Cuisine in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, is typified by local produce and traditional recipes. Seafood-based fare abounds in the bay-side metropolis as does churrasco, a traditional Brazilian method of barbecuing meat. Those looking for something different will not be disappointed either, with fine dining establishments offering cuisines such as Japanese and Italian as an alternative to local Bahian fare. These are ten of our favorite cultural restaurants in Salvador.
Seafood restaurant Mistura is the brainchild of husband and wife and entrepreneurs Paolo Alfonsi, who is Italian, and Brazilian Andrea Ribeiro. Mistura originally started out life as a beach shack haunt in Itapuã. Often referred to as the best seafood in Salvador, Mistura’s cuisine is an exciting fusion of its owners’ Mediterranean and Bahian roots and has since become a mainstay on Salvador’s dining scene. The rustic yet contemporary space serves fare that will make any pescatarian’s mouth water. Start with a red octopus ceviche with coconut and Sicilian lemon or fried calamari, followed by a hearty main of fillet of whiting served with Moroccan couscous, lobster and shrimp. Finish your meal with a delicious dessert like the chocolate terrine with apricots and crunchy almonds or pannacotta served with fresh cream, syrup and orange berries.
For casual, laid back beachside dining look no further than the Beach Stop Restaurante and Bar at Pituba. The cozy restaurant is located right on the beach surrounded by palm trees and golden sands with fantastic views out over the Atlantic Ocean. Beach Stop Restaurante and Bar specializes in steak and seafood, perfect after a day spent relaxing on the beach. For a filling dish, opt for the restaurant’s shrimp risotto, sirloin steak or shrimp lasagne. Beach Stop Restaurante and Bar also has a thriving nightlife with regular live bands and a range of beers on tap.
Another popular churrasco-style barbecue restaurant is the Boi Preto Grill, located on Avenida Otávio Mangabeira in a scenic position overlooking the beach and ocean. The restaurant, which has been in operation for over 20 years, aims to provide guests with a sense of perfection and refinement while dining and its spacious saloon-style premises. Many meat delicacies are available, such as Cordeiro lamb, piconha nobre (a prime sirloin cut), and bife ancho, which is similar to a rib eye steak, alongside dishes like camarão empanado (breaded shrimp), mushroom risotto and nhoque frito (fried gnocchi). The buffet restaurant also offers a selection of international fare like olives, cheeses and seafood and dessert classics including fruit salads and mini gateaux.
Located in the Hotel Atlantic Towers, Alfredo di Roma is an Italian restaurant that was established in 1993 and quickly became successful, winning over a loyal clientele who rave about the restaurant’s elegant ambiance, carefully selected ingredients and delicious pasta. Today the restaurant is considered the best Italian establishment in Salvador, and Alfredo di Roma boasts the most famous fettuccine in all of Brazil. The beautifully decorated restaurant features varying shades of varnished wood flooring, neutral walls and upholstery, and ensures the dishes it creates adhere to the traditional techniques and recipes of Italian cuisine. Menu highlights include fettuccine with shrimp and tomatoes and the steak with black pepper and gorgonzola ravioli. For a more South American-influenced dish, try the Peruvian gnocchi with herb butter, shrimp and asparagus in a tomato sauce.
South American and Bahian cuisine abounds at Paraiso Tropical, a charming restaurant that operates out of a rustic cottage in the pretty, affluent neighborhood of Cabula. Since its opening, the restaurant, which has its very own organic vegetable garden and orchard, has become a local icon of Bahian food. Specialties here include arroz de nabucetê, a rice dish made with clams, green coconut, mango and broccoli, and talharim com frutos de mar, or noodles with shrimp, lobster and octopus. Vegetarians will love the moqueca vegetarian – a vegetable stew with green coconut, fruit and aromatic spices.