I have been thinking for a while to blog more about food and restaurants at destinations I’ve visited. Whilst, I don’t consider this my forte, I do feel it adds aroma to my blogs, and is another avenue for me to share more information about places I’ve visited.
South America is known for its meat and wine. Whilst, I’m not a big wine drinker, I can confirm, the steak is amazing. Here are some of the choices of restaurants you could try if you’re doing this tour. Please note: as much as possible, I’ve tried recommending restaurants in the vicinity of the hotels that G Adventures uses.
Cero5, this is a steak house about 1 and a half blocks from the Park Royal Buenos Aires. It’s nice and cheap, and a fantastic restaurant. It just so happened that I ended up there on both nights that I was in Buenos Aires, before the trip. I landed in Buenos Aires a day before the tour group meets and after a 12 hour flight, I wanted to go somewhere close so I could eat and come back to the hotel and crash.
On the first night, I opted for a chicken dish, to be ‘safe’. It wasn’t bad at all. The next night, as the group went to this restaurant for dinner, I opted for the New York steak – best decision ever. A friend ordered a Rose, and to our surprise they turned up with the bottle. They added the Rose to my bill, and to my surprise a steak dinner with a bottle of wine cost me just NZD$29.35. Yes, I had to do a double take.
As my flights were booked to and from Buenos Aires to Auckland, I stayed in Buenos Aires for a couple of extra days after the trip ended. The Sheraton, where I stayed, is not too far from the Park Royal Buenos Aires. In fact, the closest shopping area to both hotels is the same place. I asked at the Sheraton what was a good place to have breakfast, and they sent me to Florida Garden, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Sheraton and about the same from the Park Royal. Whilst on tour, the hotels have breakfast booked, however, if you find yourself looking to go somewhere for a nice breakfast or a meal, Florida Garden is a good option.
Getting to Iguassu Falls
On this day, you are mainly travelling until you’ve finished with the Iguassu Falls from the Brazil side and head back to the hotel. I would recommend snacking along the way, as from memory I don’t think we had a proper sit down lunch.
As this was a tiring day, I opted to have room service, plus I was still quite jet lagged and could feel the irritation coming along due to lack of sleep. There are a number of restaurants in the vicinity of the hotel, however, I can’t recommend any as I didn’t try any.
The second day, at the Iguassu Falls, we spend the whole day exploring and hiking through the Argentinian side ending with a boat ride that takes you for a shower under the falls. As you can imagine, after getting drenched and then climbing 150 steps with wet shorts, I was in no mood to head out again for dinner. Night 2 was also spent with room service. I wish I were a bit more exciting, but I can be very picky sometimes - #ThisIsWhyImSingle
Enroute to Paraty
The travel to Paraty is somewhat stressful. After a short flight to Sao Paulo, you have a 6ish hour bus ride to Paraty. This involves driving through windy roads and if you’re like me and get motion sickness, I highly recommend you eat light through the day. Once you land in Sao Paulo, after about a 45-minutes to an hour drive, you are taken to a ‘food court’. These are quite common in Brazil, as we went to at least two during the entire tour. How this particular food court works, as you enter you’re given a card and it’s a buffet. You grab a plate and walk around and see what takes your fancy and serve yourself, grab a drink if you wish, and go to the first counter, where they weigh your plate and make notes on the items and add this to your card. You eat, and if you want seconds you go through the same process. Once you’re done you take your card to the second counter and they tally up your cost and you pay. To exit, you have to insert your card into a machine.
Whilst, there are a lot of options here, I would highly recommend, that you do not eat to your heart’s content. Eat light, and try not to eat ‘heavy’ food. After about 4 hours of driving through windy roads, the bus stops again for a toilet break and as this is a petrol pump, you can buy some snack items from the store.
You arrive at your hotel around 6pm or so. Paraty town, is a nice little cobblestone town centre, with a number of restaurants (mostly steak houses). The group went to Thai Brasil in Paraty for dinner and I can definitely recommend this place. It’s a welcome change from roughly 3 days straight of eating a lot of steak and western food. Unless, of course, you prefer the steaks, in which case choices are a plenty.
The second night, as I had been on a boat tour (I recommend this activity by the way!), and had a lot to eat, I didn’t really go out to dinner on the second night. I went out with a select few people and we snacked on chips etc. at one of the pubs.
Ah, the Island. You must always beware of the Island (not really – I just needed something dramatic). Ilha Grande is best when there’s only sunshine, but given its geographic location, the days of sunshine aren’t many. It is an Island, with mostly walking activities (there are no roads!) and a lot of hikes that take you up and down steep hills. Whilst we were there, unfortunately we had two full days of rain. This did allow me to just relax in my hotel room and go for a walk in the surrounding areas, but given how wet it was, and that muddy puddles form quite quickly, I preferred staying indoors.
The one restaurant that I did end up at, on both nights (one as the tour went there, and the second because I was too lazy and I loved the food so why not) is Lonier Garoupas. This is again, mainly pub food, and I can recommend sharing a meal as the portion size is massive. The first night, I opted for the chicken parmigiana and holy mother of god, it was everything. The second night I opted for the chicken breast, which was average compared to the parmigiana, however, I did have the chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. 100% recommend that dessert. What’s even better, they do a Caipirinha happy hour every day! It’s a buy one get one free deal. But just be careful with those drinks, they get you intoxicated quite quickly.
Rio De Janeiro:
As our tour ended here, we didn’t really get to try out the restaurants. We went to another ‘food court’ across from the Copa Cabana beach. For our extra night in Rio, when we stayed at the Sheraton, we lunched at our hotel, as it was a resort style hotel.
I hope this blog gives you a few ideas on where to eat, and I’m hoping to continue these food focused blogs across the globe.
Feel free to suggest some restaurants that you’ve come across on this tour or at these destinations!
Until next time,