While in South America we had a look at the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants and realised that I was super close to visiting the top 10. We only had to go to Mani and A Casa do Porco and I would have been to all 10 of them. So off to Mani it was.

We arrived and were quickly welcomed in the decor was cool! The service was a little haphazard and the atmosphere more like your local cafe than a World 50 Best. This was Latin America’s list and some of your local cafes can be amazing so we weren’t too put off. They had a special lunch menu which is what we opted for.

The bread course was extra and we decided to get it. It came with bread from Padoca do Maní (Maní Bakery), tapioca starch chips, cheese curd with sweet smoked paprika, goat cheese with pink peppercorns and butter. It was OK but nothing to write home about so I won’t.

Our menu came with a surprise from the kitchen which was the Cashew fruit ceviche with cachaça and cajuína slush (traditional Brazilian non-alcoholic beverage made from cashew juice). I really liked this one and it was a clever take on ceviche. Fiancee wasn’t a fan.

For our first chosen course Fiancee had the Squid udon with sugar pea, black garlic, rice crunchy and jamón broth. This was probably his favourite course.

I had the Maní Egg cooked at 63°C (145°F) for one hour and a half sided by pupunha palm froth. This was OK but felt like it was missing some flavour and texture.

For our mains, we shared and had the Chargrilled tenderloin with Spanish jamón sauce, potato terrine and arugula salad again this was nice but not wow. The terrine was a little overdone in my opinion however still had a nice flavour.

We also had the Female pork with squash with green apple purée, chicory, corn farofa and pork cracklings. Again, a nice dish but not the standard we’ve become accustomed to. Mani is number 9. on the Latin America Top 50 after all.

Our desserts were The Egg, eggnog ice cream, coconut froth and mini crunchy coconuts, clever presentation, however, lacking in depth. And the Chocolate pie with pear sorbet, not at all what I was expecting and a little dissapointing.

Overall Mani was a nice lunch out, something you’d expect from your local cafe, not something you’d expect from the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants. Especially when you have Don Julio sitting behind them at number 13!

How we rank the Latin America Restaurants:

  1. D.O.M
  2. Quintonil
  3. Tegui
  4. Maido
  5. Central
  6. Don Julio
  7. Borago
  8. Astrid y Gaston
  9. Mani
  10. Pujol

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