The ideal place to get a look and taste of Nordestino food, the cuisine of Brazil's dry, cattle-raising Northeast. Mangai offers a self-serve buffet -- or better, a smorgasbord -- featuring over 40 different Nordestino dishes, some of them traditional favorites, other wonderful inventions made using traditional local ingredients such as carne-de-sol (sun-dried beef), macaxeira (sweet manioc root), farofa (ground, roasted manioc root), beans, and rice. The carne-de-sol na nata (butter-sautéed sun-dried beef) is a house specialty. Mangai is truly best for a long leisurely lunch. After you indulge (or overindulge), take advantage of the hammocks slung throughout the establishment and settle in for a snooze. Alcoholic beverages are not available, but there is an excellent array of fruit juices.
Tip: For a real Northeastern treat, try Mangai for breakfast. Dishes include tapioca catolé (fresh soft cheese with shaved coconut), toasted macaxeira (manioc) bread, pamonha (a sort of sweet corn bread served in a banana leaf), cuscuz de santa (cornmeal covered in sun-dried beef and warm cream), plus a wide variety of exotic fruit juices.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010