Despite good food being in abundance in Brazil, there are few haute cuisine restaurants. Many restaurants draw from Brazil’s ample cultural background, yet arguably, the best ones make the most of the bounty of local ingredients that grow natively in Brazil. Here are some of Brazil’s best restaurants.
Restaurant, Contemporary, Brazilian, $$$
You can’t go wrong with a two-Michelin-star restaurant when it gets to quality cuisine. D.O.M is São Paulo-based and is led by world renowned chef, Alex Atala. The key to the restaurant’s appeal is the local touch – shunning the usual exclusive ingredients of caviar and truffle sauce, Atala seeks out food native to Brazil, in particular drawing from the Amazon’s ample supply of incredible offerings. Expect unusual pairings, superb wine, sublime service, and dedicated waiters at this upscale establishment.
Being the financial hub and the largest city in Brazil, it’s unsurprising that São Paulo has some of the country’s finest restaurants. Mani is one of them, with its original and creative menu that embraces contemporary innovation and brings out the best in local, native ingredients. Try the taster menu matched with wine, while the waiters expertly reel off flavor pairings. Be sure to make a reservation – it gets packed, with a long wait in line.
The nearby serene lake Lagoa in Rio de Janeiro sets the scene for this luxurious restaurant. The chefs cleverly mix French classics with Brazilian native ingredients to create sublime dishes with explosive flavor combinations. Highlights on the menu include duck magret with passion fruit, and the quail with onion and raisin manioc farofa. Try the three- or four-course menu to try a wider range of its offerings, and rely on the waiters’ expert knowledge of wine pairings.
It’s the décor that is the first most appealing aspect. Built around a large, ancient fig tree, the restaurant continues that natural vibe with a sweeping wooden terrace and wooden furniture, creating a jungle-esque scene. Yet the décor doesn’t take away from the delicious flavors of the restaurant’s cuisine, which serves hearty feijoada, tender steaks, and fresh seafood.
Located in the north of the country in Belem, La Madre Ristorante is a French-inspired restaurant that makes the most of local, Amazonian ingredients. One of the main highlights on the menu is the prawns which are fresh and complemented with great food pairings. The steak is another accomplished option and comes served with an unusual yet delicious banana farofa.
Fogo de Chão has come to represent the classic Brazilian barbeque, and offers a unique dining experience that allows guests to sample the best of Brazilian meat. Waiters glide through the restaurant carrying huge skewers of meat, stopping at each table to offer the various food choices to diners. Meat options range from beef to the classic picanha cut, to chicken, pork, lamb, and chicken hearts, the latter a Brazilian delicacy. There is also an ample salad and pasta bar to accompany the all-you-can-eat service.
Wooden decking, breathtaking views, and the bohemian vibe of Santa Teresa create a relaxing atmosphere for a sublime dining experience at this Brazilian restaurant in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. The food is all home-made and draws from locally-produced ingredients with the occasional unusual yet wonderful addition such as duck, goat, and lamb. Try the caipirinhas that use locally-made cachaca for a smooth, lifting drink.