Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32
Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20050-030, Brazil
We are not sticklers for decor – excellent food can make up for drab surroundings. We are no strangers to scrumptious hole-in-the-wall cafes decorated only by expired calendars and shabby counter-only establishment that serve excellent food. However, sometimes, enjoying good food in luxurious surroundings can be all the more enjoyable. We had heard about a place in Rio that was a must-try as well as a must-see: Confeitaria Colombo. Confeitaria Colombo has been continuously operating in Rio since 1894, and is decked out in all of its fin-de-siècle finery. And we mean really decked out – the back wall is graced by a 20-ft mirror and almost every surface is lined with gilded flourishes, frescos and gold-leaf mirrors. The front of the Confeitaria is especially tantalizing as it displays row upon row of too-good-to-be-true desserts in vintage cases.
We arrived within 20 minutes of opening and were fortunate enough to snag one of the last free tables. Not even the post-Carnaval haze could keep people away. The menu at the Confeitaria had a variety of sweet and savory dishes including some decidedly non-Brazilian offerings – pancakes and waffles. We usually make waffles at home every Sunday, but due to our travels have not had a good waffle since November. Needless to say, we each ordered waffles. We don’t know if it’s because we had been going through waffle withdrawal, or because the waffles were particularly good, but we were very impressed by our picks. L opted for a classic waffle (R$ 14) M went for a waffle with more of a Brazilian twist – Minas cheese and banana, topped with cinnamon and sugar (R$ 18). M was expecting the cheese to be a little heavy on the waffles, but it was balanced nicely by the bananas, and made a great snack unto itself. Well worth a visit, especially given the price, to try this distinctly Brazilian take on a breakfast classic.
However, our trip was not without a hitch. M ran into a conundrum that we have encountered in our international travels previously – ordering a glass of cold milk. To Americans this is not such a weird breakfast request, maybe a little unusual for a grown-up (sorry M), but definitely doable. However asking for a glass of cold milk in Brazil is like asking for a glass of cold pickle juice. L ordered the much more understandable cappuccino while M placed his order for cold milk. The waiter seemed to understand the unorthodox request, however when he arrived with two cappuccinos and a little pitcher of creamer we knew we had run into our old problem again. M tried to re-explain his order, and the 2nd cappuccino was whisked away – only to be replaced by a cup of steaming cream (which M drank). Enjoying our waffles and strange little beverage in such sumptuous settings was exceedingly enjoyable and a very cheap and efficient form of time travel.
3 responses to “Rio de Janeiro: Confeitaria Colombo”
Oh dear. The cold milk issue. 😀
I once went to a corner bakery with my husband, in copacabana, where I ordered some fresh juice concoction (normal request—I think I got fresh orange, beets and carrots, no sugar). And then my husband asked me to request “a banana”. I am Brazilian and explained to my American husband that that was a little weird, but okay. So I asked for the banana and the guy at the counter laughed so hard, and gave us the banana, free of charge. The associates thought that was the funniest thing, and I can’t imagine having to request that in English, or with broken Portuguese, I am sure they would have made a “bananada” (banana smoothie). Silly little things that make up our memories.
Great story! You never know when there’ll be a culture clash, even with the most innocent request. I guess it’s part of the adventure of traveling or living abroad! 🙂