Telephone (21) 3489 8900
Metrô General Osório
Started by husband and wife team and recent transplants to the Cidade Maravilhosa Miguel Campos and Aglika Angelova, Azteka offers tasty, accessible Mexican food, the presence of which has long been lamented since the fair-to-middling Guapo Loco closed several years ago. Hailing from Acapulco and Bulgaria respectively, the duo hit Rio via Chicago bringing with them a new perspective on the city's restaurant scene.
Located on Ipanema's busy high street Visconde de Pirajá, Azteka follows the current trend for small, informal and almost café-like premises but with smart designer touches, making it the spot for a quick lunch or a casual dinner. The menu focuses on burritos and tortas (a sandwich made with whole wheat bread), made with local and organic ingredients as far as possible possible. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity, though; although many Mexican dishes are effectively made up of the same ingredients, those used at Azteka are executed to perfection.
The Durango burrito with braised beef and the Puebla burrito with grilled pineapple lead the pack, but all come stuffed with rice, refried beans, cheese, and freshly made pico de gallo salsa - not your standard salsa, oh no. The dynamic flavour (not to mention kick) of the sauce will haunt your dreams (possibly literally, so if in any doubt, opt for the mild or medium heat).
The tortas offer mouth watering fillings such as Yucatan-style pork shoulder and grilled flank steak, while the bread's avocado infusion and black bean spread take the sandwiches to another level. The obligatory tortilla chips and guacamole won't disappoint aficionados, but there is room for improvement on a somewhat timid margarita. Plans are afoot to expand the menu from the (very good) basics, but Azteka already satisfies a craving in fuss-free fashion.