On Sunday, we went to an Italian restaurat called Romeu E Julieta in Porto Ferreira. Porto Ferreira is a small town about 20 minutes from Santa Cruz das Palmeiras. The reason for this choice was Jenifer wanted seafood, so her father recommended this place the next town over.
The owners are a married couple who met in Italy. The wife is from Santa Cruz das Palmeiras, the husband was born, raised, and learned to cook in Italy. Portugues is his second language. They moved to Brazil when the economy in Italy went down the toilet about five years ago. They moved close to the wife's hometown and opened this restaurant
Amazing Food in Massive Quantities
The restaurant is a decent size for a place in this area. There were only a couple tables seated (3 total) when we were there because the prices are higher than most place you'd see, and they are only open for lunch on Sunday.
All food is made to order and the seafood is incredibly fresh, so when you order, it may be up to an hour or more before you get your food. This is the type of place you go to have a gathering with family and friends to eat great food. Time cannot be in your vocabulary when you're at Romeu E Julieta. We were there with Jenifer's parents and Zoey, so the five of us chatted and had a number of beers.
Since there weren't too many tables, the wife came out and chatted with us for quite a while. Since she knew Jenifer's father from growing up in the area, we were an extension of the family that day. She had a barrel that her brother makes as a hobby that he builds and char's himself. She takes un-aged cachaça and ages it herself in the restaurant. I had consumed a few cachaça's that were aged in used Scotch whisky barrels prior, but I'll tell you, the fresh barrel makes it much smoother. She even offered to make a caipirinha with the stuff!
What the menu doesn't tell you is how absolutely massive the portions are. Here's an example of the two dishes we ordered, with humans for scale:
The amount we took home fed us again for dinner. Each dish said it was "for 2", when really, you could probably feed at least five. But like I said, everything is incredibly fresh, so the quality was amazing.
Not Service, Family
I was told that service in Brazil is crappy, and that appears to be incorrect. This is one of several places I've been to that provided fantastic service. I think this place under sells it's ability to serve. Yes, some places have crap service, but I would say that a majority of places we've gone to have been attentive and on point with their service. The biggest difference from typical US establishments, is here you need to call the waiter to get what you need, they generally don't bug you very much. They'll stand off to the side of their area and survey it like a hawk, looking for a glance, hand, or anything that looks like you need something. Once they see the sign, they get there quickly.
The hospitality at this place was as good as you can get. After the big lunch and a few digestives, we paid the bill. Tip is included in the bills, so you do not pay any extra gratuity. Remember, the bill is now paid.
The chef started talking us through some of the special alcohols that the Italians are noted for since they were about to close for the day and they were done serving. He walked us through every piece of their collection, and then we began sampling/drinking with the chef:
Since we were very impressed with one of the digestives, we made a comment, and they gave us a bottle to take back with us to the US. Please note, our bill has already been paid. I tried to offer for them to take more for the additional drinks, and the bottle of booze, but they flat refused any additional payments. So we ate, drank, and paid. And then the billing stopped, and we continued eating and drinking with the owners.
After this photo, we said our good bye's and headed home. I even made a comment that with the quality and quantity of food, they could make a killing in San Antonio. He handed us a few cards to take back with us.
Lunch, by the way, took about 3 hours.