Aug. 28, 2012
The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant at the Copacabana Palace epitomizes the evolution of the legendary hotel, opened in 1923, since its purchase by the Orient-Express in 1989. The Cipriani has been one of Rio de Janeiro's top choices for fine Italian cuisine since the 1990s, when it replaced Bife de Ouro - the Golden Steak - as the hotel's main restaurant. The Copacabana also has the poolside Pérgula Restaurant, as well as two bars.
Inspired in the sumptuous Hotel Cipriani on the Giudecca Island in Venice, another Orient-Express hotel, the restaurant serves cuisine by Italian chef Nicola Finamore, an Abruzzo native. His creations tap into his heritage - including family recipes - while incorporating Brazilian traditions and ingredients.
In 2011, the restaurant was fully redesigned. French architect Michel Jouannet, also responsible for work at Hotel Cipriani and the renovation of Brazil's other Orient-Express establishment - Hotel das Cataratas, at Iguaçu Falls - brought Venetian flair into the ambience.
Luxury details include handmade lamps from Murano, watercolors depicting Venice scenes, ceiling lamps straight out of a Hotel Cipriani guest room and, on the ample windows overlooking the Copacabana Palace swimming pool, white drapes reminiscent of the ones at the cafes of Piazza San Marco.
The resulting ambience, quite romantic, blends in beautifully with the overall hotel décor, which has benefited from several renovations since the early 1990s and made the most of the original design by French architect Joseph Gire - who, in turn, was inspired by stunning hotels such as Le Negresco in Nice.
Cuisine at the Cipriani:
You can start the meal with Carpaccio del Cipriani con melanzane, capperi e scaglie di parmigiano - the Cipriani carpaccio with eggplant, capers and Parmesan cheese. Genuine Italian cheese also shows in starters such as the polenta with taleggio and grilled wild mushrooms.
Among the soups - minestre e zuppe - one of the most authentically Venetian choices is pasta and beans. Pasta deserves great attention on the menu, with substantial options such as ricotta gnocchi with herbs, fresh peas and black truffles, or arugula lasagna with Taleggio and Gorgonzola.
While the menu at the Fortuny, the restaurant at Hotel Cipriani in Venice, features local treats such as baby shrimps from the Venetian lagoon, at the Copa's Cipriani you might explore the bounty of the Amazon River basin with dishes such as jaú with potatoes al pesto and green beans.
The meat and poultry has guinea fowl with "bottaggio" (cassoeula) and Piemontese cheese fondue, veal with Monferrina sauce and black truffles. Vegetarians will find great choices of salads and hot dishes such as artichoke and mozzarella pancakes with arugula and tomato.
Next page: The Chef's Table at the Cipriani
Hours:Mon-Sat 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight
Sun 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Dress code: Smart casual
Children under 10 are not allowed
Avenida Atlântica 1702
Rio de Janeiro - RJ