On our first night here, we were out and out exhausted. I took a nap in the afternoon that brought me from delirious and darn near hallucinating from sleep deprivation to a somewhat more sane state, and we decided to go to the hotel restaurant downstairs rather than wander out to eat that evening.
The restaurant that is attached to our hotel is an “express” spot for the restaurant Caffe Milano. Italian food is VERY popular here (as Curitiba is a mix of many other different cultures), but it is quite unlike the Italian food we’re used to in the US – it’s VERY heavy, full of sauces and cheeses. The Express restaurant next to the hotel doesn’t even carry a fraction of what the main restaurant does, so our choices were a bit limited.
My husband went for the filet mignon with mushrooms over cheese risotto (25,00R, approx. $14.25US), which was quite delicious. There’s something special about beef here in Brazil, it tastes like grass fed beef does in the US, a bit more “beefy” than farm raised meat. The cheese risotto had nice balance, and the sauce they used wasn’t overpowering at all.
I, on the other hand, went with a pasta sampler, that had three kinds of different pasta (one meat filled, one filled with ham and cheese, the other just filled with cheese, covered with more cheese, and bechamel sauce) (21,00 real, or approx $12US). I ate it, but didn’t really care for it, both because of the flavor of the cheese was odd to my American palate, and because it was far, far, far too rich. This coming from someone who likes rich foods. I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate it.
For dessert, Paul and I shared an order of Brazilian Milk Pudding (5,00 real, or $2.85US), which for all the world, is flan or creme caramel. Delicious!
For convenience, you can’t beat this restaurant – especially since they bill it directly to our hotel bill. They have a pretty nice buffet for breakfast that is included in our room rate. However, like most hotel food, it suffers the same fate – it ends up being good, but overall, pretty uninspired. Don’t look for cutting edge gastronomy here, you won’t find it. But for filling you up when you’re fresh off the plane and near starving, there’s not much better.
By the way, a quick cultural note – here in Brazil, a 10% tip is automatically added to the bill – and from what local sources tell me, you aren’t expected to tip additionally. Somehow, even though this is local custom, my American sensibilities make me feel as if I’m shortchanging the waitstaff a bit. Perhaps this is just a cultural difference?
If you’d like to go: Caffe Milano Express (attached to the Mercure Sete de Setembre), Av. Sete de Setembro, 5.368, Batel, Curitiba. 41.3343.4344