Sep 26, 2009

Fasano, the top hotel in Rio: a slideshow

Better late than never: finally edited my photos of Fasano Rio. Had to go back to them today because I was being questioned: why do I think the Al Mare, Fasano's seafood restaurant, is the best place to eat in town? Simple: it's got the most elegant and beautiful dining room... And afterwards, you're only steps away from one of the coolest bars in Rio, the Londra. The slideshow proves my point but shows much more: the suite of my first stay, the smaller, simpler room of my second stay, the pool, the view, heck, even Diana Krall! To see them in higher rez and full screen, press play and then click on the icon at the bottom right corner of the box below:

And more Rio hotels on this blog:

  1. The best hotels in Barra da Tijuca
  2. Sheraton has the best spa in Barra da Tijuca
  3. The Ouro Verde, in Copacabana: and old classic has gone downhill
  4. La Maison, in Gávea, is one of Rio's best places to stay
  5. The best hotels in Leblon, Rio
  6. The best hotels in Ipanema, Rio
  7. Hotel Fasano Rio, in Ipanema: the best in town
  8. The best hotels in Copacabana, Rio
  9. The best hotels in Santa Teresa, Rio
  10. The hotel Santa Teresa, in Santa Teresa, Rio: a full report with photos

São Paulo's best pizzeria, Bráz, opens an outpost in Barra da Tijuca, Rio

Photos: Constance Escobar

It's an old running joke between paulistas (natives of São Paulo) that the cariocas (from Rio) don't know a thing about pizza. Like every joke, this one, too, has a little bit of truth to it. But in recent years Rio restaurants - and pizzerias - have greatly improved.

Last month the owners of São Paulo's top pizza place, the Bráz, opened a second Rio outpost, in the glitzy Barra da Tijuca district (near the famed Barraca do Pepê beach kiosk).

The place is stunning, like all other casas Bráz, in a retro way. Exclusive to the Barra branch, the Barra Speciale is a pizza made with the exquisite burrata cheese, so delicate and soft.

But... truth be told, I'll stick to the original Bráz, in the Jardim Botânico district, much closer to Ipanema and Leblon, if I ever get a craving. Barra, for me, is just a little too far on the other side of the tracks. Or tunnels, rather...

Bráz Barra – Rua Érico Veríssimo 46

Tel.: (21) 2491-9533

Tela cheia
Bráz‎ Jardim Botânico
Rua Maria Angélica, 129
Tel.: (21) 2535-0687

And more dining in Rio on this blog:

  1. Roberta Sudbrack: the best chef in Rio?
  2. Terzetto Café: great breakfast spot in Ipanema
  3. The best restaurants in Rio according to the experts
  4. Bráz, Carlota... São Paulo restaurants open Rio outposts
  5. Where to eat bacalhau (cod): the best Portuguese restaurants
  6. Le Pré-Catalan at the Sofitel: when hotel dining is done right

Sep 21, 2009

Ping Pong: first upscale Chinese restaurant opens in São Paulo

Photos: Lea Dorf

At last, São Paulo has a chic Chinese to call its own: Ping Pong, which just opened near La Mar, in Itaim.

It's actually a branch of an upscale London-based chain, imported by entrepreneur Ricardo Rinkevicius.

They specialize in Dim sum such as the translucid
Scallop and Shitake balls (R$ 9). Seafood dumpling (R$ 9,75) and Pork shu mai (pork and shrimp balls, R$10,50).

Some of the dim sum are wrapped in puff pastry and baked: Vegetable puff (R$ 9,50), Pork puff (with honey and caramelized onions, R$ 9,90).

They also serve deep-fried Vietnamese spring rolls ( R$ 8,90) and Crispy prawn balls (with sweet-and-sour sauce, R$ 10,50).

Initial reports from my friends have been quite positive, although Brazilians don't really know (or like) dim sum. I've heard the space is gorgeous and hopping.

Ping Pong: Rua Lopes Neto, 15, tel. (11) 3078-5808

More dining in São Paulo:

Alex Atala:
Coffee Shops, Pastry Shops, snacks:

Japanese restaurants:

Sep 12, 2009

Vanity Fair magazine has high praise for Trancoso beach in Bahia

It's what we've all been fearing: the US media has "discovered" the wonders of Trancoso and is now spreading the word. Which of course means more Americans will flock to the übercool beach spot in Southern Bahia, pousada owners will jack their prices even higher and the laid-back feel of the ex-hippie enclave and fishing town will be replaced by a ritzier, dressed-up vibe. Sigh...

In its September '09 issue, Vanity Fair calls Trancoso's beaches "deserted, wide and virgin". Uh... a bit of an exageration, perhaps? Or maybe the writer was there in the off-season?

They do get it right when they say everyone wears havaianas flip-flops and drinks caipirinhas, but say that the de rigueur beach attire are tiny bikinis for girls (tiny is of course a very relative term, as Americans consider almost every bikini tiny) and Brazilian speedos for men (eeesh! so not true!).

And more Trancoso on this blog:
  1. Uxua, a new-ish luxury boutique hotel in Trancoso
  2. Jacaré do Brasil: my favourite Trancoso pousada
  3. A complete listing of hotels and pousadas that I recommend
  4. Terravista: one of the world's most beautiful golf courses
  5. Trancoso: all the best restaurants
  6. Trancoso and Espelho: top 5 things to do
  7. A slideshow of my favourite Trancoso photos
  8. Tauana hotel, in Corumbau, South of Trancoso

Sep 5, 2009

New York party French Tuesdays premieres in São Paulo September 15

What started off as a get-together of French expats in New York over the last few years grew to become French Tuesdays, a full-fledged company with CEO and all. And what is it, exactly? Parties frequented mostly by French expats, where the champagne flows freely. Simple as that, except that they close it off to non-members.

French Tuesdays have expanded to Miami, L.A., San Francisco and - go figure! - even Paris.
And now the next city to welcome the Tuesday night party is São Paulo. The DJ, appropriately enough, is called Jean Michel and will fly in from NY especially for the event. Don't just show up, though: the party has its own set of rules. Here's the fine print:

"French Tuesdays Members only can register on the guest list and get free access to the event with their guests.

Registration to our events has to be done online, using a personal login and password.
Photo ID is required at the door and the name on the guest list has to match the one on the ID to be granted free access.
Complimentary access is granted only when registered on the guest list before the closure time. Members who are not registered on the guest list but want to attend the event will have to pay a cover fee at the door.

Members can register with guests to all the events taking place in their city. The number of guests varies with the capacity of the venue and can be restricted at our discretion.

Web Members
Web Members can register to 2 events per year and cannot invite guests. In case of no-show, registration rights cannot be recredited. The total number of web members is limited to 20 per event. First come, first served!

If you are not a member, you can attend our events if invited by a Member. Ask them to add your full name to their guest list. Members only can register names on the guest list.
Access of non-registered guests may be granted against a cover fee.
According to the attendance number, we will do our best to accommodate non-members, but access can never be guaranteed. We will always give priority to the members when a capacity problem arises."

rench Tuesdays São Paulo:
3P4, Rua Bandeira Paulista, 676, Itaim

More São Paulo nightlife: