Zaza Bistrô Tropical (Rua Joana Angêlica 40, Ipanema, tel. 21/2247-9101, www.zazabistro.com.br , 7:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. Sun.–Thurs., 7:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m. Fri.–Sat., R$35–45) is a funky hippie chic eatery where tropicality—Asian, African, and American—rules. Typical main dishes on the inventive, organic menu include lamb shishbarak served on truffles and Arabian ravioli with yogurt mint sauce and almonds. The colorful, whimsical decor, including red velvet flowers hanging from the ceiling, silk pillows scattered around the floor, and lots of candlelight—is conducive to romance and relaxation. Customers are encouraged to take off their shoes and sprawl for a while.
Carlota (Rua Dias Ferreira 64, Lojas B-C, Leblon, tel. 21/2540-6821, www.carlota.com.br , 7:30 p.m.–midnight Tues.–Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sat., 1–11 p.m. Sun., R$40–50) is owned and operated by one of Brazil ’s top contemporary chefs, Carla Pernambuco, who is known for her unusual multicultural combinations of flavors and textures. Her most recent forays into Iberian culinary traditions have yielded specialties such as crunchy shrimp with smoked ham risotto and bacalhau (cod) ravioli in a truffle mascarpone sauce. Among her legendary desserts is a guava soufflé bathed in a creamy sauce of Catupiry cheese. Due to the size of this intimate Leblon  bistro—dominated by soothing whites and natural woods—reservations are recommended.