By Felicity Clarke, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The culinary map of the Rio becomes democratized this month with the return of Rio Restaurant Week. From May 10th to the 23rd, more than a hundred restaurants across the city will be offering a special menu for the event’s fixed promotional price enabling an exciting exploration of the city’s diverse food scene.
Building on the success of the first Rio Restaurant Week last May, the 2010 event offers a fixed price of R$27.90 + R$1 (to charity) for a three course lunch and R$39.90 + R$1 (to charity) for a three course dinner – excluding service and drinks.
For this price, foodies can have the special menus at top participating food establishments, creating a fantastic opportunity for residents and tourists alike to discover the culinary talents in Rio.
The event forms part of the international Restaurant Week circuit which started in New York eighteen years ago and has since developed in more than a hundred cities around the world. The event was brought to Brazil by the São Paulo restaurateur Emerson Silveiro, inspired by his passion for food and knowledge of the event in New York where he lived for twelve years.
Here in Rio, the event was started last year with the sixty participating restaurants reporting success far exceeding their expectations. For many it’s an opportunity to attract new customers and introduce different cuisines, which was exactly the result for one of the major 2009 success stories Thai restaurant Sawasdee in Leblon.
Opening their doors to similar success this year include Sergio Arno’s La Pasta Giala in Barra da Tijuca, the popular pizzaria Stravaganze in Ipanema and Botafogo’s Real Astoria with its extensive seafood menu and beautiful view of Sugarloaf mountain.
Rio Restaurant Week 2010 expands on the previous year with a few new features. During the two weeks, student chefs at the Alain Ducasse Foundation will be invited to work alongside top chefs and learn new techniques in the kitchens of at least 26 of the participating restaurants, including Skylab, Wasabi Sushi and Opium.
On the other side of serving pass, there is a focus this year on combining beer with food with special recommendations from the beer sommelier from Devassa, one of the event’s sponsors. Each participating restaurant will have suggestions of beers that complement the dishes with different styles of Schincariol beer.
As with last year, Rio Restaurant Week is not only working to raise awareness and stimulate the growth of the culinary scene, but has a social agenda with part of the profits going to philanthropic projects. One of the recipients this year is the Projeto Uerê, an education project and model school in the Maré community with a mission to promote social inclusion and provide youngsters with the skills and confidence to realize transformations in their lives.
With an increase in participating restaurants and broadening of the event’s remit, Rio Restaurant Week 2010 is a great opportunity to eat your way around Rio sampling the wide range of delicious culinary delights the city has to offer at a reduced, set price. For full information on participating restaurants and their menus visit the website.