Rio de Janeiro – lunch in Lapa land

On my last day I only had a few hours before my flight so I took the train up to Cinelandia in the centre and walked about 10 minutes to Lapa.

LapaLapa is one of the oldest neighbourhoods and has as old Roman style aqueduct running through it dating from before 1750. It no longer holds water but instead carries the ‘bonde’, an old tram which would have been a fun ride if I’d had more time.

The area is run down and a bit edgy but stick to the main streets where there are lots of people and you should be ok.

Nova CapellaNova Capella interiorI had lunch at Novel Capel, another old-school dining room with waiters in white tunics. Apparently they are famous for their bad tempers but mine were fine. The restaurant is one large room with seating for about 80 (it was packed and noisy when I went) and the decor doesn’t seem to have been renovated since it opened in 1967.

CabritoI went for the house special of Cabrito (roast goat) which came with roast potatoes and broccoli rice, a new concept for me. It was ok (B) but nothing special and the portions were too big for me to finish, as usual.

Cab Sauv MerlotWith this a half bottle of Brazilian Cab Sauv Merlot (Miolo ‘Selecao’ 2009), my first taste of Brazilian wine. It was drinkable (C) but not something I would get again. Chilean and Argentinian labels dominated the wine list. With a beer and a water it cost me the equivalent of about £40, yikes! All in all prices are pretty expensive in Rio, much more than I expected. Don’t expect to eat and drink cheaply and well.

Stairs 1Stairs 2Stairs 3Stairs 4Stairs 5Stairs 6My main reason for coming here was to see the Escadaria Selaron (thanks for the tip Kat),  a stairway going up the hill to Santa Teresa, which has been decorated in multi-coloured tiles by the Chilean artist Selaron as his personal tribute to the Brazilian people.

Tile 1Tile 2Tile 3Tile 4Tile 5Tile 6Tile 7Tile 9Tile 12Tile 20Tile 11Tile 13Tile 16Tile 14Tile 15Tile 18Tile 19Visitors from all over the world bring him tiles to add to the ever-expanding instillation which was started in 2000.

The artist is there most mornings so you can meet him and have a chat.  2013 update: very sadly Selaron has since died in mysterious circumstances. To my knowledge even now we still don’t know the cause of death.



5 thoughts on “Rio de Janeiro – lunch in Lapa land”

    1. Thanks hun. Much nicer in reality of course. Can’t capture it in just a few photos. Funny thing is when you get to the top and look back you can hardly see any of it. Just looks like everywhere else in the area. Just added the last two photos so you can see what I mean,

  1. Hi Raif. After an enjoyable leisurely perusal of your great Argentinian photos today I found myself dipping into your Brazilian ones and ended up full of nostalgia here in Lapa. I was there in 1992 with a girlfriend Jude at the beginning of our 2 month S American adventure. We’d picked out a cheap place to stay from The South American Handbook that bordered on Lapa and after making sure that our cash was safe in the secret pockets we’d sewn into our underwear, we ventured out in search of somewhere to have dinner. As we walked under the famous aqueduct at some point we must have been well over the border into Lapa. We found a modest little place in a backstreet and ordered a steak each, not realising that one portion would have been more that enough for two skinny young girls – it was all the waiter could do to fit all the various platters onto the table. As for drinks we decided to try caipirinhas, which until then were quite unknown to us. Finding them incredibly delicious I had at least a couple more, whilst Jude, being far more abstemious than me had I think just one more. We emerged into the night more than a little tipsy and proceeded to get rather lost. Although we’d read plenty about the dangers of S America and of Rio in particular (at the airport on arrival I had been hit on the head by an unruly child throwing a rubber toy animal and remember thinking to myself ‘My God, we’re not even out of the airport yet and are being mugged already!’) the powerful drinks had had a pleasant anaesthetising effect and we simply wandered around until we finally saw our dilapidated guest house. The following morning we realised from reading our guide book that we had indeed unintentionally spent the evening in Lapa ‘the place’ we read ‘where boys become men, and men become infected’!

    1. Hi Carrie. Fab story! And what an amazing city! I’d love to go back. Need to learn a bit of Portuguese first though I think. Well done on getting away without any problems. I think it really is a case of just being unlucky sometimes. My friend was robbed three times in a week there! He had nothing left by the third time though poor thing. I went out in Sao Paolo with a local friend and drank about 20 caipis in one night! They are very moreish. Dread to think how many calories that added up to 😀

      1. 😂 I’m not religious but I did wear a little silver St Christopher on a chain round my neck for this trip as I was given it by someone I was fond of who thought it would bring me protection. We were close to danger on many occasions I’m quite sure, but somehow managed to avoid mishap (apart from having my brand new Ray Ban sunglasses nicked on our way through the forest up to Corcovado. We were sitting on a wall in the shade beside the road having a rest and when we rose to continue the glasses which had been right there beside me had gone. The same happened to my shoes on the beach in Recife while I was lying – awake – sunbathing! I drank caipirinhas non stop during the carnival, which we spent mainly in Olinda, just north of Recife, causing my travel companion a certain amount of anguish when – according to her – I went missing for a couple of hours! We must exchange some more South American stories some day over a few caipirinhas 😉

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