For an authentic taste of Brazil’s magnificent North East, you need go no further than Bela Vista, where the lo-fi, friendly Rancho Nordestino has been a stalwart favourite for those in the know since 1984, gathering groups at its tables late into the night over beer and dishes of North Eastern nosh.
It’s not only the menu that stays true to its nordestino roots but also the humble, unpretentious boteco-style vibe, thanks in the most part to Raimundo Nonato, from Ceará, who runs the restaurant.
In between washing up and serving cachaças, Nonato serves up traditional dishes like escondidinho (dried beef hidden under manioc mash) and baião de dois – a rice-and-bean dish with dried beef and cheese. The food is made with love, and it shows. The only let-down are the loos, which fall sadly short of the standards you’d expect of the humble but otherwise pristine place.
For best results, roll up on a Wednesday night when stand-up comic and musician Marcio Miete mixes on-the-spot observational comedy with songs; or on Sunday, after the the weekly rehearsal at the nearby Vai-Vai samba school.