It’s impossible to go hungry in Búzios, particularly in Armação, which is home to dozens of sophisticated and highly reputed eateries. One of the town’s top restaurants, Satyricon (Av. José Bento Ribeiro Dantas 478, Praia da Armação, tel. 22/2623-2691, www.satyricon.com.br, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. daily in low season, R$65–80) became so famous after it opened that it spawned a second (equally famous) restaurant in Ipanema. The Búzios original has the advantage of a wide terrace with seductive ocean views, which prove conducive to the savoring of the freshly caught fish and lobsters (those aquariums aren’t just for decoration) prepared with Italian seasonings and flair.
Rivaling Satyricon in terms of refinement and price is Sawasdee (Av. José Bento Ribeiro Dantas 422, Praia da Armação, tel. 22/2623-4644, www.sawasdee.com.br, 6 p.m.–close Thurs.–Tues., R$50–65), which specializes in creative Thai-influenced cuisine. Two of the most popular dishes are stir-fried shrimp in oyster sauce with slivers of mango and cashews, and grilled marinated duck in tamarind sauce with sautéed algae.
Capricciosa (Av. José Bento Ribeiro Dantas 500, Praia da Armação, tel. 22/2623-1595, www.capricciosa.com.br, 5 p.m.–midnight Sun. and Tues.–Thurs., 6 p.m.–2 a.m. Fri.–Sat., R$25–35) is another successful Búzios gourmet endeavor that proved so popular that Cariocas demanded outlets in Rio as well. You will understand why when you bite into the astonishingly crisp and light crust pizzas with toppings that range from traditional (bacon, ham, tomatoes, mushroom, and eggs—the restaurant’s signature pie) to unlikely (goat cheese, poached pears, orange, and walnuts).
Bananaland (Rua Manuel Turíbia de Farias 50, Praia de Armação, tel. 22/2623-2666, 11 a.m.–midnight daily, R$12–20) is a self-service per kilo restaurant that offers one of Armação’s most affordable and varied eating options.
Chez Michou (Rua das Pedras 90, Praia de Armação, tel. 22/2623-2169, www.chezmichou.com.br, 1 p.m.–close daily, R$10–15) is a Búzios institution famous for its mouthwatering crêpes. The crêpes (you can choose from more than 40 sweet and savory fillings) are quite sublime. At night, it becomes one of Búzios’s major hot spots for tanned twenty-somethings.
For sweet sustenance of a more tropical variety, head to Mil Frutas (Av. José Bento Ribeiro Dantas 362, Praia da Armação, tel. 22/2623-6436), Rio’s finest sorveteria, where succulent flavors range from the most exotic Amazonian fruits to cocktail-worthy concoctions featuring sake and cachaça.
Serious beach bums can avoid the congestion of Armação and hop from barraca to barraca on the peninsula’s many beaches. João Fernandes, Brava, Ferradura, and Geribá have lots of idyllic palm-thatched bars that serve up grilled fish and seafood at reasonable prices. At Manguinhos, you can watch the local fisherfolk haul in the daily catch and then join them at the Bar dos Pescadores (Av. José Bento Ribeiro Dantas 85, Box 7, Associação dos Pescadores de Manguinhos, Praia de Manguinhos, tel. 22/2623-7437, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, R$20–30). Shaded by a giant almond tree, this appealingly modest hangout serves up fish and seafood dishes that are especially good. It’s an ideal vantage point for watching the sunset.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition