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1 Michelin Star in Brazil is not the same as in Europe: Restaurant Olympe (4. February 2016)

| April 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

Since one year, Brazil has Michelin-starred restaurants and the Olympe is one of six 1-star Michelin restaurants. When I booked I was not even aware of the star as the place had been recommended to me by friends. To be completely honest, it did not entirely match my expectations though. Although I was promised during the meal to receive the menu later via email and although I have followed-up five times, I never got a reply. Way to go!

However, given I was at the best restaurant in Rio (according to my friends), I decided to try the “Wine Paired Tasting Menu (our tasting menu with pairings by our sommeliers Alexsander de Oliveira e Haroldo Nunes)” (625 BRL).

The little greeting from the kitchen – “suckling pig with foie gras” – was already a good start as the little appetizer was perfect to actually awaken your palate for the evening.


The first course “Octopus” looked absolutely promising – but did not live up to my expectations. The octopus was aromatic but definitely overcooked as it was too hard. The vegetables on the other hand were actually quite lovely. The “WINE” which was served with it, fit quite well.


The second course was a “soup” where I especially liked the egg yolk in it. However, I must admit that it was nothing really spectacular to me.


My optical highlight was the third course of the evening – however, again, it did not really go beyond the optical highlight.


The “cabbage” with “sauce” was interesting to some degree but overall again nothing mind-blowing. At this stage I started wondering how the Olympe got its star. I mean, get me right, the food is absolutely okay, even above average, but definitely not comparable to any “Michelin-starred” place I have eaten at so far.


“Mushrooms only” is what you could call the fifth course. And while interesting as an idea I only partially liked the execution. The big shitake mushroom was delicious, slightly sweet. However, the small cubes were pickled in vinegar and while this is quite nice in combination with the sweet big mushroom, they were incredibly much tasting like vinegar that it was quite a bit unpleasant!


The meat course was okay as the meat was tasty. Again, nothing mind-blowing but the grill flavours were lovely and the meat quality good. However, the pickled cauliflower was – again – tasting too much like vinegar.


The dessert looked cute. However, the little piece of bread was basically soaked in oil, respectively butter making it unpleasant in taste. The ice cream did help to compensate for that but it was definitely not a dessert to my liking.


At least the friandises which were served with the “double espresso” (15.60 BRL) were great. Frankly, to sum it up with regards to the dishes – not a 1-star Michelin restaurant for me. And that continues throughout the whole evening. If you are a Michelin-starred restaurant I kind of expect that your personnel is able to speak English – which about only 10% was able. Secondly, if you have a tasting menu and we get the soup served twice and while you serve it we try to tell you but you “Shhh!” us, then this is definitely not Michelin-starred service!


The atmosphere is lovely, the Caipirinha (24 BRL) is good, and the charge for water (6.50 BRL) per person while not actually counting the bottles is all fine. But asking for a cover charge of 22 BRL if you serve a menu for 625 BRL per person is somehow inappropriate. It is not really about the 22 BRL (~5.00 CHF) but when I eat for approximately CHF 150.00, then I kind of expect bread to be included or that the cover charge includes a bit more than bread and butter.

Although this place has been ranked with one Michelin star in April 2015, I really don’t see how. The ideas of the dishes are fine but they really did not persuade me. When it comes to the wine pairing I liked the idea of the beer, the sherry, some white whines and a red finished by a dessert wine. However, offering two Chardonnays after one another does not really seem like the best fit – especially as most of the wines lack body and are, therefore, rather “flat”.

There are five other 1-Michelin-starred restaurants in Rio – if I am in Rio again, I will definitely give them a try and won’t visit the Olympe again.


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Overall Rating:

Contact Details:

Restaurant Olympe

R. Custódio Serrão 62


22470-230 Rio de Janeiro (BR)

Tel.: +55 21 25 37 85 82

E-Mail: rh@olympe.com.br

Homepage: http://olympe.com.br

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
1'685.26 BRL (incl. tip) Filed in: Restaurants, Rio de Janeiro (BR)

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