Next to the gorgeous Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro is Zazá Bistrô Tropical, a converted house serving delicious South American Modern food.
Decorated with flare, the house is divided in three dining areas: outdoor veranda, indoor dining room, and a candle lit lounge upstairs with plush seating.
We’ve tried to make reservations but after calling twice the restaurant said reservations were available only through the website up to 19h30, so to avoid possible long waits we decided to go early.
As we arrived, we were promptly seated at a table across the bar. The tables are quite close together and the music is a bit loud, so the place can be a little noisy.
The service was confused at the beginning but it improved as dinner went on. By 20h30 the restaurant was almost full, a mix of locals and tourists.
According to the website, Zazá Bistrô Tropical prides itself for using quality organic ingredients when possible. The menu is also unique as it is inspired by the owner’s passion for travel incorporating ingredients and dishes from all over the world including Moroccan Pastillas, Thai Soup, Indian Samosas, Chinese Dim Sum, Japanese Sashimi and more. Although we tried to stick to the more Brazilian dishes on the menu, we had a few Spanish/Moroccan/Indian inspired appetizers.
We started with a tasting plate of Tapiocas, Croquetas, Pastillas & Samosas (R$50). The tapiocas were ok, although neither I nor my partner could identify the ingredients by their taste. They are made with coalho cheese and tomato filling served with a sweet apricot and ginger sauce. The Croquetas, Pastillas and Samosas were all above average in flavor, freshness and presentation.
My favorite was the tamarind pork rib samosas – moist, flavourful with a nice kick from the spices.
As entrées we decided to go Brazilian tradition with a twist. My partner ordered Moqueca Caiçara (R$72) made with baked plantains and grilled fresh tender squid, sided with aromatic coconut rice and palm tree oil toasted manioc flour. The overall impression and taste were very good, we would recommend it!
I had the Grilled Fish Filet (R$79) with organic pupunha palm, baked plantain, coconut and nuts toasted flour topped with spicy sweet-sour sauce. The velvet fish texture was perfect and the combination of flavors excellent.
Together with dinner we ordered a bottle of De Lucca Libero Tannat Reserva (R$105). Although the restaurant is well known for its unique cocktail drinks, it has a nice wine menu.
The meal came down, including service and coffee, to R$378,96. The food was definitely worth the value, but the service and ambiance were a bit disappointing. As an overall experience we found it ok. We would only go back if we could sit at a veranda table, which seems to have more space and the music isn’t so loud.
(The Brazilian currency - the Real - is worth around 27 Euro cents, 32 US cents and 24 British pennies).
Zazá Bistrô Tropical: Rua Joana Angélica, 40 – Ipanema
Nearest metro station: Nossa Senhora da Paz.
Phone: +55 21 2247-9101
Email: [email protected]