On Tuesday night S and L took me out for my first birthday dinner in Rio. L and I took the metro to the centro to meet up with S. From there we drove to Santa Teresa. Getting lost on the way allowed L to squeeze in a nap before dinner, which worked well since dinners here tend to drag on a bit.
We climbed to the top of some hill and parked in front of a rather nondescript restaurant, Aprazivel. Built into the hillside, you descend a steep staircase into the restaurant that provides spectacular views of the city.
The restaurant itself is quite large with different ambiances. We were seated on the veranda, overlooking the city.
This would be a lovely date venue, but given that we are still sitter-less and had a little one in tow, I can say that it also works for kids (They brought L small silverware, split S’s juice into a little glass with a short straw, and even gave her some little cakes for dessert, which she didn’t even look twice at after seeing what S and I ordered. Nonetheless, they were quite attentive and the restaurant itself was full of little things that keep a toddler entertained–bowls of wooden food in the front, chili plants scattered about, random wooden/iron animal figures here and there to keep L’s imagination going).
The food has a northeastern flair, the region where S is from. From our experience and from reviews it seems like the food is a bit hit or miss. It is the ambiance and the view that knocks this place over the top. Given that it was my birthday, luck was on my side. S ordered the Delicioso Cabrito, goatling roasted in red wine with a yam puree, caramelized onions, mushrooms and broccoli. I ordered the Moquequinha do Rio, fish stewed in coconut milk with a side of rice, farofa de dendê (palm oil), and pirão (a gravy made with fish broth and cassava flour). S thought his was a bit fatty and flat, mine was done perfectly.
S was driving and with the lei seca (dry law) here in Brazil, he couldn’t partake in wine, but I could. They had a large selection of Brazilian wines, but only one red offered by the glass, a Hex Von Wein Cabernet Sauvignon. It was better than I expected, but not great.
We had to order dessert, if for no other reason than L assumed that birthday meant there was going to be a party and cake. Since there was no party, we definitely needed some cake. I ordered the Petit Gateau, a chocolate cake filled with chocolate sauce with a side of vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds. S ordered the Baião de Dois, a tapioca ice cream with açaí sauce. Two very different desserts, but both very good. L devoured my dessert, but the few bites I fought for and won were worth it. S’s was subtle and surprisingly not overly sweet like so much of the food is here.
The service was attentive. If the States was my point of reference, I would say it was a bit slow, but given my experience here thus far, it was rather efficient.
We were in around 7 p.m. and left by 9 p.m. Home with a toddler tucked in before 10 p.m. and in bed by 11 p.m.
Let’s face it, I’m getting old. This was my kind of birthday!