Rio Restaurant Week: the best way to eat great food (begins today!)

Restaurant Week

The 8th edition of the Rio Restaurant Week takes place from TODAY until June 2nd with over 60 registered restaurants!!!

The purpose of the event is to provide a unique opportunity for everyone to appreciate delicious creations of some of the best restaurants in town, at discounted prices. For this, the dishes offered at lunch will cost BRL 34.90 and BRL 47.90 at dinner,  including entry + main course + dessert. Each restaurant registered for the event will offer two options for each item and it’s up to you choose your preference. Drinks, cover charge and service are not included in the price.

In addition, the event also has a social purpose: by giving a (optional) contribution of only BRL 1 (R$1.00 real) per meal, the customers will help the projects of the Ayrton Senna Institute.

See the list of restaurants below. The whole list is really good… All restaurants are well-known. So, it’s difficult to tell you where to go. The best thing is to choose the kind of food you prefer and go to any of the 60 restaurants listed.

Bon appetit!

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Website and restaurants list >>> http://www.restaurantweek.com.br/videos/rj/lista (Only in portuguese, but you can check the name and the address of registered restaurants).

Quitandinha Palace (Palácio Quitandinha): a landmark of Petrópolis

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Rio de Janeiro is very known due to its beautiful beaches, but there are many nice places in the mountain area, such as Petrópolis, which is only about 68 km or 1:30 hour from Rio de Janeiro city.

When it was opened, Palácio Quitandinha was the “Cassino Hotel Quitandinha”, the largest hotel casino in Latin America for two years, during the period when gambling was permitted in Brazil, from 1930 until 1946, when the federal government had outlawed all types of gambling from casinos to games of chance in Brazil. The building makes reference to the Norman style, trend of large European casinos. The interior designs got inspiration from the Hollywood scenarios and was done by the American decorator Dorothy Draper.

After this period, Palace Quitandinha became a luxury hotel and today is under SESC Rio care as a center of culture and fun for the entire audience.

You can visit Quitandinha and learn, through the audio, about its history, curiosities… And there is much more things to visit in Petrópolis, the “Imperial City”. The good thing is because the city is well signed with english directions of turist spots.

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SERVICE

Time >>> From  10am to 5pm, Tue-Sat / from 10am to 4pm – on holidays and Sundays. 

Rates >>> BRL 10.00. 

Payment >>> Cash payment R$(real) only.

Where >>> Av. Joaquim Rolla, n º 2 – Petrópolis. Bus from Novo Rio station each 30 minutes… If you do not have a car, it’s the best way  of going. This is the company that does the transportation Rio-Petrópolis, called UTIL – http://www.util.com.br

Website >>> http://www.sescrio.org.br/programacao/02/01/13/visitacao-audioguiada (only in portuguese). 

Botanical Garden is a green treasure of Rio (better, of Brazil!)

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The Garden is located in Jardim Botânico district, nearby Gávea and Lagoa. Is a serene and quiet place where you will see many families walking by with their children, people doing exercises, nannies taking care of babies, and brides, young couple and models taking pictures to make a photo catalogue with a beautiful scenario.

Botanic Garden is a huge green area (142-hectares) with over 8000 plant species, part of the Tijuca National Park (Floresta da Tijuca), and was designed in 1808 by order of Dom João, the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Brazil and Portugal, later known (1816-1822) as Dom João VI, King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves. In 1996 the Garden became the Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro Research Institute. Since then, its mission has focused on conservation and scientific research of Brazilian plant biodiversity.

On weekdays is less crowded than on weekends because this is not only a famous tourism site but also is a place where the locals like to hang out with their families to enjoy a peace environment after a working week.

If you want to have more information about the history, the plants and so on you can arrange a tour by making an appointment with at least 24-hour in advance – make a call to +55 (21) 3874-1808 / 3874-1214. The guided visit happens from Monday to Fridays, beginning at 10am or at 2pm, and the duration is about 90 minutes.  It can be done in English or Spanish.

Also, you can visit the whole area using the local electric cars. To this, you only have to make a reservation when you get there, at the Visitors’ Centre. It takes 40 minutes by car, including Saturdays and Sundays.

The main entrance of the Garden is located at Rua Jardim Botânico 920, where you will see from the outside a huge row of palms.

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Tip #1: Take an insect repellent with you!

Tip #2:  Better to visit in a sunny day, of course, and use sunblock.

Tip #3: Is easy to get there by bus and taxi. Through Lagoa, by foot, turn to General Garzon Street, go ahead and in the end of this street turn to the left side at Jardim Botânico Street.

Tip #4: Take a coffee or have a snack at La Bicyclette. I love the sandwiches with homemade bread  and its delicious cakes (chocolate cake, walnut cake, the pain au chocolat… hummm). It’s inside the Botanical Garden area, but you do not need to pay the entrance of the park if you want only to eat there.  They have French and English menu.

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SERVICE

Time >>> From  8am to 5pm, Mon-Sun.

Rates >>> Adults – BRL 6.00; Children under 7 years of age – Free; Seniors living in Brazil or in Mercosul countries – Free, with ID.

Payment >>> Cash payment R$(real) only.

Main Entrance >>> Rua Jardim Botânico 920, Jardim Botânico.

Website >>> Poor service… Information on web is available only in Portuguese. http://www.jbrj.gov.br

Next post: the Botanical Garden

On my next post I will talk about the lungs of Rio de Janeiro, the beautiful Botanical Garden, our green area inside de city, more especifically at the Jardim Botânico neighborhood.

Friar Leandro Lake is known for...

Friar Leandro Lake is known for…

Camera 360

… the Victoria Regias!

Latin American contemporary art well represented at Casa Daros Rio

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Casa Daros Rio, an institution of Daros Latinamerica, is a new venue located in Botafogo for contemporary art exhibition and education.  After six years of great work of remodeling and restoration, the building was reopened to the public with rooms for exhibitions, art and education, library, auditorium, restaurant/café and shop.

I visited the 19th century building in neoclassical style, designed by architect Francisco Joaquim Bethencourt da Silva (1831–1912) – who also conceived the Real Gabinete Português and the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, in downtown Rio – and I was very impressed with the grandeur of the place, with the architectural beauty, and of course with the quality of the works exhibited there. In the first month of opening, the house has received 18000 visitors.

If you have time, you should consider visiting the open exhibition Cantos Cuentos Colombianos, a panoramic view of excellence in contemporary Colombian art. The curator Hans-Michael Herzog has assembled a grouping of emblematic works by the artists Doris Salcedo, Fernando Arias, José Alejandro Restrepo, Juan Manuel Echavarría, María Fernanda Cardoso, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Nadín Ospina, Oscar Muñoz, Oswaldo Macià and Rosemberg Sandoval.

You will also see the exhibition Para (Saber) Escutar (To know how to listen), under the curatorship of Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, director of art and education of Casa Daros. Nossa Senhora das Graças (2008), by Vik Muniz, a photograph of the work made from rubble, within the series Pictures of Junk, is one of the featured works that impress the visitors.

My suggestion is to visit first the Documentation Space, where you can learn more about the artists and its works, and have an overview of Colombian contemporary art production. I guess it is worth, so you can understand better its concepts and artistic concerns.

To close your visit with a flourish, you can take a coffee or have a lunch in the Mira! Restaurant, headed up by the trio consisting of chef Roberta Ciasca, Danni Camilo and Steph Quinquis, the owners of Miam Miam and Oui Oui, two other good restaurants also located in Botafogo.

Some pictures for you have a taste!

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Nadín Ospina *1960 – Hermaphrodite, 2001

José Alejandro Restrepo *1959  - Muse of Paradise, 1996

José Alejandro Restrepo *1959 – Muse of Paradise, 1996

SERVICE

*** Exhibition “Cantos Cuentos Colombianos”: until September 8th, 2013

*** Exhibition Para (Saber) Escutar (To know how to listen): until July 28th, 2013

Time >>> Wednesday to Saturday – 12pm to 8pm / Sundays and holidays – 12pm to 6pm. The ticket office closes half hour before the end of the visiting hours.

Rates >>> Adults – BRL 12.00; Children under 12 years of age – Free; Students and seniors – BRL 6.00, with ID. Free on Wednesdays.

Payment >>> Cash payment R$(real) only.

Map >>> http://goo.gl/maps/ypeXp

How to arrive >>> The Botafogo Subway Station, on Rua Nelson Mandela, is about 10 minutes on foot from Casa Daros.  

Casa Daros Website >>> http://www.casadaros.net

Rio 360 Panoramic View

The incredible view of this 360 photo was made from the top of Corcovado Mountain, where is the Christ the Redeemer Statue.

This amazing job (click on the picture below to see*) was done by Ayrton in order to be part of the Olympic Games bid material and here is his website where you can check other 360 photos: http://ayrton.com/360/

* The author of the pic above  is Xavier Donat. I posted it only to illustrate and make a link to Ayton’s work.

Soundtrack: Chega de Saudade, by Tom Jobim.

TGIF! Rio, the place to fall in love…

TGIF! Let’s have a little fun!

Love this video… soooo funny!

What makes me laugh more in this “funk” music? This part: all the millions of brazilians come and make me say “gostoso”. LOL!!! When someone is a mix of beautiful, charming and sexy, we call that person “gostoso”. But pay attention to say it right… gostosO is used for man, and gostosA for woman 😉 BTW, it sounds rude and discourteous to say it to a woman in most cases.

Have a nice weekend 🙂

Don’t like tourist programs? Visit Sugar Loaf anyways!

Golden Gate, San Francisco. Empire State Building, NYC. Eiffel Tower, Paris. Pão de Açúcar or Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro.  I know there are some of you – like me! – that just don’t like to do only tourist programs.  I don’t even like knowing a place in a group tour… haha… But visit Sugar Loaf is an obligation in any situation, alone or in a group, if you like or not being a gringo! BTW, there are many tourists from all over the country. The view is soooo beautiful that leaves us breathless. Take a beautiful sunny day to make the most amazing photos of your trip!

WEBSITE

To get more information about the history, tour hours, prices and services, go to http://www.bondinho.com.br/en/.

Bondinho is how we call a glass-walled cable car that runs every 20 minutes between the peaks of Morro da Urca (first stop) and Pão de Açúcar (second stop), with capacity to hold 65 passengers. Each round trip takes 3 minutes and I guess you will want more to appreciate the 360º view of the city, including the Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, Flamengo and Leblon beaches; the Pedra da Gávea, Maciço da Tijuca and Corcovado mountains, the Christ statue; the Guanabara Bay; the downtown area; the Santos Dumont Airport; Governador island; the neighboring city of Niterói; the Rio-Niterói bridge; and the Serra do Mar mountain backdrop with the famous Dedo de Deus (God’s Finger) peak.

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ABOUT URCA

The Sugar Loaf is in Praia Vermelha, at Urca neighborhood, one of the most calm and charming area of the city. You can explore it walking by its wooded streets, with beautiful and expensive houses.  One of the things that makes Urca the safest neighborhood of Rio is due to its military base and lack of favelas. You will find much more in the area: the campus of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Engineering Military Institute (IME), the General Staff Army Command School (ECEME), the War Navy School (EGN) and the Benjamim Constant Institute for the visually impaired.

Urca has been home to some famous residents (not more than Leblon). One of the most famous and beloved singers of Brazil, Roberto Carlos, live there. And you can see Carmem Miranda’s house at Av. São Sebastião #131.

Urca is close to Botafogo – where is Rio Sul Shopping Mall -, Leme and Copacabana.

TO EAT

Just beside the Sugar Loaf entrance, I recommend Zozô Restaurant, contemporary cuisine. Beautiful décor with a huge tree in the middle of the salon and a deck covered in glass where you can see the landscape. During the lunch (Tue-Sun, noon-4pm), there is a nice antipasti buffet with fixed price per person. At night (only on Fri and Sat, 8pm-midnight), you will find an intimist atmosphere with candle lights. After midnight the kitchen closes and it starts the dance floor. Go well dressed at night.

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SERVICE

Time >>>The ticket office opens at 8am and closes at 7:50pm. The Park always closes one hour after the ticket office.

Rates >>> Adults – BRL 53.00; Children 6-12 years of age – BRL 26.00; Children under 6 – Free. The tickets are valid for only one visit on the day they are purchased.

Payment >>> Cash payment R$(real) only. Credit cards and debit cards: Redeshop, MasterCard, Diners, Visa and  American Express. Check not accepted.

Map >>> http://goo.gl/maps/J7Zcu (Av. Pasteur, 520 – Urca)

Zozô Restaurant >>> http://www.zozorio.com.br