Rua Dias Ferreira 617
Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Q Bar is a place to see and be seen – it’s no surprise it has been earning accolades from the international press, and attracting a cosmopolitan clientele. M’s father read about it a magazine as a bar that was a “must try,” so we figured it would be fun for a night on the town. This was a big change for us since we are usually more likely to be found in corner lanchonetes or old school cafes than anyplace favored by trendy Rio denizens. Happily, contrary to many “scene-y” places – the service at Q Bar was actually excellent, which we found to be exceedingly rare in Rio (and Brazil in general). Q bills itself as a “gastrobar,” and the focus is on small plates and creative cocktails. One of their most famous cocktails is the “Rocket Collins” – a Tom Collins with the addition of arugula, making it a shade of bright green $12 (R$ 23).
The menu at Q Bar is eclectic and internationally-inspired, and seemed similar to places we had been in Chicago. In fact Q Bar would probably be at home in many cities around the world. For starters we had fried goat cheese salad, and frankly, what salad ISN’T better with goat cheese? Keeping with that feeling, L had truffle goat cheese mac and cheese gnocchi, which came baked in a miniature cast iron skillet. The tiny skillet was a cute touch, and the mac and cheese itself was creamy and delicious, and not at all overwhelmed by truffle flavor. M ordered a deconstructed moqueca – a nod to our upcoming trip to Salvador – which was a moqueca risotto with shrimp and a filet of fish. The risotto was very well cooked, with a moqueca’s signature palm oil flavor, and the fish filet was excellent. M’s parents ordered the signature Q Burger and tuna tartare with caviar, both of which they heartily enjoyed.
Visiting Q Bar was a nice change of pace, and it is a great place to bring your international guests. Even if you are not a scenester (as we are not), you definitely feel cool eating your small plates on Q’s fun outdoor patio, in an already-buzzing street full of chic restaurants. Many of the servers spoke English, which is not common in Rio, and would likely make non-Portuguese guests feel more comfortable. Beware though, the prices are a little steep, with many entrees over $25 (R$ 50). However, if you are looking for a big city dining experience that is much more cosmopolitan than a boteco, Q Bar is your place.