where to eat in Santa Teresa – Rio
One of my favorite neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro is Santa Teresa. This bohemian part of the city is known for the historical sites, good food (the traditional feijoada), live music (samba and chorinho), handcrafts and famous streetcars (trams) passing by.
This sort of carioca Montmatre is where many artists live or have their ateliers. It´s a great place for buying souvenirs and strolling around.
Two great places to eat authentic Brazilian food are:
Bar do Mineiro – for a great feijoada.
Aprazível – for a taste of the different Brazilian regions.
Bar do Mineiro is a small hole in a wall that is famous for its feijoada. It´s usually full, so put your name on the list and drink away extremely cold beers and while you´re at it, order some pasteis as an appetizer.
It might be a good half hour or so before you get to sit down. A pastel is a fried dough with cheese or grinded meat inside that goes perfectly well with that cold beer you can only find in Brazil.
Before going to Brazil or meeting a Brazilian, a lot of foreigners know about our love for rice and beans, but don´t know about one of our famous plates – feijoada. You see, there´s everyday beans (black or pinto) and there´s feijoada, which is a plate of beans on a whole different level.
Black beans are slowly cooked with pork meat and sausage for hours and then are served with white rice and manioc flour fried with butter (farofa). As you can imagine, this isn´t the lightest of meals, so it´s our weekend dish.
In another part of Santa Teresa, you can find Aprazível restaurant.
Now, this is a very different style from Bar do Mineiro, starting by prices, the ambience, decoration, type of food and location. Aprazível is a bit more upscale but still authentic. Situated at the top of a hill, there´s a great view to appreciate.
I also love that the kitchen is open and you can see fresh dishes pass by.
The menu is a like a journey around Brazil. There´s the famous escondidinho, which in Portuguese means “the little hidden” (shredded sundried meat topped with mashed yucca and cheese) – as in the meat is hidden under yucca puree… and the carioca version with shrimp instead of meat.
There´s casquinha de caranguejo (seasoned and baked crab meat served on its shell) with farofa on the side.
Also as appetizers, there´s warm pão de queijo (cheese bread) and pastel.
The main dishes are bit more refined. You can choose from galinha caipira (chicken cooked on its blood) served with sweet cooked bananas, goat on wine sauce with inhame (a root, similar to yucca) puree, fish from sweet water, as we say in Brazil, fresh water fish with orange sauce and coconut rice; moqueca (fish stew cooked with coconut mil and palm oil); and many more.
At the end of your meal, you can choose from a large selection, a cachaça (distilled hard liquor made from sugar cane).
Don´t have one too many or it will be hard to go up the stairs.