A highlight of every visit should be to dine at some of the best Recife Restaurants, particularly since American dollars go further in Brazil. The memories will last.
DESCRIPTION: Brazil is known for a dish called Moqueca, and Bargaco serves more than half a dozen varieties. The sleek, upscale restaurant specializes in this stew, usually made with fish or shrimp, vegetables, coconut milk, and African palm oil. The rich, complex taste reminds me of a gumbo brimming with seafood.
ADDRESS: Av. Antonio de Góes, 62 Pina – Recife
Boi Preto Grill
DESCRIPTION: Meat lovers will think they’re in heaven in this “churriscaria,” a type of restaurant whose name translates to “barbecue” in Portuguese. A trip to the lavish buffet is followed by an endless parade of waiters offering skewers of every meat imaginable steak, pork chops, sausage, chicken, and duck. And the boisterous atmosphere reflects the exuberance of Brazilians. The high-ceilinged, brightly lit dining room is noisy with conversation and laughter and most diners are grinning from ear to ear.
ADDRESS: Avenida Boa Viagem, 97 Antigo – Recife/PE
Ostreiro Frutas Do Mar
DESCRIPTION: Spacious and informal, Ostreiro specializes in the kind of seafood that transforms non-fish eaters like me into passionate consumers of “Frutas do Mar,” or “Fruits of the Sea.” My cod salad is exquisite, and the dishes I sample from my fellow diners, including the monquecas are also delicious. Alas, I’ve never had a fondness for oysters. I pass on the many variations offered, even though the mollusk gives the restaurant its name. An added bonus is flat-screen televisions playing videos of the most popular Brazilian vocalists, including a Frank Sinatra-smooth Cauby Peixoto.
ADDRESS: Av. Conselheiro Aguiar, 826 Boa Viagem – Recife/PE
PHONE: 55-81- 3466-2063
DESCRIPTION: I want to shimmy into a form-fitting, black velvet evening gown and don a diamond tiara when I walk into Leite, a white table-clothed restaurant. Though most diners wear jeans and t-shirts, the atmosphere is one of old-school elegance, complete with a dapper gentleman tinkling the ivories of a baby grand. The theme of sophistication is carried forward in the meals, like the Duck Confit in a Port Wine Sauce with Potato Gratin, served on gold-rimmed bone white china.
ADDRESS: Praca Joaquim Nabuco, 147 Santo Antonio – Recife/PE
Parraxaxá at Boa Viagem
DESCRIPTION: The folksy dining area of Parraxaxa provides a cultural education about North East Brazil. The brick walls, wooden tables, clay pottery, and large fireplace hearth are typical of a historic home. The wait staff is decked out in the military uniform of the folk hero Lampiao, known as the Robin Hood of Brazil. Parraxaxa serves a hefty buffet of traditional Northeast Brazilian cuisine, including goat stew, corned beef, a variety of seafood dishes, munguza (hominy), and cassava chips. Outside, hollowed eggshells posted on sticks are said to ward off evil spirits. Nevertheless, such is their love and commitment to freedom that they tell this story, even with the shame, because of their love of freedom.
ADDRESS: Rua Baltazar Pereira, 32 Recife/PE
Parraxaxá at Recife/PE
DESCRIPTION: Different location with a non-beach vibe, but the same good food.
ADDRESS: Casa Forte Av. 17 de Agosto, 807