Satyricon: legendary seafood restaurant still keeps the tide high in Rio de Janeiro

Satyrs, according to a Greek myth were represented as goatlike men who drank and danced in the train of Dionysus and chased the nymphs(source: Collins dictionary). As its name suggests, Satyricon is about having fun and enjoying the pleasures of life, like food and wine. In Satyricon’s instance, the joy comes from seafood and well-crafted wine list.

Mixed seafood platter

Imagine a seafood kingdom. A giant lobster king seated next to a leggy crab queen on an ice throne surrounded by tall and trim langoustine advisors and courtly shrimp entourage.
A tail away dwells a mighty fish commando observing the theatrically elaborate royal order with eyes wide open. Staring bemused while their shiny bodies – as if hypnotised by the crushed ice underneath – remain in an absolute deadly stillness. I chose this melodramatic scene because it illustrates the appealing seafood bar at Satyricon.

Linguini pasta with fish

Served fresh in high-flown as well as basic preparations: raw, sliced, chopped, pounded, cooked, seared, baked in salt crust or pan-fried. Supplied with home-made pasta, risotto, crunchy vegetables or presented simply on their own, the seafood is superb and kept the restaurant afloat since 1983. For trendy Rio, over 30 years in business is a remarkable achievement. No wonder that celebrities like Sting and Madonna dined here.

Seafood bar at Satyricon

To try the most, the Mixed seafood platter is the best starter to share with others. It is large so you better have at least one, but better three or four dining partners helping with the generous serving of various fish tartars – salmon, tuna; even avocado; scallops drizzled with savoury lemon sauce; raw fish carpaccio dressed in herbs and citrus fruits and more. Just ask the waiter for daily suggestions and note your preferences. A glass of dry brazilian sparkling wine or crisp mineral white wine (Chablis style) sets the right mood for the feast Dionysus himself would approve of.
The seafood is mostly from South Atlantic, close to Brazilian coast, yet its final serving has an Italian twist. Mediterranean-style, to my opinion, is the most flattering preparation for the sea creatures, since it elevates their pure natural taste with a minimum of intervention and added flavourings. One of the house specialties is the pargo, a white fish crusted in rock salt and baked.
Anyone can choose the main course from the fish market-like ice bar near the entrance. The by-wide-brazilian-smile-braced waiters explain the taste features of each species to make the choice easier so nobody picks the fish for its lovely blue eyes only.
Multiple courses are advised by the composition of the menu. Three or four, including a dessert, will fill you up just enough. My intermezzo before my main plate of exquisite Grilled Scampi was a plate of linguine pasta with fish and tomato sauce. I got truly captivated by the restaurant’s Italian spirit. There are no words worthy of describing this soft, fresh and succulent al-dente cooked dish. “Grazie, perfettivo!” [Thank you, perfect in Italian].

Grilled scampi

For the fancy crowd there are cuts of sashimi, and house-made maki rolls. Popularity of these japanese snacks has not missed even Brazil. Most of the desserts are fruit-based, but ice-cream and tiramisu are options for the sweet tooth with space left for these seat treats.
Satyricon’s convenient location in the heart of trendy Ipanema, not far from the beach, attracts local socialites and very well-dressed crowd living in the area. A cocktail before lunch or dinner at a small bar right at the entrance is a festive and convivial embarkation to a delightful dining cruise inside the stylish, soft-hued extensive dining room. The wine list reflects the nature of the seafood, but also includes some bolder red wines, for these who either decide for a steak or do not bother complicating their lives with wine and food matching.
Opening Hours: Daily 12noon- midnight
Address: Rua Barão da Torre, 192 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Contact: +(55) 21 2521-0627

Roberta Sudbrack: from president's kitchen to a quiet street in Rio

Roberta Sudbrack is one the most established and lauded chefs in Brazil. She authored a number of culinary books, cooked for the former Brazilian head of state, his international guests and diplomats. Her food had to look representative, and it came naturally that her training is influenced predominantly by French cuisine.
Roasted guinea fowl
Whether it was for the national pride or to differentiate herself from the copious high-ranking European chefs or these adding anything sounding japanese to their menu in a grip with the international culinary trends, Sudbrack is not afraid to use local ingredients.
The result is a haughty, but simple as well as creative cuisine highlighting Brazilian ingredients. Her bistro style restaurant has been noted as one of the finest in Rio de Janeiro.
Corn skin, fig seeds and foie gras amouse-bouche
In a daily changing set menu you can stretch to eight courses, some tiny, some in the size of a whole guinea fowl.
Starting with a quartet of amouse-bouches, the chef’s sense for discovery and doing things her way pops out from a casserole, strikes you with snappy and perhaps awkward titles like in “Raws: sea, dirt, orchard” and surprises with unusual brazilian ingredients like in “Crayfish, canjica, caviar“. Canjica is a white Brazilian corn popularly used in a festive sweet milky corn porridge of the same name.
Raws: sea, dirt, orchard
The weirdest sounding and looking though was the “Corn skin, fig seeds and foie gras“. It did not taste bad, just I am not craving it as I am writing this review. These small apetizers were all nice and creative as was the fourth unusual plate of “White asparagus bouillon on red tuna leaf“, yet they did not blew my palate with sensual and addictive taste profiles. I would not dare calling them boring, just not out of this world if you are used to dining in these kind of restaurants as I do.
Red snapper poached in olive oil
Three main  courses follow the suite. A Mediterranean style Red snapper poached in olive oil was elevated by a high quality pea coloured olive oil in which the fish was bathing itself, but since I live in Mediterranean I was not overwhelmed by the fish itself. Using local pirarucu or other fish found along the stretchy brazilian coast would flatter my palate more.
Quinoa and lentils
I was not in a mood for pork ribs (from the Minas Gerais state) and the chef happily substituted it for Roasted guinea fowl. Nested in my plate, the shiny bird looked like a dish from a Medieval feast. An unlucky choice for the chef, since for this bird to be appealing to me I would need it roasted, stuffed and served with rich side dish and not just a juice. Poor bird, I could not fully appreciate its by high temperature sealed fate.
The kitchen was accommodating my whims coming with a vegetarian option of Quinoa, lentils and shaved sweet potatoes. It was fresh, grainy, but very boring, so I dove half way through and expected next dish to excite my taste buds. This two times improvised course just did not work for me.
Roasted sweet onion, bouillon of jamón and sausage
Then came a plate of Roasted sweet onion, bouillon of jamón and sausage. The bouillon was served from a tea pot, poured in a slow pace over a half cut white onion and chopped red brick hued ham. This was a favourite dish of my partner and had more depth than all the other mains.
Macerated Peach, tea, quinoa praline
A small slice of local cheese with toasted bread followed and left us wondering whether the bread would not be better with a slab of butter. The cheese was rather awkward and assumed an acquired taste.
A light desert of “Macerated Peach, tea, quinoa praline” refreshed our tired palates ready to bite into a trio of sweet pleasures of “Small sweets of Rapadura skin, acidified white chocolate, raspberry and licuri“. It sounded more fun than tasted, but my sugar receptors were stimulated enough.
Red portuguese wine from Dao
Drinks: From more humble portuguese wines to the grande dame of Spanish wines – Vega Sicilia Unico – the selection was focused on spanish speaking wine producing countries. Staring with a bottle of red wine from the DAO region in Portugal we were overwhelmed by its boldness and had to switch into something more elegant and refined. The Vega Sicilia Unico 2006 saved our evening. It was exquisite as always. The only drawback is its price, but our trust in the in-house sommelier vanished after the first supposedly elegant and soft debacle that like a gunpowder blew our taste buds, so we went for a secure bet of the best producer on the list.
The beer list is refreshing and pleases all the football fans coming to Rio for the World Cup with its thirst clinching quality. After shouting all day on the stadium, supporting your team, you might need beer instead of mouth drying wine.
Vega Sicilia Unico 2006
Ambience: Modern, austere and rather soulless. Surprisingly there were only two tables upstairs occupied by diners in the middle of the week, which for most highly rated restaurants is rather unusual. The answer might be the location (near the botanic gardens, far from the beach and many hotels) and the lack of character of the interiors as many cariocas (Rio natives) have told me. On the other hand the ground floor of her two-storey gastro house was full. I would rather require siting there if I came in the future.
Roberta Subdrack interior
For such a reputable gastronomic restaurant it feels perhaps too casual and rather uncomfortable as an ugly air conditioning sticks out of the walls and the windows do not offer much of a view. The fact that Sudbrack cooked for the left-wing president might be the answer to her rather humble decor.
Opening Hours: Closed on Mon, Wed and Fri. The rest of the week open for lunch and dinner (Sat & Sun closing at midnight).
Address: Avenida Lineu de Paula Machado, 916 – Jardim Botânico, RJ, Brazil
Contact: +(55) 21 3874-0139

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google