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The Taíba diet – close to nature

The food in Taíba is delicious and healthy. Vegetables are quite rare, but there is an overdose of tropical fruit to make up for that. You will start your day with a breakfast of fresh pineapple, mango and açai, eat fresh fish at midday and then choose the finest filet mignon or picanha from the churrasqueira (Brazilian barbecue). Or perhaps you prefer lobster or shrimps? It all costs just a fraction of the prices at home.

A superb place to eat out

Taíba has a wide range of delicious little restaurants, all at very reasonable prices.


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Brilho da Lua

Fish restaurant/beach shack on Morro do Chapéu. Delicious fish curry. Downstairs you will literally have your feet in the water, as they say in France: les pieds dans l’eau. The patio upstairs has windows to provide welcome protection from the wind.

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Chez André

On the market square, sublime French cuisine. Expensive by Brazilian standards, but probably the cheapest Michelin quality in the world. At these prices you would only get a dry pizza in Europe. The walls are hung with paintings by the chef, and every dish is a work of art too!
Do not miss his delicious peixe Ben, named after an acclaimed French chef who taught him the recipe. Send André our best wishes. I wish I could eat there every day.

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Il Terrazzo

The oldest pizzeria – in the main street 50 m behind the square on the left – is usually only open at the weekends.

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Le Petit Bistrot

A young French cook who serves delicious gratin dauphinois potatoes with almost every dish. Atmospheric pavement seating, with views of the fish market. Delicious meat with three sauces, and the dish called Jangada with lobster, fish and seafood is worthy of respect too. In the evenings you can see the fishermen returning home with their unsold wares. The frozen caipirinha makes a good aperitif.

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Nalu

Great pizzeria on Morro do Chapéu, run by some surfers. It is impressive how you can enjoy the most wonderful pizzas in such a remote place. Very good food, but unfortunately the boss is aiming at foreigners and richer surfers from Fortaleza. The summer beer is Brazilian Corona, but how can it be that they don't serve caipirinha? Just kidding... For some typical images, see this report by Brasil do cor do mar.

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Peixada do Morro

Fish restaurant on the same street as Beach Break Brasil. Large portions! The guard dog is large too, which ruins it for me.

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Saravah

The poshest beach restaurant, at the beginning of Taibinha. On Sundays this is often full to bursting with surfers enjoying wonderful fish dishes or steaks.
You should definitely start with their beautifully presented caipirinha. Prawns with pineapple sauce are served in a pineapple... you get the picture. Attractive setting!

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Taíba Beach Resort

The Norwegian resort at the beginning of the street has a restaurant that is open to the public but caters for a select audience. Flip-flops and surfing shorts are not a problem, but you'd better comb your flyaway hair and put on a clean shirt before turning up at reception. It is a convenient place to come for breakfast or dinner if you have eaten up all your stocks. Open every day from 8am to 8.30pm. There is also a tiny shop where you can pick up sun cream or a frozen pizza. The other facilities in the resort such as the swimming pool and tennis courts are by invitation only. There is a gorgeous patio beside a very beautiful lake, but a caipirinha costs twice as much here as anywhere else. The meals are well priced by Scandinavian standards, but the cuisine is not as special as you might expect from the location. The apartments and gardens are more luxurious than the restaurant. They are not trying too hard to compete with the local restaurants.

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The Bleeding Heart

In pousada The Latin Quarter, better known as Revolution Kiteboarding among kiters and Aldeia Verde da Taíba among the locals, on the main road on the left about 2 km from the square. Delicious pizzas and lovely frozen caipirinha (with a double shot of cachaça on request).
Run by Kate from England, who also gives kite lessons and used to live at Beach Break Brasil.

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Twisted

Açai-stop at the bottom of the mirante. Also has good burgers, toasties (mixto quente) and pasteis but best known for its açai with granola (açai na tijela). Evandro keeps his recipe secret and he is right to do so, he is not twisted at all. Traditional stop on the way back after a downwind.

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Villa da Praia

The beach restaurant at Taibinha is well known for its pancakes (hearty crêpes salées as a main course, e.g. with mozzarella and gorgonzola, and sweet sucrées as a dessert, e.g. with lime or Nutella).
You can sit by the window, protected from the wind, and watch the surfers and kiters. Cécile is a friendly French lady who has been making pancakes all her life. Her husband Michel mainly offers moral support. When will you start surfing, Michel? Surely you haven't come to Brazil to sit behind a computer?

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Villa Marola

Hotel with stylish restaurant in Nova Taíba, no sea views but delicious cooking and pleasant surroundings.

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Volta ao Mundo

A little further along the main street, run by a French world traveller and kiting instructor. Great if you want to hear about the adventures of a world tour that ended in Taíba, or make an appointment for an unforgettable horseback tour of the dunes.

Hotel service?

A full hotel service including cooking can be provided by the housekeeper at Beach Break Brasil, but in our experience you will not really want full-scale meals in the heat, and a cold salad or self-cooked barbecue will suit you better! Expect to pay 50 real per day for housekeeping staff, plus probably a finder's fee.

Make a quick snack yourself

You can get tired of eating out every evening... At Beach Break Brasil you have a fully equipped kitchen with a cooker, oven, refrigerator and freezer. There is a professional Brazilian barbecue in the garden: the famous churrasqueira. Charcoal is dirt cheap and comes in big bags of at least 15 kilo from the coal merchant near the fish market, in an old house diagonally opposite Le Petit Bistrot (Dec. 2011: 15 real). The word carvao is painted on the wall in red letters. The mini-supermarkets sell 3 kg bags.

Wonderful filet mignon and picanha (rump, a typical Brazilian delicacy in both mini-supermarkets (2011: 25 real per kilo), the sausage (linguiça) is for enthusiasts, not really European, and of course fabulous fish from the market. If you want to barbecue like a Brazilian chef, have a look at this YouTube clip. Tip: bring your own herbes de Provence – in South America they only really have oregano and coriander...

A few simple suggestions using locally available ingredients for those who don't want to make a fire:

  • Guacamole: blend a couple of ripe avocados (often the size of melons here), squeeze a couple of limes, cut a tomato into pieces and mix into the pureed avocado, add freshly ground pepper, chilli and fresh coriander (coentro, can be found in the refrigerators in the mini-supermarkets or in a bucket of water), add a large clove of garlic and put it in the fridge for an hour. Delicious and highly nutritious!
  • Papaya with honey: finger-licking flavour.
  • Shrimps with curry and mango: fry the shrimps in oil using the wok and add plenty of curry powder. Add some cubes of freshly cut mango. Mango tastes best when it has just come out of the refrigerator. Goes well with a salad too.
  • Smoothie diet: Put some bananas in the blender with ice cubes and other fruit, e.g. mango, pineapple, passion fruit, lime and strawberries. Smoothie packs are wonderful, but fresh fruit with ice is a lot cheaper than the frozen packs. Don't forget to add some cachaça after your workout :-).
  • And of course a few litres of caipirinha, the Brazilian national drink:
    Cut up a couple of limes. Put the pieces in a glass with 1 or 2 teaspoons of cane sugar. Crush the pieces of lime with a pestle so that the juice mixes with the sugar. Add two fingers of cachaça rum (which is ridiculously cheap!). Crush or cut up the ice and put it in the glass. Serve with a straw and a long spoon to mix the cocktail.
    Tip: or throw it all in the blender for a deliciously refreshing frozen capirinha!
    For your information: the best capirinha of all is served at the café on the corner next to the chemist!

Doing your shopping

There are about 10 mini-supermarkets selling all popular food products, and they are open on Sundays: they have meat, vegetables, fruit, drinks, ice etc. These are not luxury shops but they do have 24 types of shampoo and 17 types of vinegar (including balsámico)! Timbo is the cheapest and friendliest. It is 1.6 km on foot via the beach, they deliver to the house free of charge (entrega a casa por favor, show a photograph of the house if your Portuguese is not up to it).

Food department: fresh bread early in the mornings, "bimbo" bread for toasting, cheese/ham/meat at the counter, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, oranges and other fruit, potatoes, rice, frozen smoothie packs with açai (ask for "açai en pulpa" if you can't find it, they have a warehouse across the street), eggs, very good honey, pasta etc. They have roast chickens on Sundays. And ... their 17 varieties of vinegar!

Non-food department: cleaning and washing products, insecticides, you can pay your electricity bill at the counter outside, banking services (only if you have an account with Banco do Brasil) and, as we have said: 24 types of shampoo!

The Litoral mini-supermarket in the street opposite is larger and slightly more expensive. It belongs to the same owner as the deposito (hardware store) beside the mini-supermarket. Both mini-supermarkets accept Visa. Their offerings do vary from day to day, and it is often worth having a look in both shops.

For a real hypermarket you will have to go to Forteleza, e.g. Assai or Extra, which is more expensive. In Pecem there are some slightly larger mini-supermarkets (you can get some cash while you are there) and there is another larger mini-supermarket at the roundabout as you drive out of Taíba, about half an hour away (there is an eatery next door with good snacks).

In remote Taíba transport costs do add up, so it is best to pick up some provisions on your way from Fortaleza to Taíba from Assai (pronounce it like the fruit açai, although it is completely unrelated), a large supermarket chain with discount prices. This chain targets the hotel and catering sector, so it offers a wide range and large pack sizes. You can then fill up the 240 litre refrigerator as soon as you arrive.

Better still, if you are travelling as a group: let someone go through customs without waiting for your luggage and send them off to the supermarket across the street for some shopping, so then you will not waste any time. Careful crossing the road! They have a wide range, and notoriously low prices like Assai. If you also buy a polystyrene cool box you can get some meat while you are here; there is a bigger variety here than in Taíba.


NB: You can pay by credit card in almost all the shops and restaurants (except Le Petit Bistrot!!), but there is no cashpoint in Taíba. You can get cash in the nearby towns of Pecem and Sao Gonçalo, or when you arrive at the airport (on the first floor).

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