Considering the global tribes that pass through and settle down in Lençóis , the astonishing mix of (good) eating options is hardly surprising. The traditional Neco’s Bar (Praça Clarim Pacheco 15, tel. 75/3334-1179, noon–10 p.m. daily, R$12–18) is reputed for regional specialties such as roasted goat, godó (a stew of green bananas and sun-dried beef), cortado de palma (diced cactus with ground beef), and a salad of batata-da-serra, a local potato found only in the Chapada. Reserving your meal in advance is necessary.
To stock up on proteins, head for the lively Picanha na Praça (Praça Otaviano Alves 62, tel. 75/3334-1080, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, R$15–20), where the prime cuts of beef and chicken served on sizzling grills will satisfy the most carnivorous urges.
Vegetarians also have several options, among them Gaia Lanchonete Natural (Praça Horácio de Mattos 114, open daily, R$6–12), which is great for invigorating juices, copious sandwiches, and “kit lanches”; highly nutritious box lunches that will give you an energy boost when you’re out on the trail.
The menu at O Beco da Coruja (Rua do Rosário 172, tel. 75/3334-1652, lunch and dinner daily, R$12–18) includes delicious Argentinean tortillas, vegetable tarts, and salads.
Another light option is a crisp and flavorful pizza prepared at Pizza na Pedra (Av. Senhor dos Passos, tel. 75/3334-1475, dinner only, R$15–25). Toppings include Chilean mushrooms, palma (cactus), and semi-sun-dried tomatoes.
Also renowned for Italian specialties is Os Artistas da Massa (Rua da Baderna 49, tel. 75/3334-1886, lunch and dinner daily, R$18–30). The fresh, homemade pastas, gnocchis, and lasagnas are as addictive as the cozy ambiance, with jazz wafting through the air.
More eclectic is Cozinha Aberta (Rua da Baderna 111, tel. 75/3334-1066, 1–10:30 p.m. daily, R$18–30), where an open kitchen allows diners to watch the preparation of colorful dishes that draw on Thai, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
To satisfy more refined cravings, such as hankerings for filet mignon in roquefort sauce with black-eyed beans, head to the recently opened La Pergola (Praça do Rosário 70, tel. 75/3334-1241, noon–4 p.m. and 6–11 p.m. daily, R$20–35), a French restaurant with tables set amidst a beautiful garden.