Occupying a very attractive early-20th-century house, Chez Philippe (Av. Independência 1005, Independência, tel. 51/3312-5333, www.chezphilippe.com.br, 7:30–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., R$35–55) is owned and operated by one of Brazil’s foremost French chefs. Hailing from Provence, Philippe Remondeau has cooking in his DNA—most of his family have been cooks and pâtissiers, and he does them proud with daring inventions that draw on local ingredients and flavors. Foie gras in a pastry shell with watercress, ginger and jabuticaba sauce, namorado fish with dried mushroom crumble, and passion fruit mille-feuille with white chocolate sauce are examples of his unusual creations. If you can’t decide on one dish, splurge for the menu confiança, a five-course mini banquet for R$100. Reservations are recommended.
Serving authentic southern Italian cuisine, Copacabana (Praça Garibaldi 2, Cidade Baixa, tel. 51/3221-4616, www.restcopacabana.com.br, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 7 p.m.–1 a.m. Tues.–Sun., R$20–35) has been around for three family generations. The faithful diners who clustered around its wooden tables in their student days still swear by the homemade pastas and delicious veal and lamb dishes served in this cozy trattoria.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition