About Critical Divide

Standing at the Critical Divide with Chris Pickard

Brazil Qualify for 2022 FIFA World Cup

With a 1×0 win over Colombia on 11 November 2021, Brazil mathematically guaranteed its place at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in December 2022, and in doing so remains the only country to qualify for every single one of the 22 World Cup Finals, winning five of them. 

After the finals in Russia in 2018, Brazil is tied with Germany in playing 109 games in the finals, but has won 73 games compared to Germany’s 67. Brazil has also scored 229 goals in finals, compared to Germany’s 226. 

Follow the World Cup at www.worldcuptheguide.com

Veja São Paulo’s best restaurants for 2021

São Paulo is a city that rightly prides itself on its gastronomic excellence, offering not only the best of Brazilian cuisine, especially the barbecue houses, but also a truly eclectic mix of restaurants serving dishes from the four corners of the globe. For many food critics, São Paulo now boasts the best selection of top restaurants in the world.

For that reason alone you will want to know what are the picks from Veja São Paulo’s restaurant guide “Comer & Beber”, which like Veja Rio is celebrating its 25th edition. Not exactly the same categories as Rio, but Veja’s best in São Paulo for 2021 are (and see if you agree):

  • Best Overall Restaurant: Casa do Porco (Centro)
  • Contemporary Brazilian: Maní (Jardim Paulistano)
  • Brazilian: A Baianeira (Masp – Av Paulista))
  • Barbecue / Meat: Rubaiyat (Itaim Bibi)
  • French: Président (Cerqueira César)
  • Italian: Fame (Jardim Paulista)
  • Trattoria: Lido Amici di Amici (Pinheiros)
  • Pizza: A Pizza da Mooca (Mooca)
  • Japanese: Ryo (Itaim Bibi)
  • Arab: Shahiya (Moema)
  • Mixed: Chez Claude (Itaim Bibi) 
  • Newcomer (Asian): Kazuo (Jardim Paulistano)
  • Hamburger: Z Deli Sandwiches (Pinheiros / Centro)
  • Sandwich: Zoe Sandwich Shop (Tatuapé)
  • Botequim / Bar: Esquina do Souza (Perdizes)
  • Cheap & Cheerful: Cuia Café (Edificio Copan – Centro) / Pão com Carne (Itaim Bibi)
  • Ice Cream: Frida & Mina (Pinheiros)

Veja Rio’s best restaurants for 2021

In 1997 Veja Rio launched its excellent restaurant and bar guide “Comer & Beber”, which also chooses its best restaurants and bars in Rio for the year (it does the same for São Paulo). The list of the city’s best for Rio 2021 are:

  • Contemporary Brazilian: Oteque (Botafogo)
  • Barbecue / Churrascaria Rodizio: Churrascaria Palace (Copacabana)
  • Seafood: Escama (Jardim Botanico)
  • French: L’Etoile – Sheraton Rio (Leblon)
  • Italian: Grado (Jardim Botanico)
  • Pizza: Ferro e Farinha (Catete / Botafogo / Leblon)
  • Portuguese: Gajos D’Ouro (Ipanema)
  • Asian: Spicy Fish (Ipanema)
  • Japanese: San (Leblon)
  • Hamburger: Sabor D.O.C. (Leblon)
  • Veagan: Ganic Lab (Barra)
  • Gastropub: Pope (Ipanema)
  • Botequim / Bar: Bafo da Prainha
  • Cheap & Cheerful: Cantón (Copacabana)
  • Ice Cream: Mil Frutas (Ipanema / Leblon / Jardim Botanico / São Conrado / Barra)
  • Breakfast: Café 18 do Forte (Copacabana)
  • Kiosk: De Lamare (Posto 8 – Ipanema)
  • Best Terrace: Boteco Belmonte (Ipanema)

“Deserto Particular” chosen as Brazil’s selection for the Oscars 2022

Aly Muritiba’s “Deserto Particular” (Private Desert) has been chosen as Brazil’s official selection in the Best International Film category for the Academy Awards in 2022. 

It tells the story of 40-year-old Daniel (Antonio Saboia), who has been suspended from active police work in Curitiba, in the south of Brazil, and is under internal investigation for violence. When Sara, his internet love affair, stops answering his texts he decides to drive north to the interior of Bahia in search of her, starting on what is apparently a fool’s errand. He shows Sara’s picture around, but nobody seems to recognise the woman, until eventually one man says he can put the two in touch but under very specific conditions. 

The film premiered and was very well received at the Venice Film Festival in September in Venice Days (Giornate degli Autori). It will open in Brazil on 25 November.

Order of Rio’s Carnaval Parades in 2022

The main parades of the Grupo Especial are currently scheduled to take place on the nights of Sunday, 27 February and Monday, 28 February 2022. The 12 schools and the order that they will parade in 2022 are (and the 2020 results out of 270 points):

Sunday, 27 February 2022

  • Imperatriz (Promoted)
  • Mangueira (6th: 268.9)
  • Salgueiro (5th: 269.0)
  • São Clemente (10th: 267.0)
  • Viradouro (1st: 269.6)
  • Beija-Flor (4th: 269.4)

Monday, 28 February 2022

  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (11th: 266.2)
  • Portela (7th: 268.8)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (3rd: 269.4)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (9th: 267.6)
  • Grande Rio (2nd: 269.6)
  • Vila Isabel (8th: 268.6)

Copacabana Palace Theatre to Re-Open

The famous theatre in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Palace Hotel is set to re-open in November 2021 after being totally refurbished.

The theatre first opened its curtains in 1949, but it has been closed for productions since 1994. The first production on re-opening is scheduled to be “Copacabana Palace – O Musical”.

The theatre now has 238 seats in the stalls and another 70 on the balcony, as well as a number of boxes.

Its return is a very, very welcome addition to Rio’s cultural scene.

New Bar/Restaurant for Ipanema Beach

A new, very impressive branch of the popular Belmonte chain has opened on Ipanema Beach on the corner of Avenida Vieira Souto (236) and Rua Farme de Amoedo, a spot that has previously housed Alberico’s and Pizza Inn.

The new space, slightly larger and cleaner than you average “boteco”, includes a roof terrace with views over the beach and the sunset.

Designs for new Brazilian Maritime Museum

The winning designs for a new Brazilian Maritime Museum to be built in Rio de Janeiro to tell the story of Brazilian maritime exploits and there impacts on the country have been released.

The plan is to build the new museum where the Naval Cultural Centre currently sits. It will be close to the city’s excellent Museum of Tomorrow and the Museum of Rio Art, as well as the National History Museum and the Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre.

Rio & Brazil host Copa America 2021

Originally planned for Argentina and Colombia in 2020, and then moved to 2021 due to the pandemic, the Copa America was finally switched to Brazil at the very last moment with games taking place from 13 June to 10 July 2021. Brazil had hosted and won the cup for the ninth time in 2019.

Group games will be played across four stadiums – Nilton Santos (Rio), Olympic (Goiana), Arena Pantanal (Cuiaba) and Mane Garrincha (Brasilia) – with the final to be played at the Maracanã in Rio.

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.