A bit of Lisbon in Brazil!
Do you know those places that you identify with straight away? I think in this case my Portuguese blood spoke a little louder! The decor is very intimate and much of the collection was brought straight from Lisbon, making references to European soccer teams, Portuguese celebrities, as well as a personal and familiar touch, full of childhood memories of Salvador, one of the partners of the establishment.
The Portuguese tapas house, El gordo is a place to feel at home, especially for those who have a strong connection with the country, I'm the granddaughter of Portuguese and that accent is more than part of my family, the taste then, HUMMMM!
The brand, which is already well-established in Trancoso and Lisbon, is now making its mark here in Rio de Janeiro, and it's not even a year old. Nuno is running the business with Salvador, his son. The restaurant has been conquering Rio's taste buds with its delicious Portuguese tapas, of which there are more than 90 varieties, along with a wine list with almost 200 labels.
Father and son have created everything with great care, bringing the family tradition to a palate that shows they know what they're doing!
I was invited along with Lili from Passionate about Travel to visit this little piece of Portugal last week, and I arrived tasting the couvert with baskets of bread, garlic pastry, chorizo pâté and olives, I loved the pastry and the pâté, I could have eaten them all night, but of course I was more curious about the other delicacies!
There were four dishes for us to try, I ate them one by one, I started with the mini toast with alheira and truffled quail egg, a very exotic delight, at first I thought I wouldn't enjoy the mixture so much, but it seemed that the ingredients were made to complement each other, with truffled olive oil together with the texture of the egg, it really surprised me!
I then went for my second option, a tapioca and curd cheese dadinho with prawns flambéed in cachaça and cane molasses - of course I would like it, it had prawns! I'm crazy about shrimp, and this one isn't even worth mentioning, right? Rs I loved the salty contract with a hint of sweet, it was really good!
I immediately went for the veal croquette with mountain cheese, they were very generous with the cheese, which even spilled all over my mouth, obviously the best I left for the end of the first stage, black rice with shrimp, squid and octopus! Yes, this is indispensable when visiting the restaurant, one of the best I've ever eaten! Very, very, very good! Seriously, everything is very harmonious and delicious, I'm salivating just remembering it and I need to go back a few times to eat more and more of this dish, two people without much hunger can eat it, but if you're hungry keep it to yourself lol, it deserves it!
It was so delicious that I didn't even know how I still had an appetite, and each dish that came along made it bigger, a mystery... lol Let's get to the second batch! Batatas bravas, lamb El Gordo style and cod! I thought the combination of the potatoes and the lamb was excellent and the taste was unparalleled! I loved it!
On this occasion, the codfish jerky ended up being a supporting role, the lamb filled my eyes so much that I didn't think much of the codfish, which was good, but the lamb, hummm!!! It's the second dish I recommend you visit and try for sure, just the right amount of roast, with seasoning that makes your taste buds jump out of your mouth and give you a kiss! Here I am salivating again.
Oops, but the surprises didn't stop there! There was still the exotic part, oh my... could it be? Kidneys and tongue! Yes, I ate the tongue first, which, if they hadn't told me it was tongue, I would have died on the beach and never known! First of all, because they came split, with wine sauce on top, hiding any exotic perception of the dish, I'd never had the courage to try it and... hey? It's VERY tasty, it opened up my horizons, it reminded me a lot of oxtail, soft, it fell apart in my mouth too, what a surprise! I want more! Hm... shall we get to the kidneys? It's funny, this one looks like I've eaten it too, with a taste very similar to liver, kidneys have a strong taste and are very nutritious, another one I enjoyed, but without a doubt the sauce and preparation made all the difference! By now I was well satisfied!
The place is great for snacking, with dishes that can be ordered in groups, so you can try more than just one dish and sip on one of its vast options, I really enjoyed the sangria rose, hmmm what a treat
But I couldn't leave without trying the desserts, hihihi we each ordered one and did the exchange! Creme brulee, good as always, cold Belgian chocolate mouse, also good and not too sweet and the champion of the night for me! Cream ice cream with walnuts and honey! I've had 15 of these, and they've joined the ranks of my favorite desserts, especially in the mountain heat of Rio de Janeiro! How delicious!
When can I do it again? Heheheh yes, the modest and creative restaurant has won another customer, I loved everything from the decor to the dishes and I'm already dying to go back!
Av. Gen. San Martin, 1219 - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Monday to Saturday from 5pm
Sundays from 1pm.