Rio de Janeiro
Rafa Costa e Silva
What makes it special? With exceptional, vegetable-led dishes from chef Rafael Costa e Silva and warm, welcoming hospitality by his wife, Malena Cardiel, Lasai has all the ingredients of a standout restaurant. It’s no wonder, then, that it has already won the Art of Hospitality Award in 2019 for its friendly, unpretentious yet professional service, and has featured in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for all nine consecutive years since its opening.
All-change: In 2022, Lasai moved from its former home in a colonial townhouse in Botafogo neighbourhood to a much smaller spot just around the corner. It now serves just 10 people around a single, L-shaped chef’s counter, offering a much more intimate experience, with every guest sitting right in front of Costa e Silva and his team.
What’s on the menu? Fed by two gardens – one in Itahnangá in the city, the other a few hours’ drive away in Rio de Janeiro state – Lasai’s 15-course tasting menu centres around the best seasonal, mostly organic produce, coupled with the freshest local seafood and protein. That might mean chayote squash with Romanesco broccoli, borage and juicy scallops, or palm heart with cashew nuts, enoki and king oyster mushrooms and sweet potato leaf.
Perfect pairing: Matching with Costa e Silva’s food is a drinks pairing featuring biodynamic and natural wines from Lasai’s talented sommelier, Maíra Freire. The list boasts plenty of Brazilian gems including reds from Rio Grande do Sul in the south, vermouths from São Paulo and even a mead made from wild, native bees.