Brunch in Rio offers “a memorable experience for more than just the food”
– July 31, 2023 | Text Beatriz Maio
In a familiar, intimate and comfortable environment, Brunch in Rio offers a memorable experience, not only for the food – which is exceptional – but for its relaxed atmosphere and pleasing décor.
It is a place that was missing in the Algarve and has been much appreciated by locals and foreigners who haven’t stopped coming here since it opened on August 8, 2021, exactly as the owner Ana Prudêncio had envisioned.
The restaurant is remarkable for the diversity of the dishes on the menu and also for its location, all carefully chosen by the founder: “The idea was all mine and so was the name,” she admits.
Just as the name states, this brunch spot is situated close to the Arade River (‘Rio’ in Portuguese), which crosses Ferragudo village.
And there is no lack of tasty options – from typical local dishes such as ‘Tábua Barrosão’, named after the building’s owner, to the traditional Peruvian dish ceviche, Mexican tacos, bao buns, originally from China, or bagels inspired by those of the Polish Jewish communities.
The product suppliers are from all over the country but, as it could not be any other way, the oranges are locally sourced.
“I only want to have nice dishes on the menu; I want food that leaves an impression,” Ana explains, adding that clients can expect a multitude of cuisines – something unusual in other restaurants that normally focus just on one.
The owner also says that “people are not treated as if they were ‘just another client’ but as a family member. The goal is for them to feel as if they’re coming to a friend’s house”.
Some groups will have lunch at the restaurant and then spend the afternoon there, ordering pancakes and waffles or just enjoying cocktails.
This comfortable attitude is a result of small details that make the place feel loving and warm. For instance, ‘Panquecas do João’ (João’s Pancakes) is a dish that Ana invented for her 8-year-old son during quarantine, as well as the puff pastry croissants that she used to make at home but never ate at any restaurant.
The menu is a mix of all the dishes that Ana tried in different places, mostly in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, and flavours that have stuck with her. She also encourages the bartenders and the kitchen staff to come up with their own original ideas for the menu and attend to customers’ special requests, always making room for innovation.
There are also many vegan and vegetarian options, which earned Brunch in Rio the “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” accolade in the area in 2022 and 2023 by the rating platform Restaurant Guru.
Ana wants the customers to feel at home, in a cheerful space decorated with sofas and unique tables she chose.
“I wanted something different so I picked a combination of diverse components, from the lamps that say ‘love’ and in the shape of a heart to the decorative quotes that inspire and make sense to almost everyone,” shed said, pointing out that there is much more to the restaurant than just food.
The wallpaper with plant motifs and green colours, the tables made from restored wooden cable coils, wood features, shades of orange and strong neons create a pleasant environment with nooks that were created specifically to set themselves apart from one another with different tables, allowing customers to choose the one that best matches their vibe.
Although the eclectic food and decoration are already great reasons to visit Brunch in Rio, the attentive team is another highlight, composed of a group of seven, most of whom have been here since the beginning.
Ana reveals that, when she started, she wasn’t looking for anyone in particular but it was like the right ones came to her through friends who knew that they had restoration experience and were ready to take care of the place.
On the opening day, only Eduardo Leite and Fábio Fonseca were working in the front house with the kitchen helmed by Paula Fernandes, a 60-year-old experienced cook that has known Ana since she was a child because of her grandmother.
When Paula heard that the restaurant was about to open, she offered to help. By the time the opening date was chosen, the team wasn’t fully set and it was a challenge, however, taking this risk has paid off until today.
Brunch in Rio is exactly as Ana imagined, not only because it combines all the types of food that she likes and couldn’t find together before she created the concept, but also for the decoration and the good atmosphere everyone can enjoy, especially locals, as well as many English, German and French visitors.