choose from, catering to different tastes and settings. Pricey though they may be, they are certainly worth it when it comes to taste and setting, and ultimately provide the perfect excuse to get out and about the city.
A firm favorite amongst the residents of Rio, Giuseppe Grill is located on Avenida Bartolomeu Mitre, Leblon. Established in 2007, this restaurant has featured in both the New York Times and O Globo.
The menu boasts over twenty coal grilled Argentine and Brazilian cuts of Beef while a table outside the kitchen displays the seafood catch of the day, brought in fresh from the nearby islands. Just about everything from porgy, dusky grouper, red mullet, snook, pompano, snowy grouper, lobster and octopus are on offer, proving that Giuseppe Grill is both a fish lover’s paradise and a meat eater’s idea of heaven.
It also has an extensive wine list, and the waiters actually appear to know their stuff when it comes to choosing the right flavors to accompany the meal. Furthermore, the clean and crisp yet cozy decor makes this the ideal place for a romantic dinner or a business lunch.
Situated in a large courtyard in the heart of Santa Teresa, this restaurant is a hidden oasis of quiet and tranquility. It was once a private residency owned by Ana Castilho who now runs her home as a restaurant and operates as head chef.
The quirky feel of the place is achieved by fantastic wooden furniture fashioned almost straight from the trunks of what appear to be old Amazonian hardwoods. Fresh, green foliage is everywhere and tables are placed in a happily haphazard order which avoids the regimented layout of certain other restaurants.
Not surprisingly it has been named “one of the city’s best restaurants” By Vogue Reporter Pippa Holt. Famous for its breathtaking view across downtown and Guanabara Bay, this is most certainly a couples’ paradise and the perfect venue for a long lunch or evening spent admiring the scenery whilst enjoying a slow bottle of wine.
The food isn’t bad either. In fact, the least extravagantly priced restaurant in this review, its menu offers an interesting take on Brazilian cuisine. Castilho gives a modern twist to traditional ingredients such as Aipim (cassava) and Churrasco (sausage), by infusing the food with heady tropical flavors.
The fact that this restaurant is part of the Fasano franchise that now consists of both top quality restaurants and a hotel, is in itself both a recommendation to visit and a testament to its quality. Situated in the trendy neighborhood of Ipanema on Rua Aníbal de Mendonça, Gero opened in 2001 following the long-running and continuing success of its sister restaurant by the same name in São Paulo.
Its cuisine is predominantly Italian and its signature dishes are the homemade pasta. The idea behind the clean, contemporary design of the venue is an effort by Rodrigo Fasano to create a bistro restaurant less formal than the rest of the Fasano empire, yet with the same emphasis on style and quality.
“All the world’s great restaurants have a Bistro ‘à Côté, a simplified and less formal version.” Along with its many charms, Gero can count some famous names amongst its customers including international supermodel, Gisele Bundchen.
Vegetarian diners will be in for a rare treat here as well. Fasano is one of the few restaurants that, in a city which caters largely to carnivorous tastes, has an extensive array of dishes free of meat. The desert menu is also fantastic, as it should be for an Italian restaurant, so be sure to leave room for the famous tiramisu!