| The family-owned Restaurante Casa do João located in Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil opened in 2007, and is located steps away from the Praça da Liberdade with its large fish sculpture and the Aquário de Bonito. The charming restaurant has a lovely fruit-tree laden garden, a shop filled with artisanal gifts, and a whimsical museum where true antiquities are mixed with "recent museum items" such as cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, and even old computer monitors. The food is delicious, and the ambience is welcoming.
Restaurante Casa do João
We had a great dinner at Restaurante Casa do João on March 19, 2019. The ambience was warm and inviting, black leather placemats graced the wood tables, and white rattan lamp shades hung from the beamed ceiling of the restaurant. Interesting artwork and artisanal items decorated the walls and piped-in music added to the background hum of the restaurant.
Caipi João cocktails
The restaurant has their own brand of cachaça, the national spirit of Brazil, and we began our evening with 2 of their "Caipi João" cocktails, which were Caipirinha cocktails. One was made with cachaça and strawberries, and the other Caipirinha was made with cachaça with passion fruit juice. Both were attractively garnished with slices of lime, orange, and mint. We also had a well-crafted Mojito, served in a Tiki glass, and sampled their (Chopp de casa) house beer.
Bolinho de Traira
Bonito is known for its freshwater fish and for its alligator (jacaré), both of which were on the Restaurante Casa do João menu. For our appetizers we selected an order of Bolinho de Traira (Wolf-fish balls) and of course, we had to try the Jacaré, to share.
The bolinhos were golden nuggets of flavor, and consisted of a lovely mélange of wolf-fish, potatoes, and a kibbe crust that gave them a crisp exterior and a moist interior. Served with 2 accompanying sauces, they were the perfect cocktail accompaniment. The Jacaré was presented as sautéed strips of succulent alligator meat surrounded by shredded carrots and was also very nice.
Pirarucu da Chef Leo
As there were four of us, we shared two entrees, savoring both river and land offerings, as Mato Grosso do Sul is renowned not only for its freshwater fish, but also for its beef. From the river, we had one of their special dishes, the Pirarucu da Chef Leo, which was presented in a delectable sauce made with ginger and coconut milk, accompanied by white rice, banana chips, garlic farofa, a house salad, corn on the cob, and roasted banana. Pirarucu is one of the largest freshwater fish and considered to have an exotic taste. Presented as it was, it was very tasty. (Note: farofa is a very popular side dish in Brazil and is made from a base of manioc (cassava) flour mixed with seasonings and other ingredients.)
File Gorgonzola (filets of beef)
For our "land" course, we had the Filé Gorgonzola, also a specialty of the restaurant, which was two tender filets of beef perfectly cooked to order and presented in a rich gorgonzola sauce and accompanied by white rice, French fries, garlic farofa, dried-beef farofa, and a house salad.
After a very satisfying dinner, we took a leisurely stroll through their garden and sampled the Brazilian fruit jabuticaba, a berry-like fruit that resembles a grape, and grows directly on the branches of the tree. We also made time to visit their artisanal shops, and of course, their whimsical museum.
Restaurante Casa do João serves lunch beginning at 11:00 am, and dinner from 6:00 pm.
To learn more about Restaurante Casa do Joao please visit their website: http://www.casadojoao.com.br/
Restaurante Casa do João
Chef Felipe Caran Vizcaino - Executive Director and Chef
Rua Nelson Felício dos Santos, 664 - Centro
Bonito - MS,79290-000
Telephone: +55 (67) 3255-1212
Read more about our experiences in Brazil inthe Pantanal and Bonito in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, and Adventures sections.
Important Travel Information:
Agência Ygarapé: We used Agência Ygarapé for expert and professional tour information and booking our adventures. The agency has been providing high-quality, attentive service for tours, packages, accommodations, and transport services and more, for over 20+years, serving Bonito and the Pantanal region.
Please visit their site for more information (site is available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish): www.ygarape.com.br.
Agência Ygarapé is open daily from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm (and until 10:00 pm during high season).
Rua Coronel Pilad Rebuá, 1853, Centro
Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS)
Telephone: +55 (67)3255-1733
Cellular: +55 (67) 99213-7374
Visit Brasil: For more informationon Bonito and Pantanal, please visit: http://www.visitbrasil.com/en/destinos/bonito.html, http://www.visitbrasil.com/pt/destinos/bonito.html
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