Housed in a lovely old mansion, the down-to-earth,
Peixaria Piracatú (Av. Mendonça Furtado 174, Prainha, tel. 93/3523-5110, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. daily, R$12–22) is one of the best places in town to savor Amazonian fish. Whet your appetite with a portion of crunchy bolinhos de piracuí or a kebab of smoked pirarucu before feasting upon specialties such as caldeirada de tambaqui or surubim cooked with fresh corn. The most popular dish is pirarucu à Juarez Simões, in which the river’s largest fish is gratinéed with cheese and banana and served with mashed potatoes. For a happy ending to your meal, choose between the equally irresistible cremes made from cupuaçu and graviola.
O Mascote (Praça do Pescador 10, tel. 93/3523-2827, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.–midnight daily, R$10–20) combines a scenic waterfront location with reasonably priced and expertly prepared local dishes. At lunch, you can stuff yourself on an all-you-can-eat buffet, while dinner features specialties such as tucunaré in shrimp sauce and caldeirada de peixe, a stew featuring the daily catch. At night, O Mascote is a popular gathering spot, particularly on weekends when live music is performed.
Surprisingly, one of Santarém ’s best loved restaurants doesn’t serve fish at all. The specialty at Mutunuy 2 (Travessa Muriano Meira, 1680-B, tel. 93/3522-7909, R$7–15) is buttery, charcoal-roasted chicken served with rice, manioc flour, and potato salad. Simple, but lip-smackingly delicious.