About Critical Divide

Standing at the Critical Divide with Chris Pickard

New Boteco – Boa Praça – for Ipanema

Many regular visitors to Rio in the 1970s, 80s and 90s will remember Barril 1800 on Ipanema Beach. Sadly Barril departed the scene in 2007 to be replaced by Bar Rio and then the Astor. But it appears Astor has not survived the pandemic and having been closed for nearly a year will give way to a branch of Boteco Boa Praça, a group that started life in São Paulo and opened a popular Rio branch in Leblon (Rua Dias Ferreira 12) in 2019.

The new Boa Praça is expected to open in May 2021 with plans for a third Rio branch in Barra (Av Olegário Maciel) by the year end.

No news yet as to what may happen to the upper floor in Ipanema that some will remember during Barril’s time as Jazzmania (1983-1994) where you could have been lucky enough to catch the likes of Chet Baker, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Toots Thielemans, Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Marisa Monte, Hermeto Pascoal, João Bosco, Jorge Ben and many, many others.

Rio’s New Restaurants in early 2021

Crisis? What crisis? Pandemic? What pandemic? Despite what is going on in and around the world, Rio de Janeiro has still seen the opening of a number of new restaurants since the start of the year including recently the 600 seater Nordic Steakhouse, O Nórdico, in Av Olegário Maciel in Barra which comes with a Viking theme!

More tempting may be Escama, a new seafood restaurant in Rua Visconde de Carandaí in Jardim Botânico. While you can find fish on the menu at most restaurants in Rio, actual seafood restaurants are surprisingly quite few and far between.

A new Italian, Amalfitana, has opened up in the space vacated by Quadrifoglio in the Village Mall in Barra, while Leblon has a new bistro, Sole, in Rua Dias Ferreira. And Burgers Rio has opened a new branch at Rua Voluntários da Pátria 1 in Botafogo to add to the one at Rua Aníbal de Mendonça 55 in Ipanema.

New Pelé documentary premieres on Netflix on 23 February 2021

23 February will see the premiere on Netflix of “Pelé”, a new original documentary, that chronicles the life of Edson Arantes do Nascimento – or Pelé.

The documentary looks back at the extraordinary period that Pelé, the only player to win three World Cup titles, went from a young superstar in 1958 to a national hero, amidst a radical and turbulent era in Brazilian history.

With rare and exclusive filmed access to Pelé himself, the film showcases the star reflecting upon his career. The documentary also includes rare archive and interviews from former legendary team-mates at Santos Futebol Clube and the Brazilian national team, including Zagallo, Amarildo and Jairzinho, as well as testimonials from family members, journalists, artists and other personalities who witnessed the golden age of Brazilian football. that culminated in Brazil winning the 1970 World Cup.

All Brazilian final to the Copa Libertadores in Rio

There is to be an all Brazilian final at Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League, when Palmeiras and Santos will play on 30 January 2021 having respectively knocked out Argentina’s River Plate and Boca Juniors in the semi-finals.

It is only the third time in the history of the competition that two Brazilian teams have played the final. It means that Brazil will now have had the most finalists in the history of the competition with 38, compared to Argentina’s 37, but even with Brazil’s 21st title in 2021, Argentina still leads with 25 titles.

The current holder of the Copa Libertadores is Brazil’s Flamengo. Santos is a three time winner of the Libertadores (1962, 1963 and 2011, losing one other final) and Palmeiras has won once in 1999 (but has lost three finals).

The final on 30 January is to be played at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and will kick off at 17.00 (20.00 UK time and should be shown in Britain on the BBC).

Flying Down to Rio with British United

A blast from the past when British United flew between the UK and Brazil.

British United took over BOAC’s South American routes to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay on 5 November 1964. Those routes, flying VC10s via Madrid, Lisbon, Las Palmas or Freetown, became profitable for United by late-1968. In November 1970, the airline was sold and merged into Caledonian to form British Caledonian that continued to fly to South America, replacing the VC10s with Boeing 707s in 1972, which allowed for a non-stop service between London Gatwick and Rio.

British Airways took over the routes from British Caledonian in 1985.

Mangueira’s samba for 2021 is “Angenor, José & Laurindo”

Mangueira is the last of Rio’s major samba school to choose its theme or enredo for what may be a special parade of the samba schools in July 2021. All based on if the vaccine is rolled out successfully in Rio de Janeiro.

Mangueira’s samba is “Angenor, José &Laurindo”, which refers to three of the school’s most iconic figures, the great composer, Cartola, (Angenor de Oliveira); the singer, Jamelão (José Bispo Clementino dos Santos); and the dance master or mestre-sala, Delegado (Hélio Laurindo da Silva).

2021 also marks the centenary of the birth of Mestre Delegado who performed for the school from 1948 through to 1984, when he retired as the Mestre-Sala after Mangueira  had won the Super-Championship to mark the first year of the Sambódromo. In that time Delegado had always scored a maximum 10 for his presentation. 

 

Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2020

Despite all the challenges faced by the hospitality industry, the annual list of “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants” was announced on 3 December. Bragging rights for the top spot went to Don Julio in Buenos Aires.

Nine restaurants on the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants are to be found in Brazil. They are A Casa do Porco, D.O.M., Maní, Evvai, Mocotó and Corrutela in São Paulo; Oteque and Lasai in Rio de Janeiro; and Manu in Curitiba.

The full list to give food for thought is:

  • 1. Don Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2. Maido, Lima, Peru
  • 3. Central, Lima, Peru
  • 4. A Casa do Porco, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 5. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 6. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
  • 7. El Chato, Bogotá, Colombia
  • 8. Mishiguene, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 9. Rosetta, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 10. Osso Lima, Peru
  • 11. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 12. Oteque, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 13. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
  • 14. Pangea, Monterrey, Mexico
  • 15. Alcalde, Guadalajara, Mexico
  • 16. Tegui, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 17. Sud 777, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 18. Kjolle, Lima, Peru
  • 19. Chila, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 20. Isolina, Lima, Peru
  • 21. Lasai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 22. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
  • 23. Maní, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 24. Mayta, Lima, Peru
  • 25. Harry Sasson, Bogotá, Colombia
  • 26. Evvai, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 27. Leo, Bogotá, Colombia
  • 28. Parador La Huella, José Ignacio, Uruguay
  • 29. Rafael, Lima, Peru
  • 30. Le Chique, Cancún, Mexico
  • 31. Nicos, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 32. De Patio, Santiago, Chile
  • 33., Mocotó, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 34. Gran Dabbang, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 35. Mil, Cusco, Peru
  • 36. Máximo Bistrot, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 37. Mérito, Lima, Peru
  • 38. Osaka, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 39. El Baqueano, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 40, Narda Comedor, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 41. Restaurante 040, Santiago, Chile
  • 42. Maito, Panama City, Panama
  • 43. Aramburu, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 44. Manu, Curitiba, Brazil
  • 45. La Mar, Lima, Peru
  • 46. Ambrosía, Santiago, Chile
  • 47. El Preferido de Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 48. Nuema, Quito, Ecuador
  • 49. Celele, Cartagena, Colombia
  • 50. Corrutela, São Paulo, Brazil

Veja São Paulo picks best restaurants for 2020

Despite Covid-19 and lockdown Veja São Paulo has also managed to produce its annual guide to São Paulo’s bars and restaurants and pick its best in a number of categories. The city, without question,  is one of the world’s great centres for gourmands.

As a taster the top three for Brazilian cuisine in São Paulo are Jiquitaia, Tordesilhas and Banzeiro; for contemporary it is D.O.M., Maní and Corrutela; for meat, Varanda (photo), Rubaiyat and Templo da Carne Marcos Bassi; for French, Bistrot Parigi, Chef Rouge and Président; for Italian, Evvai, Picchi and Fasano; for Trattoria, Lido Amici, di Amici, Moma (Modern Mamma Osteria) and Antonietta Cucina; for Pizza, Deveras Pizza, Carlos and Leggera; for Japanese, Kan Suke, Shin-Zushi and Murakami; for Portuguese, Tasca da Esquina, Costa Nova and Quinta de Santa Maria; and for Arab, Monte Líbano, Miski and Farabbud.

Veja Rio picks best restaurants for 2020

Despite Covid-19 and lockdown Veja Rio has still managed to produce its annual guide to Rio’s bars and restaurants and pick its best in a number of categories.

As a taster the top three for Brazilian cuisine are Maria e o Boi, Sabores de Gabriela and Capim Santo; for contemporary it is Oteque (photo), Lasai and Iraja Redux; for meat, Malta Beef Club, Esplanada Grill and Corrientes 348; for French, Emile, Didier and Chez Claude; for Italian, Cipriani, Grado and Anna; for Portuguese, Gajos d’Ouro, Rancho Portugues and Adegão Portugues; for seafood, Venga Chiringuito, Satyricon and Posi Mozza & Mare; for Pizza, Ferro e Farinha, Ella and Braz; for Japanese, Naga, Mitsuba and Haru Sushi Bar; and for vegetarian, Org Bistro, Naturalie Bistro and Prana Vegetarian. 

Brazil picks Babenco doc for 93rd Academy Awards

For the first time Brazil has chosen a documentary to represent it in the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards. The film chosen by the Brazilian Academy (Academia Brasileira de Cinema) is Barbara Paz’s “Babenco: Tell Me When I Die” (“Babenco: Alguém Tem que Ouvir o Coração e Dizer Parou”).

The film premiered at the 2019 Venice Filme Festival where it won Best Documentary on Cinema. The film focuses on the last years of the life of filmmaker Hector Babenco who died of cancer in 2016. Paz was Babenco’s partner.

Babenco’s credits include “Pixote”, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), “Ironweed”, “At Play in the Fields of the Lord”, “Coração Iluminado” and “Carandiru”. Three of his film screened in competition in Cannes and he was also a member of the jury in 1989.

The 93rd Academy Awards is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 25 2021.