A good meal should be like a work of art. So it makes sense that there are venues where haute cuisine takes its rightful place alongside talented artists and museum pieces. In Rio de Janeiro, it’s possible to sample gourmet foods while taking a culturally enriching tour at the same time. You’ll snack on delicacies after taking in some of the city’s best art exhibits.
You could do much worse than beginning with Cristóvão Café e Bistrô, housed inside the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR). The museum is the newest addition to the cultural circuit located in the Centro Histórico. Inaugurated in 2013 as part of a project to revitalize the Zona Portuária, the MAR’s mission, through a variety of national and international exhibits, is to bring together the classic and contemporary artwork of Rio in one space. In Rio de Janeiro, the city it calls home, it’s only natural that the associated restaurant should have its own history and tradition in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão. With Chefs Mozart and Luiz Moraes at the helm, Cristóvão offers a menu that manages to fuse sophistication and levity. Here you can sample tapioca bites with chili jelly or a trio de brigadeiros de colher, a delicious mixture of chocolate, verbena, and coffee.
Another option, while you’re in the Centro, is The Line, installed in the Museu Histórico Nacional in the Praça XV. The bistro-style restaurant was decorated to coordinate with the historic architecture, which is a perfect inspiration for the French kitchen within. Chef Daniel Barros infuses each dish with a special creative touch, like the sautéed lobster and the lumaconi (a snail-shaped pasta) stuffed with shrimp paste filling and mango tossed with arugula and toffee. Just thinking about it is enough to get your mouth watering!
Laguiole is strategically located inside the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) in the open area known as Aterro do Flamengo. With a picture perfect view of Baía de Guanabara and Pão de Açúcar, Chef Ricardo Lapeyre’s restaurant also boasts an excellent wine menu with over 550 bottles to choose from. Having fully absorbed the greatest works of Tarsila do Amaral, Di Cavalcanti, and Cildo Meireles, you’ll want to replenish yourself with the Tour Laguiole, a tasting menu comprised of four main dishes, cheeses, and dessert.
To close out this special trip, you may want to try Mira!, located in one of the main hubs for Latin American contemporary art: the Casa Daros annex in Botafogo. With Roberta Ciasca as head chef, comfort food here receives the professional treatment. The inviting setting is ideal for a gathering of friends. Try one of their famous salads as a main or as a side accompanying one of the delicious mains from the grill, you won’t be disappointed. During happy hour, it’s worth trying their selection of tapas and their special beer menu. You might even be surprised to find a special menu inspired by one of the current exhibitions being displayed.
There’s no doubt about it—haute cuisine and art are a match made in heaven!