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“Better than expected”
Review of Leite

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Ranked #3 of 5,358 Restaurants in Recife
Certificate of Excellence
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Santo Antonio
Reviewed 3 January 2014 via mobile

I am an American that is married to a Brazilian from Recife and we have been coming to Recife regularly for the past 17 years. We always avoided Leite because we heard it was over-priced and simple food, but was finally able to give it a try. The ambiance was "business formal", with tuxedoed waiters and a grand piano playing in the background. It is close to the governmental offices of Recife and as such is good for a political power lunch - not good for kids. Anyway - service was formal, friendly and attentive. They had English menus, which was a bit of a red flag, but it was not touristy at all. I don't really have a history with Portuguese food outside of Brazil so my frame of reference may be off, but I can tell you that I found the food to be delicious - so much so that I paid full price to bring an entree home for my wife to try (I went with local friends). All three of us ordered something called "Sea Lovers", which is almost like a seafood-based jambalaya (not spicy). It was really good - it includes octopus, which was incredibly tender (perhaps the softest I have ever tried). We shared a bottle from the wine list which was small but sufficient. I had the passion fruit crepe, which was good but had a bit too much passion fruit sauce (would be better if drizzled instead of covered). The waiters were friendly and spoke a little English as well (rare in Recife). Expensive overall but relaxing with good food. I would definitely go back.

3  Thank Adam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (1,242)
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27 - 31 of 1,242 reviews

Reviewed 12 December 2013

This restaurant was founded in 1882 by Aramando Manoel Leite de Fraca, hence its name. It may, therefore, justifiably claim to be the oldest restaurant in Recife. Situated in the heart of the old city, and facing the Praca Joaquim Nabuco, it has retained a wonderful Belle Époque atmosphere. The heart of Leite is its kitchen where, using the best ingredients, are prepared many of the traditional dishes of the North East of Brazil. In notable contrast to the heat and constant agitation of the city this restaurant possesses a charming, refreshing and tranquil environment. The food is excellent, the service both attentive and unobtrusive and musical delights accompany your meal, played by Leite’s resident pianist on, of course, a grand piano. In summary ......... when you cross the threshold of Leite you enter another world.
My wife and I have eaten at Leite for nearly 20 years, we have never been disappointed.

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1  Thank Ian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

This restaurant is within walking distance of the Casa da Cultura. So if you arrive in Recife on a cruise, this is where the shuttle buses will drop you off. The restaurant (established in 1882 and claimed to be the oldest restaurant in South America) is in a historic old mansion with stylish decor and with a piano played in one corner, creating an elegant ambience. The tables are set with crisp white linen tablecloths and napkins. The waiters are very smartly dressed in white jackets.

The waiters are very attentive and helpful and some can speak English. The menus are also available in English. Compared to other restaurants, this is on the pricier side, but with excellent quality.

2 of us came here for lunch on a Monday. We had reserved, but there were quite a few tables available without reserved signs. It may depend on the day of the week?

Couverts are brought as standard - bread, pates, olives, etc (R$8.80 each person). We had aperitifs of caipirinhas and gin/tonic.

For appetisers, one ordered the bolinhos de bacalhau (R$6.20 each), which were very good and substantial. The other chose salada de camarao (shrimp salad R$59), which was very substantial and was probably adequate for 2 to share (we had forgotten about the large portion sizes in Brazil).

For mains one chose the grouper fillet served au gratin with mashed potato (R$65) - delicious but again a very large portion. The other chose camarao com ervas (shrimp with herbs R$59) - again very good but a large amount. I have to say that all the shrimp in the dishes were very fresh and firm.

They offer a good selection of Brazilian and imported wines, among them some excellent Argentinian wines.

As mentioned by some other reviewers, be careful leaving and entering the restaurant as the street outside is busy and there is a bus station across the road. As generally in Brazil be aware of pickpockets, etc.

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2  Thank mw741002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2013

Leite, being Brazil's oldest restaurant, and thus Portuguese, lives up to its grandeur in terms of service and cuisine. Naturally, elegance (for Brazil standards) comes with a price. I had the traditional Portuguese bacalhau, my wife the balcalhau cakes, large salad, traditional Portuguese desert pastries, and the "recipe protected by law" fried banana cheese desert. Waiters were tuxedo and bow ties. Well worth the recommendation.

We're were recommended to Leite by the 3rd generation jeweler of Aguamarina, Leon Abramof, in the Casa da Cultura around the block sent us as where he eats. Then we find out Leite is listed as #1 on TripAdvisor. So locals trust it as well.

BTW my wife bought exquisitely made jewelry of Brazilian precious stones from Leon for way below US prices. We know places to buy unfixed stones direct from the cutters but his polishing and setting - well done. So eat at Leite then go visit Leon, or visa versa as we did.

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1  Thank WilliamByrnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2013

Only open for lunch. This is a special place. The food is divine. Try to start with " bolinho de bacalhau" follow with the octopus to spain mode blecause it is wonderful or taste some kind of beef. In the end with the cartola - típical pernambucan desert.
If You leonino for tradition and special restaurant in the center after to Casa da Cultura and Sinagoge visitation this is the right place.

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2  Thank Viajantte E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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