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Where to eat in the historical cities in Minas Gerais

Leonor Macedo

Gui Machado

Visiting Minas Gerais is like going to your grandma’s house: it’s almost impossible to leave these two places with an empty stomach. And Minas Gerais food is one of the most popular in Brazil, as, in addition to being delicious, the portions are also very generous.

 

We went to the historical cities in Minas Gerais, where there are many options to delight yourself and go back home with a few extra pounds.

 

In Ouro Preto

Bené da Flauta

In a beautiful colonial manor next to Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, one of Aleijadinho’s masterpieces, is Bené da Flauta. The restaurant is one of the most traditional in the city and its menu features quintessential Minas Gerais ingredients.

 

The dish A Menina do Sobrado, an homage to Minas Gerais chronicler Cyro dos Anjos, is one of the most popular orders, with creamy pumpkin purée, sun-dried beef in manioc pirão, topped with fried kale. For dessert, try the apple carpaccio, served over a puff pastry pie with vanilla ice cream, or the bittersweet chocolate truffle pie.

Rua São Francisco de Assis, 32 - Centro

 

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O Passo Pizza Jazz: Rua São José, 56

O Passo Pizza Jazz

Another famous restaurant in Ouro Preto is O Passo Pizza Jazz. The pizzas made in a wood-burning stove are delicious (try the one made with Brie, Parma ham, and jaboticaba jam), but they are not the only options on the menu: they also offer tasty pasta and meat dishes and risottos.

 

To go with your meal, the place also has an extensive list of wines, and some are produced in Minas Gerais. Brazil is known for its production in Rio Grande do Sul, but the grape varieties grown in the mountains in southern Minas Gerais might surprise you.

 

Queijaria Tesouros da Canastra

Opened recently (compared to the hundred-year-old establishments in Ouro Preto), Queijaria Tesouros da Canastra is a great place to try the region’s famous cheeses. Offering different types, flavors, and prices, the owners make platters served with jams and dulce the leche.

 

A wall across from Queijaria is an extension of the place and transforms into a table for people who want to enjoy the late afternoon there. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, cultural activities are held on the street, including samba, forró, and Carnaval music sessions.

 

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Queijaria Tesouros da Canastra: Rua Getúlio Vargas, 26

In São João del-Rei

Restaurante da Filó

Close to the rural area of São João del-Rei is Restaurante da Filó, which combines Minas Gerais and Italian food. Everything is homemade with ingredients grown or farmed in Filó’s house.

 

In a big wood-burning stove, she makes, in an artisan fashion, lasagna, cannelloni, cappelletti, ravioli, and other types of pasta dishes, which can even have Pereskia aculeata filling, a plant typical of Minas Gerais that’s rich in protein.

 

You can eat all you want for a fixed price and don’t need to wait for the waiter to order drinks: you can just grab them from the fridge. And the best part is being able to talk to Filó, who is extremely fun.

 

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Restaurante da Filó: Rua Otávio Ângelo Calsavara, 2 - Colônia do Felizardo

Queijaria Tarôco

A few steps from Restaurante da Filó is Queijaria Tarôco, which ages their cheeses right there. You can try pieces aged for 30 or 60 days, made from raw milk from their cows. The best part? You can take the pieces home and they accept credit and debit cards!

Queijaria Tarôco: Rua Imigrante Lucindo Taroco

 

In Tiradentes

UaiThai Bistrô

Get ready to have a creative (and delicious) meal at the restaurant UaiThai Bistrô, run by chef Ricardo Martins, who loves Oriental cuisine. And to top off the experience, order one of the drinks or teas made by bartender Pedro Resende.

 

Here ‘Uai’, a very popular interjection in Minas Gerais to express surprise, is a local touch added to Thai, traditional dishes from Thailand. The menu can be adapted to vegetarians (we tried the lychee ceviche and it was incredible!).

 

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UaiThai Bistrô: Rua Padre Toledo, 157, Centro

We suggest you try the Costela Hmuyang, pork ribs marinated in Thai spices served in a reduction of molasses. In addition, try the Thai Ice Tea, black tea with cardamom, hibiscus flower, star anise, tamarind, and coconut milk.

 

Angatu

Angatu, run by chef Rodolfo Mayer, is also one of the most popular restaurants in Tiradentes. A good tip is to try their tasting menu, with six courses, including dessert.

 

The proposal here is to present sophisticated recipes with quintessentially Brazilian ingredients, like Pequi butter, Cambuci pepper, and okra powder. Even though it’s a tasting menu, the portions are generous, respecting the local tradition.

Rua da Cadeira, 38

 

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Chico Doceiro: Rua Francisco Pereira Morais, 74

Chico Doceiro

Chico Doceiro was very famous in Tiradentes. After working in several places, he decided he would raise his children while doing what he liked: crispy puff pastry cones filled with dulce the leche. He started selling his snacks around the city in 1965: first in front of clubs, then in a shop close to the city center.

 

In 2017, at the age of 87, Chico Doceiro died, and the family business was taken over by his son, who grew up around pots and pans. José Trindade Xavier, now known as Zé Doceiro, sells approximately 400 to 500 dulce the leche cones per day, with a crispy, hot puff pastry. They are delicious!

 

Pacco and Bacco

A place to drink and eat well. Pacco and Bacco is always crowded with loving couples or groups that want to share a good bottle of wine. They have over 150 wines from all over the world in their cellar, including a sparkling wine produced in Minas Gerais.

 

The dish Criação de Chef is a pork meat duo: pancetta roasted for hours, which melts in your mouth, and slowly vacuum-cooked loin. And it’s served with pork rinds.

Rua Direita, 166