Lagash (CLN, Qd. 308-309, Bl. B, Lj. 11/17, tel. 61/3273-0098, www.lagash.com.br, noon–4 p.m. and 7 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. Sun., R$30–40) is renowned for its refined and immaculately prepared Moroccan, Lebanese, and Syrian fare. Particularly popular are the succulent lamb dishes such as shredded Moroccan lamb with walnuts and rice, and roasted leg of lamb with dried pears in pomegranate sauce. For a medley of flavors, try the tasting menu, which offers a sampling of 12 dishes for R$36.
At Nippon (CLS, Qd. 403, Bl. A, Lj. 28, tel. 61/3224-0430, noon–2:30 p.m. and 7–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–3 p.m. and 7 p.m.–midnight Sat., noon–4:30 p.m. Sun., R$30–40) chef Jun Ito makes Japanese food as authentic as that you’d be served in Tokyo. Proof of his success is in the rave reviews from the Japanese diplomats and dignitaries who have dined here. However, Ito also has an inventive streak, which explains offerings such as salmon rolls stuffed with shimeji mushrooms and shrimp tempura with shiitake sauce. Although there are more than 150 à la carte choices on the menu, most fans opt for the all-you-can-eat rodízio of 50 dishes served Monday to Thursday nights and Sunday at lunch (R$42 pp). There is also a daily lunch buffet.
For mouthwatering pizza, head to Baco (CLN, Qd, 309, Bl. A, Lj. 30, tel. 61/3274-8600, 6 p.m.–1 a.m. daily, R$20–30). Crusts come in three varieties: napolitana (soft and thick), romana (thin and crunchy) and integral (whole wheat). Toppings are divided between classic Italian recipes and experimental creations such as the popular shimeji with leeks and gorgonzola with pears. From Sunday to Tuesday, sample all of them at the R$22 per person rodízio. There is another location in the Comércio Local Sul (Qd. 408, Bl. C. Lj. 30, tel. 61/3244-2292).
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition