Aconchego Carioca is something of a legend of the Rio dining scene – surely every aspiring restaurateur must dream that they can emulate it’s success. Located in unfashionable Zona Norte, Aconchego was ‘discovered’ by Claude Troisgros (see CT Boucherie) some years ago and is now a hugely successful restaurant that draws people from all over town.
As well as boasting a huge selection of beers, Aconchego specialises in petiscos (snacks/bar food). You can think of these as a Brazilian take on tapas – lots of little goodies that you can choose and then share with your fellow diners.
Top of the list of things to try must be the bolinhos de feijoada. Feijoada is Brazil’s national dish, a stew of black beans, beef, pork and sausages which is served with couve (Collard Greens) and slices of orange. Somehow the people at Aconchego managed to combine the ingredients of feijoada into a light, crispy ball of deliciousness, complete with tiny portion of couve in the centre. This is served up with torrresmo (crispy pork skin), orange slices and a shot of lime juice – it has become the thing you have to try when you visit this restaurant! I would also recommend the amazing moquequinha – a delicious creamy, shrimp stew that is delectable.
Pros: Great beer selection, those bolinhos!
Cons: This is a very popular restaurant – book ahead or be prepared to wait a long time for a table (but see below).
Address: Rua Barão de Iguatemi, 379 – Praça da Bandeira
Telephone: +55 (21) 2273-1035
What if Aconchego is really busy?
Last time I attempted to go to Aconchego Carioca it was a Saturday, the sun was shining and consequently the place was really busy! We were told there would be an hour wait for a table. If you don’t feel like waiting then you are faced with a dilemma – chances are that you came all the way across town, specifically for this and you were desperate to try those famous bolinhos de feijoada.
Well let me present you with a solution: O Bar da Frente (translation: The Bar in front). As the name suggests, this bar is directly opposite its famous neighbour and also serves up excellent bolinhos de feijoada and other tasty treats. The staff are friendly, the food is cheaper than at Aconchego and you probably won’t have to wait more than 15 minutes, even on a busy day.