My husband and I are on day 3 of our month long vacation in the 2 countries. First stop was Rio de Janeiro, where we spent 2 full days doing touristy stuff amidst finding stuff to eat. Most of the eating was concentrated in Ipanema, as Arpoador, where we stayed had fewer options. Thoughts on a few places:
1. We had breakfast at Terzetto Cafe in Ipanema and the famous Confeiteria Colombo in Centro. Loved the bread and viennoiseries at both places, fresh, warm and at Terzetto varied. Good cappuccino at Terzetto and if the drinks were not as good, the atmosphere at Confeiteria Colombo more than made up. We were in Centro on Monday, and given the lack of museums to visit, Colombo became the cultural and historical highlight of the day! We thought the breakfasts were expensive: BRL 18 at Terzetto for the Ejecutivo (coffee, juice, a basket of about 6 rolls, ham and cheese slices etc), BRL 25 at Colombo (coffee, juice,milk, toast, demi-baguette, cut fruits, ham and cheese slices etc) but 1 portion fed the 2 of us easily.
2. Casa da Feijoada: Given we missed Saturday lunch (thank you Air France for rescheduling our flight) we sought out Feijoada at Casa da Feijoada, that served the speciality everyday, with all the trimmings. We ordered only one portion (BRL 67) but that was more than enough for the 2 of us. We had the normal version, ie without the "noble" pig parts, and thought it was meat infused bean stew was really tasty. The meat's (sausages, ribs, dried meat) wasn't bad too. Loved the chicharron and manioc flour that added lots of crunch to the dish. Meal comes with a bean soup and some olives to start, crisp fried sausages and a plate with 3 dollops of sugary paste (dulce de leche, papaya and banana) for dessert.
3. Benkei Sushi: I've not had sushi for more than 3 months and thought I'd give the Japanese restaurants in Rio a try. Benkei Sushi serves both ala carte and rodizio for dinner. The selection for the rodizio was quite varied but we were disappointed by the quality of the fish for the sushi and sashimi. Not quite unfresh, but quite bland in taste, and you could tell the texture was starting to turn. The cooked handrolls were quite tasty though, so were the fried snacks (bolinhos, gyoza etc). Should've known not to go to an AYCE place.
4. Sucos: Juice shops are as ubiquitous as Havaianas flip flops and Zona Sul supermarkets in Ipanema. Great places to try local fruit juices. Acai is pure sugar, and an instant energy booster, and we love acerola, goiaba and all the rest! Some juice and pao de queijo = worthy after beach snack.
We are now in Sao Luis, going to Barreirinhas, Salvador and Curitiba next. Recommendations for local specialities highly appreciated!