Keeping it local – Bar do David
If you are open and interested in discovering the real Rio de Janeiro, a perfect and amazing experience is dinner in Morro de Chapeu Mangueira – A favela rising on the mountain in Leme, pacified in 2009 when a UPP (Unidade de Policia Pacificadora) was established in the area to serve its community, as well as the neighbouring Morro de Babilonia.
The place – Bar do David – a very local Brazilian boteco – famous amongst the locals, but with a fast growing notoriety after being included in a local food tour, is a must stop for anyone visiting Rio de Janeiro. Go with friends, climb up the stairs for about 15 minutes, experience the community setting and most of all, enjoy a new perspective of Rio de Janeiro!
What to eat
Start with the Camaroes ao ohlo – garlic fried shrimp – while sharing a tall beer with your friends and waiting for the main course.
If you are a meat lover, you definetely have to try the star of David’s kitchen, named actually Estrella do David – juicy pork ribs, covered in a fruity flavored sauce, with a side of pineapple, chilli and mint jam.
If you want to try a very traditional dish, check the Feijao Tropeiro Carioca – literally translated as Cattle Driver’s beans. A mix of black beans, farofa, spinach leaves, eggs, sausages, bacon and dried meat, full of protein to fill that belly and to go with the cerveja estupidamente gelada! Beware that the portion sizes are very big, so make sure you are really hungry when you decide to visit.
When to go
We have already been to Bar do David 4 times, during different hours of the day. Lunch is the best time to go, because there are not so many people. On a Sunday evening you might have to wait a bit for a table for about 30 minutes and for all the food to arrive, but the beautiful thing about Brazil is that you can sweeten the wait with a delicious Caipirinha, even while standing on the street. And let’s face it, the weather is amazing, the location is great and people are beautiful! Who minds a bit of waiting?
How to get there
The place lies on 66 Ladeira Avy Barroso, reachable by taxi, moto-taxi or by foot.
We always took the way up by stairs, though if you choose this path you have to be careful not to miss the entrance in the community. It is an interesting stereotype breaking moment because you pass through the heart of a peaceful community and experience and comprehend that a favela is not always a dangerous – drugs lords – criminality dominated place. The only danger you may encounter is an occasional dog poo on the ground, perfectly concealed by the evening shadows 🙂
The way back is perfect via the Ladeira, because you can enjoy some very beautiful and creative street art on the walls. And you pass the community’s cultural center where there is always an artistic activity going on.