Restaurants in Recife, Brasil: Gastronomy & Typical Cuisine
Brazilian cuisine is comprised of local preparation methods and ingredients combined with traditional African and European styles. Many Portuguese dishes were modified here, taking advantage of native Brazilian ingredients to create a new culinary style. In the northeastern part of the country, African influence is more common. The preparation of food in the state of Pernambuco originally comes from the customs of the local sugar cane laborers, which gradually adapted with Portuguese and African techniques to form an important part of what is today considered Brazilian cuisine.
Specialties from Pernambuco
Traditional Brazilian cakes called "bolos" are perfect for an afternoon over coffee. Usually, you'll come across bolos made of cassava and Souza Leao. During the time of the local "Junina" festivals, you're sure to find traditional bolos made from sweet potatoes, corn and even peanut brittle. The most famous is the "bolo de rolo", a sort of rolled-up cake, considered part of Pernambuco's heritage. The classic bolo de rolo is prepared in thin layers of dough filled with guava paste. In some bakeries in Recife, you can try bolo de rolo in other flavors, like caramel, nuts, chocolate and passion fruit. One excellent place for trying this traditional cake is at Casa dos Frios, in the Boa Viagem district.
Another traditional dish made during the Junina festivals is "pamonha", a type of sweet tamale. Pernambuco is also famous for its "queijo coalho", fried or roasted cheese served as a snack or a dessert when you add a bit of sugar cane honey. Other delicious desserts include "cartola", "baba de moca", "beira seca" and "rapadura". In Pernambuco, coconut sweets don't only include the classic coconut flavor; many are also prepared with ingredients such as milk, banana, guava and local "umbu" fruit. Fruit-flavored syrups are also a delicious tradition in this state.
The Flavors of Recife
Recife is considered the main culinary hotspot in northeastern Brazil, famous for its rich and diverse dishes. Due to its location, it shares certain characteristics with the city of Salvador and with the entire neighboring state of Bahia in general. Some Bahia dishes that can also be found in Recife are "aracaje", "moqueca" and "vatapa", all influenced in some way or another by traditional African cuisine.
Typical "caldinhos" (soups) in Recife and the surrounding areas are often made of beans and gourds (pumpkin or squash). The most common are the "caldinhos de peixes" (fish soups). Some restaurants specializing in the preparation of caldinhos de peixes are Bardo Neno in the Parnamirim district, Socaldinho Guaiamum and Caldinho do Nene in the Pina district, and Caldissimo Grill in Boa Viagem.
Among the more popular regional dishes, you'll find "charque com baiao de dois" and "pacoca de carne de sol" (both made with dried meat), "buchada" (made with lamb stomach), and "chambaril" and "rabada" (made with beef), all of which contain strong, characteristic flavors. Other popular foods include "sarapatel", "dobradinha", and, of course, "feijoada pernambucana" and "cozido pernambucano". Popular fish and seafood stews include "caruru", "caranguejada", "peixada pernambucana", "agulhinha frita", "aratuzada" and "bobo de camarao", among many others.
Tropical fruits abound in the region, especially mangos, papayas, pineapples, guavas and passion fruit. They're often used to prepare all sorts of juices and shakes, in addition to the classic "caldo de cana" (sugar cane juice) and coconut juice. Another typical Recife drink is "chope", a beer served with lots of foam, the preferred drink in popular local "botecos" (informal bars).
Some recommendable restaurants for trying all that Recife has to offer are Da Mira, Oficina do Sabor and Parraxaxa (regional food), Otello and Da Noi (Italian food), Tasca (Portuguese food), Chiwake (Peruvian food), and Due and Bargaco (fish and seafood). We also recommend trying excellent dishes at Leite, Mingus, Wiella Bistro, Nez Vinhos e Gastronomia, Portoferreiro, E and Ponta Nova.
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