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Food & Drink

Best Brazilian Restaurant 

Canto do Brasil

Wannabe Cariocas yearning for the motherland will find Canto do Brasil a languid, sultry pleasure. The welcome is as warm as an evening in Rio: Bossa nova shimmers from the stereo like waves lapping Ipanema; the house caipirinha is as sweet and potent as a midnight samba; and the bright, lusty aromas of Brazilian cuisine mingle in the air. The country's best food is from the African-influenced region of Bahia, and Canto's bobé de camarão -- prawns with coconut milk, peppers, and yucca -- is divine. Other specialties include chicken marinated in black beer and herbs and the Brazilian national dish, feijoada completa, a long-simmered stew of smoked and fresh meats with black beans, rice, and farofa. The tiny setting is vibrant with deep Atlantic blues, potted palms, and evocative folk art, and did we mention the caipirinhas? They're composed of a couple of chopped limes mashed together with sugar, ice, and a slug of cachaça, a sugar-cane spirit that is to rum as tequila is to tap water, and after one or two you'll be flying down to Rio without leaving Hayes Valley. (The Aquarela dance troupe performs every Friday and Saturday night, further evoking the torrid tropical spirit.)

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