World Nutrition Rio 2012
The marvellous city by night
Local tips for your visit to Rio de Janeiro
This month we feature some more hot tips from Rio citizens Fabio Gomes and Isabela Sattamini: places to see and things to do in Rio at night.
Fabio Gomes and Isabela Sattamini report: Whatever you want from a city at night, it's all there in Rio de Janeiro, for all tastes and rhythms. The city centre is a great option. The charming historical buildings, museums, and theatres we recommended last month that you visit during the day, feature great plays and concerts at night. After being amazed by the guided tour through the Municipal Theatre during the day, go back at night to see it coming to life. Close by the Municipal Theatre, the Rival Theatre also offers top quality concerts given by great Brazilian musicians, many not well known internationally. The prices of the concerts are reasonable, US$ 25 for the ticket, with a 50 per cent discount for students and people over 60. People usually buy tickets for the Rival Theatre concerts on the same day, so check their programme here and go for it!
Stretching late afternoons into evenings
The Teles Arches, which we recommended last month, is a great place to greet and enjoy typical carioca traditional live music and historic architecture, after working hours. If you enjoyed the atmosphere of the Rua do Lavradio in Lapa, and would like to have a great dinner in the neightbourhood, in this same street you will find the Rio Scenarium and Santo Scenarium. Both used to be antiques shops and now are well known as two of the best places in the city to enjoy samba dancing. The Santo Scenarium opens and closes earlier, and usually offers Brazilian fine instrumental music. The musicians of Rio Scenarium usually play music to shake you. Besides been very good for the music and appetisers, both places offer great dishes for dinner.
Also in Lapa check out the Nova Capela restaurant in the Rua Mém de Sá. It is easy to find, it's a traditional place everyone knows. The place looks very simple and makes wonderful foods. Dishes based on lamb or octopus are the most famous.
If you took our tip last month and decided to take the track up to the Urca hill, to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen (picture left, above), extend your stay a bit after sunset, when the ocean becomes a mirror of the sky. Check out the fruit shop up there, you can make your own fruit salad from a great variety of fresh and delicious fruits. Choose your favourites, weigh and pay (cheap!) If you are interested on having dinner in the area, as soon as you have come down from the hill in the cable car, outside on your left you will find the Zozô restaurant, well integrated with the local vegetation, and with a great view of the Sugar Loaf.
Talking about dinners, all the places we recommended last month in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood such as Espírito Santa, Aprazível, Térèze are all great places to come at night as well. You should also try the traditional pubs of Santa Teresa such as the Mineiro and the Boteco do Gomez. Don't try to find them by their official names. For example, that for the Boteco do Gomez is San Thiago Warehouse, but if you ask for it by that name nobody will be able to answer you, whereas if you ask for the Boteco do Gomez everyone will feel pleased to inform you or even take you there, to make sure you won't get lost.
Close by the Teles Arches by the ocean side, another great choice are the seasonal fish dishes offered by the Albamar restaurant. If all you ordered was the couvert (first optional snack dish) you might well have enough for a whole meal. (Here is a general tip. Especially in simpler and cheaper restaurants, a main dish is usually enough for two people). Albamar is itself worth the visit. The restaurant is located in the top of an old small tower located in the Praça XV (XV Square), where the first fresh fruit, fish and other markets of Rio was established in the first half of the 19th century by the ocean side by the old Dom Manuel beach. Once there were five towers. The only one that is now restored, is that which holds the restaurant. Make a reservation to get a table by the window, which gives a great view of the beaches and the ocean. It's perfect for an early dinner or lunch, as they close after 6pm.
If you and your friends want to spend the evening in a nice place with excellent appetisers, the beaches and the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon are perfect settings. Take the opportunity to walk by the famous sidewalks of Copacabana designed by the great Brazilian draftsman, painter, designer, musician, sculptor, and landscaper Roberto Burle Marx. There are many restaurants and pubs facing the ocean with all kinds of cuisines. If you are after Brazilian food, check out the Joaquina restaurant by Leme beach, the continuation of Copacabana beach, to its left if you are facing the ocean.
Another option is to have fresh coconut water in the kiosks close to the beach, or a fresh juice of Brazilian native fruits from the bars you can find in almost every block in the city. You can also choose to walk or ride a bike around the 7.5 km (4.5 miles) of the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. There are also many kiosks by the lagoon, almost all of them offer live music, it's a great place to enjoy the breeze, good appetisers and live music at night.
For those who will be close to Flamengo beach, the Aterro do Flamengo is also a very lively place to take a walk with friends in the early evening where there are always lots of people taking a walk, riding their bikes, roller skating, or playing soccer or basketball. You can also find great places to meet and greet enjoying very traditional and tasteful appetisers! The Belmonte pub is a very good choice and if you want to taste traditional northern Brazilian food don't miss the Tacacá do Norte. Located in the corner of Rua Barao do Flamengo and Rua Catete, they offer Amazonian fruit juices, and traditional food of the Paraense (from the State of Pará) cuisine for good prices.
You can also find a great and varied menu at the Empório Santa Fé, a restaurant famous for its wines located in the Praia do Flamengo, so-called because once the street was by the oceanside before the new area in front was built with earth excavated from Rio's hills around 1950. For those who are staying at the Novo Mundo hotel, the restaurant is a few steps to the left. Arrive early or make a reservation in advance to take a table near the window and enjoy the view to the lively Aterro do Flamengo with the Sugar Loaf mountain in the background. Above right is the view from the hotel, for those with room facing the ocean, at dawn.
Healthy gastronomy in Rio
Exciting news! The second annual celebration of healthy gastronomy in Rio (logo, above) will start on 25 April, and continue throughout the time of Rio2012.
The festival is promoted by the Institute of Nutrition Annes Dias of the Rio de Janeiro city hall, the National Cancer Institute of Brazil (INCA) and the labour unions of the hotels, restaurants and bars of the city, with support from the regional council of nutritionists, the institute of nutrition of Rio de Janeiro state university (the venue for Rio2012), and the Slow Food movement in Rio.
Look for the logo above. All restaurants, from the fancier to the simpler ones were invited to participate. Each restaurant participating in the festival will provide one or more dishes, or even a whole set menu, that meet the standards of the organisers of the festival. The period of the festival was specially chosen in order to attract cariocas, and also the participants in Rio2012. The list of restaurants participating in the festival will be distributed during the congress.
The sounds of Rio
For traditional Brazilian music, choose any place in the neighbourhood of Lapa. The Rio Scenarium we mentioned above, but also the Mongue Seco in the same street and several places in the Rua Mem de Sá close by the Lapa aquaduct arches, all provide great music and atmosphere. You can find all the places and programmes in Lapa at www.lanalapa.com.br. Not far from Lapa, there is also a very special place also in the city centre near the harbour called Trapiche Gamboa, where you can also find all the information in the website. Enjoy the appetisers in these places. We always recommend thick soups made with beans, a traditional Brazilian favourite.
We look forward to meeting you in Rio, and will be glad to help with any further suggestions.