Belo Horizonte Restaurants and Dining
(Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil)
There is certainly no chance that you would ever come close to starving in Belo Horizonte - this city is literally packed to the rafters with good restaurants and affordable dining. Downtown Belo Horizonte tends to contain the best selection of cheap eateries, where tasty Brazilian dishes are in good supply (often featuring pork as a staple ingredient), particularly around the Palacio do Governo, the Praca da Liberdade, the Praca da Savassi and the Palacio das Artes.
Located just a short distance to the south of downtown Belo Horizonte are the vibrant neighbourhoods of Lourdes and Savassi. Together these districts form the very heart of the city's fine dining scene, with many upmarket restaurants accompanying endless bars, cultural events and entertainment opportunities.
Where to Eat
A huge choice of 'lanchonetes' (snack bars) are noticeably grouped between the public squares of the Praca da Liberdade and the Praca Sete, as well as innumerable fast-food restaurants and cafes with al-fresco pavement dining. Standing on the Rua Rio de Janeiro, the downtown Shopping Cidade mall comes with an excellent food court, where you will find both cheap buffet-style eateries and full-service dining.
What to Eat
Many of the restaurants in Belo Horizonte are known to specialise in Italian cuisine, although further international flavours are often present, having noticeable Portuguese origins and strong Mineiro flavours. Traditional dishes frequently feature pork or chicken, cooked in wood-fired ovens. Starters / appetisers frequently use cassava (mandioca) flour, while Minas cheese makes an appearance in many dishes.
Regional dining specialities regularly served at restaurants in Belo Horizonte include the following:
- Angu - a filling side dish resembling polenta, served with sausage and green vegetables.
- Bolinho de Mandioca - deep-fried fritters made with egg, mandioca and potato.
- Frango ao Molho Pardo - chicken stewed in blood, with a mixture of vegetables.
- Frango com Quiabo - tempered chicken, cooked with garlic, okra, onion and tomato, served with rice.
- Pao de Queijo - a small bread roll (Brazilian cheese roll) made with cassava flour and cheese.
- Queijo Minas - soft white cheese served as a dessert with guava paste (goiabada).
- Quibebe - heavily seasoned mashed squash and onions.
Foodies holidaying in Belo Horizonte should try to time a visit with the month-long food festival known as the 'Comida de Buteco'. More than 40 restaurants and bars participate in this dining extravaganza, which usually takes place between April and May, and now attracts more than 350,000 people.