A reminder of Bahia’s boom days, Casarão Amarelo is a square-fronted, canary yellow mansion on the beach front with a garden and courtyard. At the hands of a Swiss chef it serves relatively sophisticated European food, as well freshly hauled seafood and well-prepared Brazilian dishes. It is the pick of Itacaré’s restaurants to celebrate a special occasion particularly, as the wine list is worth a look.
Towards the back of the town, attached to the Tio Zé pousada, is a relaxed and open-fronted creperia. Tio Gu‘s long (and translated into English) menu is a draw for many visitors looking for a sweet cheap bite to eat after surfing or meal in itself later on in the day. The staff are particularly accomplished in drawing little notes and scenes onto each person’s plate with sauce.
A relative newcomer to the Itacaré restaurant scene, Jiló opened in 2015 in a house overlooking the orla on Praia da Coroinha. The couple who run it, splitting the duties between kitchen and waiting tables, take particular care to welcome guests (Ellen speaks English) and to bring the best of Brazilian food cooked with fresh ingredients. Red meat comes from the grill and the tuna ceviche is unconventional but no less delicious.
Upstairs, above a shop and under the stars, Flor de Sal dishes up some of the best pasta in town. The risotto, either mushroom – made with three different types – shrimp, or squid ink are all fail-safe bets. For carb-dodgers, the meat dishes on the menu include quail, chicken and beef, and there is plenty of choice for the kids too.
It may not look the classiest from the outside, but the rustic vibe of Sabores da Bahia belies the best moqueca in town. Bahia’s national dish is a stew made with dendê oil, tomato and vegetables and a generous handful of shrimp – it’s something everyone should try. The menu here is small but the dishes are large and the service welcoming. Ask what’s freshest fish-wise that day and don’t overlook the beef picanha.
A bit of a well-kept secret, Agua Na Boca‘s hearty homemade grub pulls the same people back night after night. It is open-fronted and brightly lit, the walls are covered in photos of film and music stars and there are always a reassuring number of Brazilians in there. The carne sol (dried beef) with plantain is a long-standing favourite, as is the moqueca.
On a little patch of paradise in the form of a beach called Itacarezinho (‘little Itacaré’), you’ll find a restaurant of the same name – as both are around 15 km (9.3 miles) from the town centre, people tend to make a day trip to this beach and others nearby. Itacarezinho is the only restaurant in the vicinity, and serves up scrumptious contemporary Brazilian, African and European-inspired food in a lovely sitting under the coconut trees. The only problem here is forcing yourself up and off at the end of the day.
It’s not unusual in small Brazilian towns to have restaurants dedicated to their favourite desert. Açaí is frozen sorbet made of pulped purple fruits from the Amazon that are loaded with energy and usually served topped with granola and banana. It is perfectly acceptable to tuck in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a post-surf snack. Açaí Pimenta Gourmet is the place to get yours in Itacaré, though the little shopfront also sells well-stuffed sandwiches, pancakes and tapiocas.
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