Fortaleza’s cuisine diversity is ever-growing, so be sure to check out these top restaurants that showcase a variety of food options, from Italian pizza and pasta, to Korean kimchi and, of course, Brazilian steak.
Restaurante Jardim Do Alchymist
Restaurant, European, $$$
Restaurante Jardim Do Alchymist is quite possibly the most charming eatery you’ll find in Fortaleza. Owner Giorgio Bonelli brought his luxury-level property mindset to Brazil and transformed the restaurant into a cozy yet sophisticated setting. Our favorite spot is the garden area, but take a good look around at the details and you’ll find exquisite paintings and décor that blend with Brazil’s natural tropical elements. Restaurante Jardim Do Alchymist’s executive chef, Danilo Allochis, blends Brazilian food, regional Ceará dishes, as well as Italian flavors masterfully.
Steak lovers will want to check out Santa Grelha Meireles. It’s renowned for the Brazilian cut called picanha, but the ribeye and prime rib are also worth a taste. Their diverse menu is available online in an impressive 12 languages, so if you’re not sure what might suit your palate take a look ahead of time. Their steaks are obviously the star menu item, but don’t forget to leave room for dessert, like the cocada de forno, which combines sweet coconut flakes toasted in the open-flame oven with tapioca ice cream for a refreshing treat.
Diners describe Restaurante Coco Bambu as “spectacular,” and it’s easy to see why. Their seafood dishes only use the freshest ingredients, and they are expertly prepared to bring out the best Brazilian flavors. This restaurant group has locations throughout the country and has found success with its high quality ingredients, outstanding service and affordable prices.
Any restaurant that has “Champagne in the morning” plastered on their mural wall is a win in our book. But even more enticing than Moleskine Gastrobar’s urban rustic décor is its menu. Moleskine Gastrobar describes itself as a high gastronomic local with the laid-back coolness of a bar. We think they hit the mark with five different spots to enjoy: their street bar area, the loft location, the rooftop views, the cultural space (great for events) and their wine cellar, for intimate evenings. Their fresh dishes (like ahi tuna bites) and special Wednesday night wine and jazz nights are the perfect combo.
For the best sushi around and some deep house hits, head to Fuji Sushi Lounge. While there, try their artful fillet with shiitake and shimeji mushrooms, or their popular ceviche. Fresh oysters and a wide array of sushi are also available, but go during happy hour to get their best deals on food and drink combos.
This contemporary Italian restaurant has two locations to check out, one in the Beira Mar neighborhood and the other in Jardins. Visit either Geppo’s Restaurante location and enjoy classic Italian dishes like gnocchi, but with a fresh Brazilian twist, like their banana gnocchi paired with crusted tilapia.
Vegetarians and vegans can find refuge at Fortaleza’s Mandir Restaurante. Its reasonable prices and courteous staff make this restaurant a neighborhood favorite and offers lunch service only. Expect to see dishes of rice, eggplant, mushrooms, black beans, and potatoes, all prepared fresh and with some fantastic sauces and spices. Top off your meal with their fresh coconut water for a refreshing finish.
For a quick snack, Brazilian style, head to Leão do Sul, a popular pastelaria in Fortaleza. The menu is basic but delicious, with three types of pastel, a thin, fried dough that is stuffed with either chicken, beef or cheese. This is a popular dish throughout Brazil and makes for the perfect filler in between meals or after a late-night drink.
Cantina di Napoli has authentic, home-cooked Italian meals waiting to be discovered. Choose from dishes that are best when shared, like their classic pizza or the leg of lamb. Their pasta dishes are also large enough for two. If you’re craving a night in, just order from their menu on the ifood app for home delivery. Their lunch options are also popular thanks to friendly prices and a variety of dishes available.
K-BaB is Fortaleza’s top Korean food spot, which may seem out of place in this Brazilian city, but the restaurant’s following is steadily growing. K-BaB offers some enticing options like their stir fried pork and bok choy with chili bean sauce, or their braised chicken with mung beans, red pepper and kkakdugi (a variety of kimchi). K-BaB attracts a slew of international clients, so check it out on your Fortaleza jaunt.