By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Dining out in Rio can be a real treat with a variety of up-market eateries around the city, and the arrival of the sixth edition of Rio’s Restaurant Week may be just the reason to get out and try somewhere new. The popular Restaurant Week, which originated in New York, is celebrated in one hundred cities throughout the world and lasts until June 3rd.
For Rio’s Restaurant Week, 51 of Rio’s top restaurants, bars and cafes, will give people the opportunity to sample the finest cuisines as they offer a special discount for the event.
Each combines three course dinners on their specially made menus for the week, setting the prices at R$31.90 for lunch and R$43.90 for dinner. However, drinks and service (ten percent) are separate. In each restaurant the customer can choose from two starters, two main courses and two deserts.
Mary Byker, an English expatriate in Rio who owns Mekong in Leblon with his wife Ana Vance explained: “The best part of restaurant week is that a lot of people come to try the food for the first time,” and in terms of what is different about the 2012 event is, “this year has seen an increase in the numbers of people coming.”
Jonathan Gil, the manager at Eñe, also says they are getting a lot of customers in for Rio Restaurant Week. “We are a Spanish restaurant and we have a special menu with some delicious food for the occasion [...] for the starter on the dinner menu, we give the customer a choice of a cold vegetable soup or bread and a Spanish style sausage with eggs.”
Gil goes on to discuss the main courses “we offer a local white fish called garoupa with a lovely bisque sauce, it is very tasty, and there is also Frango à La Catalana, a Catalonian style chicken with peanuts and prunes which is absolutely delicious.”
To top it off with the desert “we have a chocolate souffle which we serve with an orange and ginger ice cream, and we have an Eñe version of churros, it’s quite nice.” It is possible to make a reservation with Eñe from the Rio Restaurant Week website.
Luiza Cardoso, a University student from Rio, explains that she wouldn’t normally dine at the restaurants listed for the event. However, now that there are set prices she is more enthusiastic about the prospect of dining out and she is “considering dining at one of the restaurants for Rio Restaurant Week.”
She continues that Zozô is usually quite expensive but “the food there is divine.” Cardoso describes how they used “to have a kind of fish topped with champagne bubbles.”
Speaking of the restaurants that caught her eye, Cardoso says “Opium in Ipanema is a quite well known restaurant, as well as Manekineko, which serves Japanese food. Other interesting ones on the list are the French Bistrot du Leme, St. Bastien and Terrazas.”
This event is a success as it is giving Rio’s eateries a lot of exposure, and for those looking for a reason to try somewhere new, Rio Restaurant Week offers the chance to experiment with Rio’s best restaurants, and the discount certainly doesn’t hurt either.