Telephone (21) 2537 0673
Metrô bus Cobal do Humaitá
Specializing in Spain's favourite mini-dishes as the name suggests, Entretapas is housed in a nineteenth-century mansion in Botafogo, the neighbourhood fast becoming the go-to spot for haute cuisine in Rio. Tapas may not be so haute, but it does fit in nicely with carioca culture, turning eating into socializing, something that will never go out of fashion here.
It also piggybacks nicely on the Brazilian love of petiscos, or small snacks, elaborating on the pasties and bolinhos and using ingredients like paprika, turmeric, thyme and rosemary, as well as local staples olive oil and garlic.
Spain is immediately imprinted on the mind as you go in thanks to the presence of a three-foot high bull printed on the wall, and all the classics are present and correct on the menu too. Andalusian Gazpacho Soup (R$ 9.50) is a great summer heat-beater, or at the other end of the spicy spectrum the Pulpo a la Gallega brings together sweet, spicy octopus in paprika with potatoes (R$35) and Carrilleras al Vino Tinto - veal cheeks cooked for five hours in red wine and vegetables with a chickpea puree (R$ 23.50) - are a joy. And, of course, the Media y Media, should not be overlooked, the classic cured ham with Spanish sausage and Manchego cheese (R$38.50) platter.
Paella is served for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays in four varieties; Mariscos, with squid, mussels and shrimp; Valenciana with chicken, rabbit and vegetables; black rice with squid and shrimp, cooked in squid ink and garnished with aioli sauce; or rice Cotillejas, with ribs and pork.
The forty varieties of wine, dominated by Spanish labels of course, can be chosen directly from the cellar, and Chilean, Argentinian, and Uruguayan options are also available. Couple all that with the owners’ love of a good chat loaded with facts about Spanish culture and their recipes (even the secret to their sangria), and you’ve got a close proximation of authentic tapas, a rarity in Rio. "The important thing is to start with good quality wine. Apples, peaches, and a good citrus should mull for at least 2 hours. It’s not necessary to add sugar because the ideal sweetness should come from the mature fruit fructose itself.” There, now you know the secret.
6 Mar 2012.