Telephone (21) 2224 1942
It may have been here a few years, but even those working in the offices on the very same downtown block have been walking past Besi without knowing what joys await inside. Finally the word is spreading, however, and one look at the selection on offer and it isn't hard to see why, but you can't help feel that the busier it gets, the more its original patrons must long for the empty tables and fast service to return to their little secret.
Through the back of a pretty homeware shop owned by, and every bit in the model of, the Granado stores, the Besi café is certainly no after thought or tag-on. Before the shop opened for business it was in fact to be found by the front door, spreading across the ground floor as its popularity increased. Fortunately it now sits to the rear, enjoying the vaulted ceiling and three floors of seating that allow lunchtimes to feel reasonably uncluttered even during the midday rush.
A long, glass counter is filled to bursting with cookies as big as your face, cream cakes and fresh apple tarts (all R$5), all mercifully less sugary than most you will find around. Beyond and below them, bowls of healthier fresh salads (R$15), thick slices of quiche (R$17) and row after row of sandwiches (all R$15) add to the selction headache.
Choose from spicy chicken (and even the bread is lightly curried), Norwegian salmon on sliced granary and the overflowing parma ham, all deploying quality ingredients and plenty of them. The frappé coffee (R$7.50) makes for a great summer cooler to round things off, and settle into the selection of magazines or utilise the free wi-fi if you have no reason to rush back to work.