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SHERATON RIO HOTEL AND TOWERS
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil is noted for its fine beef and fish -- I can confirm its
reputation is well deserved.
Churrascarias specialize in grilled meat. Mariu's (290 Av.
Atlântica, Leme, tel.: 542-2393) is the city's most famous and but it is
inundated with tourists. My favorite is Porcão (Rua Barão, 218, Ipanema.
Tel.: (212) 2302-9150). I sat at a table in this spacious Ipanema restaurant
and was amazed -- an endless procession of waiters ran around with skewers
of meat. A tempting salad bar sits mid floor. I wandered over and piled my
plate high with lettuce, cole slaw and vegetables. Remember, roughage is
your friend. After my appetizer, the waiters stopped at my table and placed
skewers of sausage, lamb, pork, roast beef, prime rib and various cuts of
steak in front of me, slicing off portions and filling my plate until I
begged them to stop.
After dinner a dessert wagon made the rounds. That's
when I finished off a bottle of Brazil's best beer, Cerpa (sweet, light,
delicate; like drinking a vanilla soda). I paid $30 for a meal that lasted
Satyricon (192 Rua Barão Da Torre, tel.: 521-0627), a gourmet fish
and pasta restaurant, features shrimp, lobster, red snapper, octopus and
other fresh local delicacies. I ordered whole fried red snapper. It
arrived golden brown, meaty, tender -- the best I had ever tasted. The
creamy ricotta cheesecake served with chocolate sauce appeased my sweet
Bar do Mineiro (Rua Pascoal Carlos Magno, 99, Santa Teresa.
Tel.: 221-9227) serves cuisine from the neighboring African Heritage state
of Minas Gerais. I treated myself to Tutú à Mineria, a former slave dish
which is now a national specialty: rice, beans, greens and a fried egg with
bacon, slivers of sausage and a slice of pork loin. Absolutely delectable!
This quaint downtown café is near a trolley car that will take you down to
the business district. Go during the day when the streets are busy, not at
Zuka (Rua Dias Ferreira 233, Leblon. Tel.: 3205-7154) offers
a pleasantly surprising seven-course dinner for a very reasonable rate.
Delicate shrimp on a bed of risotto. 2. Cinnamon-crusted salmon, rare, over
Mezza Penne pasta in apple curry sauce with nuts and raisins. 3.
Sun-dried-tomato crusted salted cod on Tuscan sausage and potato ragù. 4.
Skirt steak with white pepper caramel potato-leek ragù. 5. Rack of lamb
with sweet pea, mint puree and a cardamom-mint reduction. 6. Foie gras steak
with balsamic teriyaki sauce and sweet sake baked fruits. 7. Pumpkin with
coconut and Chantilly with cinnamon. Quality dining at a reasonable price.
The Night Life
On Tuesday nights you can see a Samba show, Páo de Acúcar
Vai Dar Samba, at 8:30PM on Urca Hill, a peak adjacent to Sugar Loaf.
Dinner, a view of Rio, sexy dancers in tiny sequined outfits and samba
drummers from traditional schools (neighborhood social organizations) are
part of the festivities. (Tickets and reservations are available through
hotel concierges or the Sugar Loaf box office, 520 Av. Pasteur, tel.:
295-8244). Brazilians love to party and many evenings they head straight to
discos like Bunker 94 (94 Rua Raul Pompéia, tel.: 521-0367), where they
dance till dawn to hip hop, rap, '70s music and techno.
Happy Hour at the New Garden (631-B Rua Visconde de Pirajá,
tel.: 259-3455) includes tap-dispensed beer at each table. Tuesday and
Thursday from 7:30p.m. Brazilian music is played. Saturdays from 1p.m. to
5:30p.m., there is feijoada (a traditional black bean and pork Brazilian
stew) and live music. If you want to sample the atmosphere that electrifies
Rio during carnival, a night at Plataforma (32 Rua Adalberto Ferreira, tel.:
274-4022), a churrascaria in the Leblon section near Ipanema, features
Brazilian folklore and samba shows.
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