Telephone (21) 3178 3100
The vibrant décor of the only Mexican bar-cum-restaurant in this part of town is not the only first impression as you entre Guacamole, the in-house Mariarchi band's wailing following quickly behind. A gaudy feast for the eyes and the ears, the brightly coloured walls, quirky decorations and cartoons of famous Mexican figures like Frida Kahlo and Pepe Legal are unapologetically in-your-face.
A good Mexican is hard to find in Rio, however, and the queues down the road most nights of the week suggest that this is just what the neighbourhood, littered with more than its fair share of prohibitively priced blockbuster restaurants, has been waiting for. The atmosphere is warm and lively with chatter, and this is not the place for a quiet quesadilla once things warm up. Playing safe and ordering the house dip to kick things off is a good bet, or the Tapachula (R$32.90), a bulging tortilla stuffed with cheese, steak and barbecue sauce.
Elsewhere, the staple tortilla dominates the menu in a variety of forms and fillings, from the crowd-pleasing Santa Fe burrito stuffed with tenderloin steak, cheese and lettuce (R$32.80). The shrimp fajitas come flambéed in tequila along with more of the homemade guacamole, sour cream, fresh salsa, wheat tortillas, mexican rice and refried beans (R$48.60). For afters, look no further than the Churros del Chavo which ooze delicious doce de leite and are covered in vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (R$15.90).
The extensive list of over twenty regional tequilas is not to be overlooked, either, so leave bog-standard Jose Cuervo fanciers red-faced with a rare opportunity to sample a shot of Sauza Hornitos Reposado (R$14.50) or the even pricier Tezón Reposado (R$35.50). For those looking for something a little less firey, the hefty selection of fruity regular and frozen margaritas will certainly tempt you. All else failing the refreshing strawberry mojito (R$15.60) is sure to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.