Café Cultural Diminuta
Telephone (21) 2268 1579
Metrô Saens Peña
So, Tijuca may not be everybody’s first option for a slap-up dinner, but its nevertheless a good spot to take a slightly less expensive route towards foodie heaven. For its part, the longstanding Otto manages to hit the spot with a few speciality dishes that are hard to come by elsewhere in the city, let alone in Tijuca. Start off with the Kleine Würst (R$22) mixed sausage selection, a refreshingly salt and gristle-free platter (for anyone over-exposed to some of Rio’s less-than-pure-meat offerings) including the rather tasty vitela (veal) banger.
The show-stealer (best accompanied by a more substantial main) is the baked palm heart (R$28), a pricey but delicious (and healthier) alternative to cod balls or pasteis. Baked in its skin and similar to artichoke, the waiter carves open a good metre of the tree’s centre at your table to expose perfectly tender flesh then displays it proudly on a dish before dressing in two house sauces (melted butter and capers with parsley). Live music at the weekends, a good chopp and decent atmosphere make Otto a bit of a must for anyone looking to combine a love of Germanic and carioca nightlife.