Curitiba  has a fairly varied restaurant scene, and it is possible to eat well and quite affordably. European cuisine representing Paraná ’s major immigrant groups is a strong point—you’ll find many options in the center. Contemporary eateries are clustered in the chic bairro of Batel.
For delicious inexpensive fare, there are many choices. Green Life (Alameda Dr. Carlos de Carvalho 271, Batel, tel. 41/3223-8490, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. daily, R$10–15) serves a varied vegetarian per kilo buffet featuring organic produce grown at the restaurant’s own farm outside Curitiba.
The Restaurante-Escola do Senac (Rua André de Barros 750, 2nd Fl., Centro, tel. 41/3219-4854, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., R$10–20) is run by the Curitiba branch of the Senac restaurant school. This means that the apprentice chefs are highly motivated and the waitstaff are on their best behavior. Aside from a constantly changing à la carte menu—with a choice of entrée, main course, and dessert—barreado is served on Thursdays and feijoada on Saturdays.
Located in a historic house, Estrela da Terra (Rua Jaime Reis 176, São Francisco, tel. 41/3222-5007, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m., R$16–25) is one of the few restaurants in Curitiba  that serve typical Paranaense cuisine. Hearty dishes created by the state’s earliest settlers—and revealing a marked indigenous influence (creamed corn, manioc, and pine nuts)—are laid out in a lavish and very affordable buffet. Try Paraná ’s most famous dish, barreado. The house specialty, estrela da terra, consists of charque (cured beef) cooked with creamy Catupiry cheese and served inside a roasted pumpkin. Leave room for desserts such as orange pudding with grilled fruit.
Slightly removed from the center, Cantinho do Eisbein (Av. dos Estados 863, Água Verde, tel. 41/3329-5155, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 7–11:30 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., R$20–30) is a highly recommended German restaurant. The owners themselves greet you and serve the generous portions of eisbein (pork knees), kassler (smoked pork loin), and a delicious stuffed duck, accompanied with garnishes such as apple puree, sweet red cabbage, and white sausage.
Durski (Av. Jaime Reis 254, São Francisco, tel. 41/3225-7893, www.durski.com.br , 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–midnight Sat., 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., R$40–50) is considered the best Ukrainian restaurant in Brazil . If you’re feeling hungry, go all out and order the banquete eslavo (Slavic banquet)—a feast of Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian dishes ranging from borscht with smoked ham and cream to goulash and potato varenikes (dumplings) stuffed with ricotta and topped with mushrooms. The setting is intimate and the wine cellar is impressive.
For some of the finest gourmet creations in town, Curitibano foodies head to Boulevard (Rua Voluntários da Pátria 539, Centro, tel. 41/3224-8244, noon–2:30 p.m. and 7:30–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 7:30 p.m.–midnight Sun., R$40–55). Although Chef Celso Freire’s culinary roots are French and Italian, he has a fondness for Brazilian ingredients. Marinated perna-de-moça, a local fish from Paranaguá Bay, and roast rabbit with mushrooms and cream of corn are two examples of dishes on the recently elaborated Paranaense menu. For dessert, try the irresistible passion fruit consommé with abacaxi (white pineapple) ice cream and macaroons. At the bar, miniaturas gastronômicas—tapas-sized portions of menu items—are served (6:30–8:30 p.m.) along with wine.
Meanwhile, the traditional 19th-century northern Italian bairro of Santa Felicidade (8 km/5 miles northwest of the city center) has become—for better and for worse—a gastronomic circuit for tourists and locals. Along the main drag of Avenida Manoel Ribas you’ll find a rather overwhelming number of cantinas and trattorias (with seating capacities of up to 2,000), many dubiously decorated to resemble castelos and palazzos. Aside from the kitsch factor, the food itself is often mediocre (not to mention the wine, which is made from local grapes). There are, however, exceptions, such as Famiglia Fadanelli (Av. Manoel Ribas 5667, Santa Felicidade, tel. 41/3372-1616, 7–11 p.m. Tues.–Fri., noon–3:30 p.m. and 7–11:30 p.m. Sat., and noon–3:30 p.m. Sun., R$20–30), with a more discreetly modern decor, a well-chosen wine list, and a carefully honed menu that ranges from delicious antipasti to specialties such as pork cutlets with crunchy broccoli and cheese-stuffed agnoletti pasta in a sauce of grapes and toasted almonds.