Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aprazivel,Rio de Janeiro, Brasil-A Real Rain Forest Cafe in Santa Teresa

Rio de Janeiro, which lies just tad north of the Tropic of Capricorn, with a climate that's classified as a tropical savannah, is one of my favorite destinations on the planet. Great temperatures year around, plenty of beaches, magnetic people, and a fantastic food scene make for one of the most attractive destinations on the planet. A look from atop Corcovado when the sun goes down and you can take in her voluptuous curves. From this position, I can't imagine a more beautiful sight. Rio is sexy, romantic, and intoxicating.

In the hip Bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a city atop a hill, tucked into lush tropical vegatation resides likely the best restaurant with a view. This is the real rain forest café. And, on a rainy night in Rio, it’s stirring, seductive.

Aprazivel, which translates to pleasureable, unveiled its hillside attraction in March of 1997. Chef Ana Castilho is the force behind the contemporary regional style of cooking. She was born in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brasil. She learned to cook from her father, was active in the culinary scene in Brasil, before studying at the French Culinary Institute-L’Ecole in New York in the late 80’s. She had many gigs around New York before returning back to Brasil.

The restaurant has many intimate dining arrangements. You can enjoy a semi-secluded tree house for two, or

Enjoy the comfort and of a country style dining room if you prefer a more familiar setting.

There are small private decks for a girl’s night out, or couples dining. From the moment you descend the staircase into the collection of custom designed dining areas, you feel you’ve arrived for an evening of flirts, teasing of necks with soft breaths, and light kisses. If you can’t make it happen here, something is wrong with you.

I feel like by telling you about this place, I’m giving away my A game. Oh well. Don’t be discouraged from taking a reservation during the rainy season. The thatch roofs are ample protection from the tropical rains. The waiter drops by with some caipirinhas, walking between the rainy gaps of the thatch roofs with an umbrella.

You dine by candlelight as the sky thunders and pours. Rainha do baião, local tilapia, a river fish is grilled with cilantro oil, and a touch of pimento de cheiro, an aromatic pepper with a nice heat. This simple dish is accompanied by al dente okra, and baião de dois, a well known northeastern dish consisting of new beans and rice, with fresh grated cheese.

This is not in the top tier of fine dining restaurants in Rio, the food is very good,and perhaps it wouldn't be worth going if it were in a regular setting, but oh....the ambiance is one of a kind. Other dishes highlight Rio cuisine, as well as Minas Gerais, but the chef jumps all over Brazil with a presentation typical of a Brazilian chef that has studied European gastronomy.

Galinhada caipira, country style chicken with linguica and plantains, a hollowed Brazilian fish stew called moqueca that strides the cooking styles of the states of Para and Belem, and bacalhau do pai, the prized salted cod brought by the Portuguese as prepared by Ana’s father. Among the appetizers are two styles of escondidinha, a little hidden gem, from Rio and the northeast, a puree of cassava and potatoes, respectively, stuffed with delicious surprises like beef jerky or shrimp.

If you happen to arrive before the sun goes, recommended, be sure and time your meal to catch setting of the sun over the Guanabara Bay, and gaze at the bridge to the modern industrious city of Niteroi, another paradise altogether, that of the shopper.

Aprazivel is a good restaurant, in an enchanting rain forest. It’s not really the place to visit while traveling alone, but to enter two by two . It’s the perfect end to a day on the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, or Ipanema. Whiling away the afternoon in Lapa, and riding the bondinho (tram), a popular rickety ride where tourists and locals alike dare to ride the worn and wobbly sideboards. Be sure to hold hands as you drop into your tropical hideaway, for safety, chivalry, and to light a fire. Ummm, nights in Rio……

Rua Aprazivel 62,Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brasil 20241-270
Tel/FAX (5521)2507-7334
Tues-Sat 12PM-1AM
Sun 12PM-7PM
All Major CC's accepted


A to the Mutha F-ing K said...

I went to Aprazivel, and it is truly amazing! Best food, amazing staff, and if you go there just around sunset, you have some truly breath-taking views of Rio

streetgourmetla said...

A to the Mutha F-ing K-great to hear,and that you liked the food,too. I love that place.