By Kim Dumo, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Pólo Botafogo is an association of twenty-eight restaurants, bars and clubs located in Botafogo, creating a culinary district well worth exploring in this increasingly popular neighborhood. The organization recently celebrated their six-year anniversary and released a bilingual guide that is distributed in hotels, bar and restaurants throughout Rio de Janeiro.
This association isn’t simply a geocentric collection of restaurants though, as it was also created to encourage trade, leisure, arts, tourism and also a stimulus program to aid entrepreneurs in opening new businesses.
At the heart of the region is Cobal do Humatia, where you can find Italian food, American drinks and Brazilian BBQ. Cobal do Humatia has a large outdoor seating area where families, couples and galeras (groups) alike enjoy their meals and outdoor seating.
Alex Peltin, from San Diego, California explains, “It’s our favorite girls-night-out spot. We just buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it with Christ the Redeemer in the background.”
Beyond the Cobal though, the densest population of restaurants can be found in the area of Rua Real Grandeza and Visconde de Caravelas. This stretch of the neighborhood becomes a culinary walking tour for finding the next Pólo Botafogo location.
The taste of Italy is particularly well represented with Espaco da Gula, an Italian-inspired restaurant serving a wide menu. It is set in a restored mansion and is well known for their ‘all-you-can-eat pizza’ on Friday and Sunday night.
Pólo Botafogo has plenty of options for after-dinner entertainment, with a slew of clubs and bars. Espirito do Chopp is a gathering area where expats and gringos alike share crepes and drink beer from 11AM until the last person leaves.
Those interested in karaoke can visit Far Up, which is a club featuring karaoke on Tuesdays, disco on Thursdays and live samba with hip-hop on Sunday nights.
Satisfy a sweet tooth craving in Pólo Botafogo and sample Piffer Torteria with their pies, tarts and wide selection of cheesecakes. Crème Caramelo offers a different twist by serving Brazilian fruits turned into ice cream while also having light snacks available.
Cake & Co. is a beautiful shop located in a vintage home with salty treats as well as doces (sweets) like Quindim. One the most popular sweet shops is Browneria, which features chocolate as their main ingredient. They have chocolate soufflés, chocolate pies, brigadeiro and of course, chocolate brownies.
All these eating points make Botafogo’s culinary scene more appealing then ever, and for a full list visit their web page. Pólo Botafogo’s aim is to highlight the greater points of Botafogo, attract more visitors and improve the quality of life for the locals with cultural events as well.
Fanny Rennelt describes: “A friend and I just went to the Latin Culture festival in Botafogo, and it was great to see so much culture awareness, especially in an area with much to offer, like Botafogo.”