Whether accompanied by a roda de samba or bottles of ice-cold beer, many Brazilians would consider a weekend without a feijoada as sacrilege. Bacon, pig-fat, ears and trotters, it can all go in to the pot, along with lots of garlic and of course beans galore, all served with green couve-flor (cabbage-like veg) and a slice of orange. The national dish is blessed with unconditional love, the culinary equivalent of football and samba, and here are some of the best.
Casa da Feijoada
An apt place to start is the House of Feijoada, and they certainly have the skills to back up the name. Eschewing the idea that this is a weekend ritual, the Ipanema restaurant throws in a few nice touches like a maracuja batida (passion fruit booze-smoothie) included in the price (R$57.90) and a choice of meats lurking in the murky depths – pork, dried beef, sausage and, yes, pig’s ear. Definitely the place to go if you can’t wait until the weekend.
Taking the popular Samba School approach of combining music and food, the pink house on the hills of Laranjeiras has been coupling the two for years in their Projeto Raizes Sunday events. The bean stew (R$28 including entry) is solid rather than spectacular, nor is it exactly an afrodisiac, but as dancefloor-fuel it can’t be beaten, resulting in some serious boot-scootin’ into the night. Just check there’s no green couve lurking in your teeth while showing off those new moves.
The pleasing little black cauldrons in which the Informal’s feijoada components arrive immediately give off the air of something that’s going to be tastier than your average dish. Pork, farofa, rice, carne-seca (dried beef), little chunks of fresh crackling and sausage quickly fill the table, or if you prefer to go it alone then Saturdays at the Ipanema branch offer an all-you-can-eat option (R$29.90) with pumpkin mash, fried aipim and some other nice little extras to overdose on.
The Ipanema stalwart has a weekly Saturday feijoada on the menu (R$49), with the meats served up individually and with more sides than most, including pumpkin and the delicious bean and sausage combo baião de dois. When it comes to the meat it has everything covered too, including pig’s ear, trotter and tail, should you feel so inclined. Authentic.
The last Saturday of every month sees an absolute institution in the carioca calendar, the Feijoada da Tia Surica (R$35) (Auntie Surica’s Feijoada). Herself part of the Portela samba school old guard and responsible for the regular Madureira school’s beanfest, she knows a thing or two about flavour, with portions likely to leave you wanting more. Remember your dancing will be grateful for the lack of seconds, though, and it’s a good idea to get there early as things get pretty packed later on as the samba gets swinging.
The slick gastro-bar on Leblon’s Dias Ferreira might not be the first port of call for a hearty feed, but their Sunday feijoada (R$85 for two people) is something of a treat. Served from 1pm, the artisanal ingredients ranging from the sliced sausage and soup starter to the pork, dried meat and ribs all come from Pavelka, so their quality is pretty much a given.
Bar do Mineiro
You might need to wait in line a little while, but once the steaming earthenware pot arrives on your table complete with all the trimmings, you will know it's been worth it. As the name might suggest, Mineiro prides itself on serving up the best food from Rio's neighbouring state Minas Gerais, but the sharing choice here is almost always the feijaoda (R$65 for three people) with its perfect consistency and generous portions of meat. Just allow plenty of time to get a table.