ask Clarissa about
Hotels • gourmet coffee • scenic views • Brazilian food
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm an English teacher and I do it because I've always loved to study English.... since I was a kid, actually.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Oh, that's easy! I love tacky songs from the 80's and 90's, here we go: Always - Jon Bovi/ It must have been love - Roxette/ Cry me a river - Justin Timberlake/ Don't speak - No Doubt/ The game of love - Santana and Michelle Branch/ Against all odds - Mariah Carey and Westlife/ Save me - Hanson/ Ana's song- Silverchair/ Take my breath away - Berlin/ Total eclipse of the heart - Bonnie Tyler/ Killing me softly - Fugees/ Wherever you will go - The Calling/ My sacrifice - Creed/ Somewhere only we know - Keane/ Amor meu grande amor - Ângela Ro Ro/ Olhos nos olhos - Maria Bethânia/ Você me vira a cabeça - Alcione
What are the best TV shows of all time?
Game of thrones/ Modern family/ Friends/ The walking dead
Name some spots in Rio de Janeiro that are good for a Tinder date.
During the day I suggest either Mirante do Leblon or Forte de Copacabana because of the view. In the evening, for dinner I'd suggest CT Boucherie, a great French restaurant available in Leblon and Lagoa with amazing all-you-can-eat side dishes. It's cozy and kinda romantic and not so pricey if you consider the quality of the food. It's advisable to get there early because they don't take reservations. Later, to have some fun and some drinks I'd recommend Rio Scenarium in Lapa. It's a great place to listen to some Brazilian music and dance a lot. There are 3 floors with different kinds of music. There's normally a line but totally worth it!
Who’s your hero and where in Rio de Janeiro would you take them out for a serious hang?
My hero is my mom and I would ride a bike with her from Praia Vermelha to Vidigal and I would take her to the top of the slum (you can get there by either a van or a motorcycle) The view there is incredible! Maybe the most beautiful in Rio. We would drink some beer in Mirante do Avrão hotel because of the amazing view. After that, we would have dinner either in Azteka, a Mexican restaurant located in Ipanema or in Cevicheria La Carioca, a great place to eat if you like ceviche. They have many options with different kinds of fish.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Farm Rio. It's probably my favorite store in the world! It's a local brand that has spread all over the country. The clothes are comfortable, pretty and so stylish!!! There are many stores in the city.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
The kiosks by Copacabana beach. I've never tried them in the evening but during the day there are many pigeons staring at your food.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Stand up paddling in Copacabana, in "posto 6". Normally the ocean is calm in this area, which is perfect to practice it.
What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Rio de Janeiro and where did you get it?
Feijoada at Tia Léa in Vidigal. It's perfect! It's served in her house in a slum. She's great and ended up famous because of her food. The only way to get it is calling her to check if she has made it. Normally she attends the minimum of 20 people but since there's a lot of food, you can always try it.
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Rio de Janeiro that you particularly like?
Haru is my favorite Japanese restaurant in Rio. It's on a small street in Copacabana, it's kinda small too, eight tables, I think. But it's great, the fish is always fresh. The sashimis are amazing and if you go there, try the Ebiten Especial... it's perfect! The owner is always around to make sure you'll be well attended and the waiters are very polite; unfortunately this is not so common in Rio.
What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Rio de Janeiro? How much did it cost and what did you get there?
Surprisingly it was in Vidigal, in Mirante do Arvrão. There you'll find either shared or private rooms. Every time I go there with my boyfriend we stay in room 6, the best private room available in the hotel with the best view ever. The price always depends on the weekend, if there's a holiday or not, for example. But I would say this room costs around 600 reais a night. Worth it! It probably has the best view in Rio. The best thing to do there is to wake up around 6 am to see the sunrise. Or maybe go to the party downstairs and party all night long until you see the sunrise. We love this place and we go there at least 3 times a year.
What restaurant in Rio de Janeiro looks crap, but the food’s amazing?
It's called "Adega Pérola" in Copacabana... the outside area isn't beautiful but once you're inside it you'll see many different options of appetizers, like meat, sausage, octopus and shrimp. Anyways, it's a great place to eat some snacks with a cold beer.
Where can you get the best cocktail in Rio de Janeiro? Which one do you like?
cocktails are considered foreign or hip in the Carioca culture. In other words, they are not well embedded in Brazilians daily lives yet. But the best place to get them are at one of those fancy hotel bars, such as those at Hotel Fasano or Pestana, which is eager to please the international crowd. For locals, crafty beers and the national drink of "Caipirinhas" are virtually the new cocktails in town. If you are seeking them, I'd highly recommend trendy bars in Ipanema or Leblon for beers and just the beach kiosks for Caipirinhas.
Where would you take your partner in Rio de Janeiro if you wanted to really pamper them?
I would definitely take him to "Churrascaria Palace" to eat some Brazilian barbecue. It's my favorite place to eat meat and the beverages are very good too. They won't charge you if you bring your own wine, which is a plus. Also, depending on the month, they serve lobster, prawns and other kinds of seafood. Each person pays around R$130 and it's all you can eat. Worth it!
Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?
Well, "brigadeiro" is a typical Brazilian dessert and I'd recommend "Brigadeiros da Pati", a small shop located in Botafogo. There you'll find something unique: it's like a chocolate filled with brownie and brigadeiro and it's perfect! Words cannot describe it. I really don't know if it's a Brazilian thing, but if you're into sweet stuff you'll love the banana puff pastry available in "Zona Sul", a very famous supermarket in Rio.
What’s the one place you think is overrated in Rio de Janeiro?
There's a bar in Copacabana called "Pavão Azul" it's a little bit pricey and last time I've been there the service was not good. They took to long to bring us anything we wanted, the waiters forgot our orders. Didn't like it!
What’s the one place you think is underrated in Rio de Janeiro?
Feira de São Cristóvão is underrated sometimes but it's wonderful! It's a place dedicated to Brazilian Northeast culture. The food is amazing, there are many different kinds of cachaça for you to try and the karaoke bars are a lot of fun. This is also the place where you can pick up some souvenirs or handicrafts from Brazil without worrying about getting ripped off. Love this place!
What are the Rio de Janeiro spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
Besides the popular must go spots, these places should not be missed: Urca/ Praia Vermelha/ Pedra do Leme/ Forte de Copacabana/ Arpoardor/ Mirante do Leblon/ Vidigal
Tomorrow’s your last day in Rio de Janeiro. How do you spend it?
I'd spend the night before in Atlantic Flat on Santa Clara street in Copacabana to wake up very early to see the sunrise on the rooftop and spend the morning there because you can see Copacabana beach, the Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer. After that I'd get a bike from any of the Itaú stations and ride it until Praia Vermelha. There I'd drink some beers and get the Bondinho to the top of the Sugarloaf. I'd have lunch in Garota da Urca, where they serve the best picanha (Brazilian cut) I’ve ever tried in Rio. In the afternoon I'd walk by the ocean in Urca until the sunset. Then, have dinner in Amir, an Arabian restaurant in Copacabana.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Easter Island is perfect! People there are so nice and helpful. They look like they have no worries in life. The energy of the island is incredible and everywhere you look at is beautiful. Besides that, there are the famous statues spread all over the island. Things there are kinda pricey but it's understandable since it's so isolated.