The food of Northeastern Brazil can be found in many other regions, but some places just stand out for their degree of commitment to this culinary universe, its ingredients and the culture it is a part of. In Rio de Janeiro, there's a new place to experience all that: Café do Alto in Santa Teresa, opened earlier this year.
The restaurant in one of the neighborhood's beautiful, converted vintage constructions is the second Café do Alto in Rio. The first Café do Alto, located in another high spot ("alto"), has been serving great Northeastern food in Leblon for about a decade.
Like that location, the new cafe has whimsical details, such as these bead curtains and colorful chitão fabric chair covers.
Food is by chef Mariana Villas-Bôas. The Santa café has its own details, such as pumpkin instead of arracacha in the Maria Bonita, one of their tapioca hits.
Like the first Café do Alto, the one in Santa Teresa is perfect to try rich desserts such as cartola ("top hat", view full-size), a banana and cheese sweet which, like Pernambuco frevo (whose recent UNESCO listing the café has honored on Facebook), is a symbol of the Brazilian Northeast.
Facebook's where you can keep up with the Santa specials (hmmm... guacamole tapioca with spicy chicken this weekend, posted a few minutes ago) and all new things related to both locations, such as the ongoing Temperança culinary festival at Leblon.
Still-So-New in Santa Teresa:
- Bossa in Rio Hostel (opened in early 2012)
- Quinta Azul Boutique Pousada (opened March 2012; see also Quinta Rosa)
- The Pool Lounge (opened mid-2012) for Santa Teresa Hotel guests
- Casa do Barista (reopened in 2012 after renovations)
- Casa do Barão (for parties, since 2011; hosting the last 2012 edition of Soul, Baby, Soul tomorrow night)
Santa Teresa Highlights:
- Armazém Sao Thiago (Bar do Gomez)
- Parque das Ruínas
- Museu da Chácara do Céu
- Carnival in Santa Teresa: Bloco das Carmelitas
- Shopping in Santa: La Vereda from About.com En Brasil
Photos courtesy of Café do Alto in Santa Teresa.