Destination: Brazil: Rio de Janeiro
For a quick break, think coffee, juice and beer. This is, after all, premium coffee country. Traditional carioca coffee is served mild, very sweet, in espresso cups, but in the past decade, espresso and cappuccino (always served with chocolate somewhere in the cup) have gained in popularity. For something real and artisanal, try Da Casa da Táta.
When a healthier snack is in order, locals crowd the myriad casas de suco, or juice stands, located throughout the city. It is, indeed, the ultimate carioca experience, one of the most common snacks for harried businessperson and cool, just-back-from-the-beach surfer alike: standing on a counter surrounded by the colors and scents of a rainbow of tropical fruit, having a tall glass of pineapple and mint, watermelon and coconut or simply pure mango juice. Bowls of açaí —a purple rainforest berry packed with flavor and carbs for energy—and sandwiches are a good choice, too. Polis Sucos (Rua Maria Quiteria 70-A, Ipanema; 2247-2518), Bibi Sucos (Av. Ataulfo de Paiva 591-A, Leblon; 2259-4298, plus three other locations) and Balada Sumos (Av. Ataulfo de Paiva 620, lj A, Leblon; 2239-2699) are some of the best casas de suco in town.
This is Rio: a restaurant which carries only organic food, served buffet-style (called “por quilo” because the plates are weighed and charged by the kilo), in the expensive side, and adored by all cariocas. It’s always an amazing and fun variety, salads being their specialty—currently they offer about 40 different ones. Desserts are to die for.
Indagare Tip: Dia Ferreira Street: This street concentrates a number of good bars and restaurants and is a great option for both lunch and dinner. Some options include: Pipo, CT Boucherie, ¡Venga!, Zuka, Brigite’s, Bottega del Vino and Chico & Alaíde.
For a particularly proper high tea (and coffee), visit the centuries-old Downtown location on Rua Goncalves Dias, and for a spectacular view, try the outpost at Forte de Copacabana, which feels like it’s in the middle of the ocean.
For sheer ambiance, nothing surpasses this lovely bistro, inside an early-20th-century mansion in Parque Lage. Walls of green, orchids and hummingbirds provide the scenery, and chef Adriana’s pão de mel (honey cake) the gustatory ecstasy.
Escola do Pão
A charming restaurant inside a bakery; this is a great spot for breakfast. The pastries are outstanding.
This ice-cream parlor, adored by cariocas, is the best place to samplethe huge variety of Brazilian flavors, from sweeter options to tropical and exotic fruits. Try tapioca ice cream together with a scoop of açaí or taperebá.
Cariocas come here after a morning jog for strong espresso and bread that makes great build-your-own-sandwich breakfasts.
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