1256 St Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6E 1B9, Canada
Before Rio 40 was the popular eatery it is today, owner Jana Duarte waited tables at this exact location until she got the opportunity to make it her own. Now named after her beloved hometown of Rio De Janiero, Jana knew a place serving her native food would fit right in with the diverse city of Toronto. And after trying the food, I can affirm it is fitting right in—in my belly, that is! Although the furnishings aren’t particularly amazing, the incredible images showcasing the landscape and people of Rio adorning the walls are the real focus of the decor, and they are striking.
I started off my meal with a green salad accompanied by red onions, tomatoes, and hearts of palm that was simply refreshing. Of course, I had to sample Rio 40's version of the popular Brazilian caipirihna, which I can confirm was a perfect balance of rum, sugar, and lime. I ordered the Moqueca de Piexe (a tomato, onion, pepper and coconut milk based seafood stew) which was served with rice and yucca flour puree ($17) and was super tasty and fun to eat. Although I was already satisfied I had to try their Rio 40 degrees pizza ($16), named after the spot, that is prepared like a regular pizza except it has corn, chicken, hearts of palm, and a popular Brazilian cheese Catupiry. The pizza was flavorful and all the ingredients worked well together, but it was kind of odd for this NY girl to try pizza that was such a departure from what I'm used too. Lastly, I was convinced to sample the caramel pudding ($4), and I’m very happy I allowed myself to be persuaded. The creamy texture was comforting yet light and it was the perfect end to the meal.