Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Checked In: Restaurante Aprazível

This weekend I decided I wanted to check out one of the many great restaurants in Santa Teresa, this cool artsy neighborhood that sits on Santa Teresa hill and leads eventually into Lapa. It's the Hackney of Rio and people always talk about the modern Brazilian restaurants up there. We invited our friends Sheena and Sandro to join us and they recommended we check out Restaurante Aprazível, which was amazing. 

After an interesting and thrilling taxi journey to the top of Santa Teresa, I was excited to finally reach the restaurant elevator doors. The restaurant itself is a series of large Amazonian houses connected by little paths, all nestled within the surrounding forest. 

Most of the rooms are open-air which is lovely, but I also liked the cozy feel of the indoor restaurant too. It had warm lighting, interesting framed art and a rockin' wine cellar.

We sat outdoors in the main restaurant, but we discovered a great bar area below with a more relaxed vibe and spectacular views of the city.

I started off with a spicy watermelon martini, but Hub went ahead and ordered the Pedro Ximenez Falernia '13, which was a lovely and easy drinking white. We ordered the couvert bread basket and it came with candied egglplant and a deliciously tangy vinaigrette with baby white clams. So good.

Normally, Brazilian restaurants serve large portions and often they are meant to share. Not here. This restaurant is a little on the pricey side and so we decided to share three mains and an appetizer, which worked out well. For dinner we ordered the Marsanne Reserva De Lucca '10, which was from Uruguay and the sommelier described as very aromatic. I'm a sucker for "aromatic" whites and this one was really special. It tasted so different and unique and I really couldn't make it out, but I loved it. 

the excitement

Retumbão: tapioca couscous with seafood, brazil nuts and acai sauce

Polvo Carnaval: grilled octopus tentacles

Delicious Cabrito: grilled goat marinated in red wine with taro root puree

Galinhada Caipira: chicken risotto with grilled plantain

The food was amazing and although I didn't try the goat or the chicken rice, I did nibble at the veggies around them which were tasty. After dinner we moved onto desserts and lucky me, Hub felt lenient and let me order the least sugary dessert. 

Gioaba do Paradiso: guava, passionfruit and lemon sorbet

Baião de dois: tapioca ice cream with rich acai sauce

Sheena & Sandro tucking in

My date & me

It was such a wonderful evening and I can't wait to come back with my Mom and Step-dad over the World Cup. Such a special place and not to be missed if you're ever in Rio. 
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