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Top three restaurants in Olinda (Recife), NE Brazil

Olinda in North East Brazil, adjacent to Recife, is very cute and very small. You could walk along every single street in the UNESCO heritage town centre in just a few hours, if you strolled.

There are plenty of places to choose to eat, from holes in the wall, market stalls, people selling grilled chicken kebabs from their front room,  a few fancy restaurants and several more casual cheaper restaurants.

The groin that juts out to sea

The groin opposite Masiqueira that juts out to sea

Our top three restaurants:

  1. Masiqueira – a seaside restaurant full of locals enjoying a long Saturday lunch (see previous post)
  2. Restaurant Beijuirá and
  3. Oficina do Sabor.

More about the latter two below.

Restaurant Beijuirá

On our first night we didn’t venture far, just up some stairs to Restaurant Beijuirá. The large menu makes choosing something a challenge, also too because flavour combinations are so unusual: prawns with whiskey, or crab cases with chestnut sauce – the latter we shared as an entrée. It was pleasant and the chestnut sauce was delicious.Beijupira_2

For main course, I had prawns in coconut sauce with guava rice. Yes, guava rice, that is, rice with guava. A very unusual combination yet it tasted pleasant. The prawns were fine, smaller than the king prawns we are used to in Australia and nicely cooked. The dish was enjoyable but didn’t really wow me.

Beijupira_3Zorba choose a codfish dish and I can’t tell you what it’s like because he gobbled it up before I had a chance to taste it. He did taste mine though and said my dish was better than his.

Beijupira_4

We were going to have wine with dinner, but when the reasonably priced wine we choose wasn’t available and a more expensive one brought the table as a substitute, we decided to have beer instead. No upselling please.

Our total bill for one starter, two mains, two local beers, and a bottle of sparkling water came to 230 Real, or A$115. Would we rush back there as far as value for money and wow-factor? I’m not sure. Plenty of others we’ve met along the way said they enjoyed it.

The views from the restaurant are lovely and look out to the twinkling lights of Olinda and beyond. The setting is lovely and it’s more up market than the average restaurant. Some staff speak English.

Verdict: An expensive and pleasant meal with good service in a nice setting. 7.5/10.

Restaurant Beijuirá,  Saldanha Marinha, s/n, Alto da Sé, Olinda, RE, Brazil.
Tel: +55 081 3439.6691 or 9734.1144
http://www.beijupiraolinda.com.br

 

Oficina do Sabor

Not only is it known as one of the best restaurants in Brazil’s north east, Oficina do Sabor in Olinda is famous for serving food in pumpkins. It attracts television celebrities and wealthy types from the region.

From the pastel-coloured building on the street, this restaurant doesn’t look like much. After walking through a short hallway to a reception area, the restaurant opens out to a large terrace with views to Recife. Clearly, this was a restaurant for special occasions as every diner was dressed well and it was easy to spot the tourists.

The menu offered a good choice of dishes. The mains were categorised into seafood, pumpkins, meat, and gratins (baked in sauce).OficinaDoSabor_1

For starters we chose a tasting plate with fish ball croquettes, eggplant, prawn cutlet, a fried cheese (like haloumi), empandas, and a cup of absolutely exquisite lobster bisque. That bisque was smooth, savoury, perfectly balanced and I wanted more.OficinaDoSabor_2

The staff didn’t speak much English, however, the waiter understood me when I gave my compliments to the chef for the lobster bisque. When the waiter was communicating with hand gestures, seemingly signalling if I wanted another one, I nodded enthusiastically. I wasn’t sure if that’s what he was asking me, but to my delight, he brought out another cup.OficinaDoSabor_3

For main course we order a pumpkin stuffed with chicken. It was about half the price of the pumpkins stuffed with shrimp – and I have to confess that shrimp on a menu reminds me of Dad’s fishing bait, so I never order it. What I loved the most, besides the juicy chicken pieces and creamy sauce, was that we could scrape the inside of the pumpkin and eat that also, making it a massive meal. It also came served with rice. Needless to say, we had absolutely no room for dessert after that.

Verdict: Expensive by Brazilian standards, but worth it for the good service and great food. 8.5/10.

Oficina do Sabor, Rua do Amparo, 335, 53020Amparo Olinda, RE Brazil
Tel: +55 018 474 810
http://www.oficinadosabor.com/contato.htmlOficinaDoSabor_4

 

Stay

We stayed in a lovely small guest house known as a pousada called Pousada do Amparo, named after the street it was on. Highly recommended. Check out my next post for more.PousadaDoAmparo_featured1

 

FACT FILE

Restaurant Beijuirá
Rua Saldanha Marinha, s/n, Alto da Sé, Olinda
Tel: +55 081 3439.6691 or 9734.1144
http://www.beijupiraolinda.com.br

Oficina do Sabor
Rua do Amparo, 335, 53020Amparo Olinda, RE, Brazil
Tel: +55 018 474 810
http://www.oficinadosabor.com/contato.html

 

 

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