Recife has one of the richest gastronomical structure in Brazil; eating out is a favorite past time; new restaurants are always opening.
Dishes typical from several regions of Brazil can be found in Recife: churrasco from the southern States, feijoada carioca, several restaurants from Bahia.
Also, several international cuisines can be tasted in Recife: Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese and others.
Don't miss the regional food (Brazilian tourists love it): many vegetables (manioc, pumpkim), several meat (goat, lamb, jerked beef) prepared with secular wisdom; seafood is abundant.
Every year, Veja, the most important Brazilian magazine, publishes a list of the best restaurants in some of the major Brazilian cities.
Below, a translated version of Veja's list and places that offers Recife's regional food.
- Best restaurant in town: Leite. The name Leite also means "milk" in Portuguese, but the restaurant was named after its founder, Armando Manoel Leite da França; mr. Leite, a Portuguese immigrant, established a small kioske back in 1882, which changed ownership a few times and evolved to become the restaurant today.
Over these 124 years, Leite has been a meeting point of the important persons of Recife and Pernambuco; among the important visitors, one can mention Orson Welles and Jean Paul Sartre.
Suggested dish: giant shrimp grilled on the butter. A regional desert called cartola (a banana topped with a slice of cheese, baked with sugar and cinnamon) is a must.
Address: Praça Joaquim Nabuco, 147, Santo Antônio, 3224-7977 (180 seats). Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 11:30am-4pm. Established in 1882.
- Best regional food: Oficina do Sabor. The chef, César Santos, was elected Chef of the Year 2005 in Pernambuco. César combines seafood, meat and regional ingredients in his recipes. A suggested dish is Camarão no Forró (shrimp in forró): shrimp with pepper, mustard, mint and a sauce of mango, passion fruit and coconut.
Address: Rua do Amparo, 335, Olinda, 3429-3331 (120 seats). Opening hours: Tue - Thu: noon-4pm and 6pm-0am; Sat: noon-1am; Sun: noon-5pm. Established in 1992.
- Best meat and rodizio: Porcão. High quality ingredients and a well prepared staff. Porcão has also branches in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Miami. Besides loads of meat, customers may also help themselves in a buffet of salads, seafood and sushi.
The restaurant offers pick up service at the major hotels in Recife.
Address: Avenida Engenheiro Domingos Ferreira, 4215, Boa Viagem, 3465-3999 (260 seats). Opening hours: Tue - Thu: noon-0:30am; Fri - Sat: noon-last client; Sun: noon-0:30am. Established in 1989.
- Best fish and seafood restaurant: Bargaço.
Bargaço is specialized in fish and seafood prepared the Bahia way: the moquecas (pieces of fish or shrimp stewed with vegetables and coconut milk) are simply delicious. Expect queues on weekends.
Address: Avenida Boa Viagem, 670, Boa Viagem, 3465-1847 (150 seats). Opening hours: Sun - Thu: noon-0am; Fri - Sat: noon-1am. Established in 1990.
- Buraco De Otília
An old, preserved house, serving as meeting point for intellectuals. Typical homemade food. Chef's recommendation: chicken on sauce.
Address : R. da Aurora, 1231, Santo Amaro, Recife. Phone: (81) 3231-152
- Edmilson da Carne De Sol
Steak House style.Specializes in regional foods and is proud to offer customers the best “sun-dried beef” in Brazil. House specialty: “bull sun-dried beef.”
Address : R. Maria Irene, 311, Jordão, Recife. Phone: (81) 3462-2679
Typical northern Brazil foods. Very popular self-service restaurant. Chef's recommendation: marinated jerked beef.
Address : Av. 17 de Agosto, 807, Casa Forte, Recife. Phone: (81) 3268-2793 / R. Baltazar Pereira, 32, Boa Viagem, Recife. Phone: (81) 3463-7874
Famous for its sirloin steak, served in style on charcoal rechaud. Serves the best chicken on sauce ever tried, and on Sundays the “stew a la Pernambuco” is not to be missed.
Address : Rodovia BR-101 Norte, Dois Irmãos, Recife. Phone: (81) 3268-7088 / 3441-7564
- Guiaiamum Gigante
One of the best places to eat crab. Always serves alternative dishes such as shrimps on garlic and oil sauce.
Address : Rua Dr. José de Góes, 299, Parnamirim, Recife – Tel. (81) 3441-1509.
Note : Open Tuesday through Friday from 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. All major credit cards accepted.