Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rafa Costa e Silva
What’s in the name? Lasai means ‘tranquility’ in the Basque language.
Chief reasons to visit: The combination of world-class cooking and a stunning dining space in the Botafogo neighbourhood, as well as service so warm and friendly that it earned Lasai the Art of Hospitality Award at Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
A brief history: Lasai opened its doors in 2014 in a historic house dating from 1902, garnering near-instant critical acclaim. The room mixes natural and modern materials with wood from old houses, together with designer lamps. The terrace has a view to the most famous landmark in the city: Christ the Redeemer.
A few words on the chef: Rafael Costa e Silva, known as Rafa, trained at New York’s Culinary Institute of America. He spent many years in Europe, including working as the right hand of Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain. It was there he met his wife, Malena Cardiel, who now runs the dining room at Lasai.
Typical dishes: Palm heart ceviche; banana, bok choy, manioc and sour cream; chayote, burrata, bottarga. Many products come from the chef’s own farm and each table has the central product of the day, such as corn, a cassava or blue carrots, displayed under a glass dome.
What else? The wine service and cocktail bar are among the best in Brazil, with a unique choice of natural wines and original drinks creations.