Introducing, Garota de Ipanema, "The Girl from Ipanema", restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. This was one of the foodie highlights of my Brazil trip. A true diamond in the rough of piles of baked cheese and meat pastries. But first, let's start with how I get there.
Me and 3 other friends rented some bikes for the day and biked from our penthouse to the lagoon. We had no plans for the day except to bike around. Then we spotted paddle boats and I love paddling anything.
Here I am paddling our boat.
A swan boat to be exact. Look at me, getting tanner and chubbier.
I hate to put this woman's (or man's?) hair on blast here but look at the doggie!!!
A short bike ride later and we found Garota de Ipanema.
A refreshing melon (melao) juice for me and classic caipirinha for Brandon.
Fried medium sized shrimp (camarao) with crispy onion and garlic bits on top. Soo good. Oh so good. It really hits the savory spot. I ate them with the shells on. Didn't even bother peeling. That's where all the flavor collects. Phil would have been so proud of me.
I was copying one of my fave food blogger, Melody Fury's signature prawn head suckage pose. She does it much better.
This was broccoli rice in a tomatoey shrimp sauce on top of white fish. In a few more posts you will see a different version of this. Garota made this in a jambalaya kind of style. Mushy, saucy, flavorful. Very good.
On another occassion, I also went with a larger group to feast on Garota's dishes.
Salsa topping for the beef.
Mini pastels (pastries with meat inside). There were a mix of shrimp, beef, and cheese ones. Shrimp was the best.
Fried rice with fries. We really did not need this plate. It was delicious but put us over the top on the gut busting meter.
One thing I do have to note about Brazilian food is that they really know how to do the thin crust pizzas right. This one was so good.
Grilled white fish with manioc cones. On many of the menus it would list "Brazilian white fish" which could be any type of cod, pollock, haddock, etc. Manioc is also yucca roots. They are very starchy and mostly flavorless.
The beef is really what Garota and all of Brazil is known for. At Garota, picanha (top sirloin) portions come out on a hot grill, seared all around and rare in the middle. As you eat, you move pieces to the middle to cook them some more. I like rare so I ate them as is. This type of portion is meant to be shared with a group.
Both times I ate at Garota, I left fully satisfied and happy. We all told ourselves several times that we were so full of meat we would not come back again. However, a group of our friends ate here 3 nights in a row. Shout out to our friend Colin who probably went here 4 times and tried just about everything on the menu. Garota de Ipanema was the best restaurant I tried in Brazil. Definitely worth a visit if you go to Rio de Janeiro.
Garota de Ipanema is named after the famous song of the same title. Composer Vinicius de Moraes saw a young girl stroll by while he was at the restaurant.