Eating & drinking

Palmas does not yet have a big variety of restaurants, but the amount of restaurants is increasing rapidly. And to Brazilian standards some are quite good. In Tocantins, as in the other parts of Brazil, we should keep in mind that people go to a restaurant at night to meet friends or to have a break with the family, rather than to look for exquisite and sophisticated food. Read more on www.brasilbar.com.
This said, when you travel in the state of Tocantins, you will get simple food, but it is fresh, healthy, abundant and good.

Click here to visit our Palmas Restaurant Review

Lunch
Brazilians take a simple breakfast, extensive lunch, and have a snack for dinner. But on occasions they go out for a dinner. So most restaurants offer a lunch, only a few offer dinner.
In Palmas and other cities in Tocantins most people go home for lunch, between 12:00 and 14:00. Those who go to a restaurant for lunch, choose for one of the many airconditioned canteens. Almost all lunch restaurants are of the self service type: buffet and grill. And you pay per kilo. Well known lunch canteens are: Portal do Sul, Nelson’s Churrascaria, Dom Virgilio, Muralha Chinesa, and Fogão a lenha. Lunch restaurants that have a more pleasant ambiance are Brasileirinho and Gabriella.
The best lunches are served by two hotels in the center: Victoria Hotel (buffet) and Hotel Pousada dos Girassois (à la carte). These indoor restaurants are air-conditioned.

Dinner
For dinner you have a limited choice of restaurants with a terrace:
For fish lovers we recommend Alquimia and Tabu.
More charming is bar-restaurant Mambuca, although they have the habit to arrange bands that play terribly (this is what customers say, and we agree).
The three famous pizzerias are all located at JK West: Paço de pão, Oasis and Don Vergilio (buffet for lunch and pizza for dinner). A good alternative is Fratelli, at 104 SUL. Brazilians eat pizza for dinner. These pizzas are not Italian style, but American and have lots of cheese. At Oasis and Fratelli you can order a pizza the way you like.
Typical for Palmas are the Espetos (skewers). Each bar, petrol station and each street corner seems to have an ambulant espeto bar. And these espetos go well with the -just as common- Skol beer. Often mentioned to be the best skewer restaurant of town is Odessa, near hotel Italia. They offer delicious side dishes. On Saturdays they serve Feijoada for lunch. Owner of this restaurant has been chef for 12 years in Europe and regularly cooks exquisite dishes for groups on request.
For a pasta you could try Boa Massa, if you are not too demanding about quality. Expect to pay dearly.

Remarks:
. Many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays. On Sunday evening it is crowded at the few restaurants that are opened.
. Indoor smoking is not allowed in Brazil.
. There seems to be no regularity whether the bar or restaurant offers live music and/or has a radio or tv turned on. But wherever you go, there will be music. If you ask the waiter, he will turn the volume down a little.

Areas with restaurants
In the air-conditioned Palmas Shopping you find a variety of snack bars, and it is the ideal location for a quick lunch.
The newly opened Capim Dourado Shopping has a snack floor, but has no working airco yet.

At the Avenida JK East you find many fast food lunch restaurants, and you better avoid them. JK West is the place to have a pizza.
A good place for a quiet dinner, good food and Brasilian wine: hotel Pousada dos Girassois, located westside of the Palace square. No terrace.

On the Avenida Teutonio you find several popular restaurants: Alquimia (dinner with terrace), Tabu (dinner with terrace), Nelson Churrascaria (lunch), Fogão a lenha, and Muralha Chinesa (lunch)

A typical messy street is Avenida Palmas Brasil (between Quadra 604 and 704).  It is 1km of sertões type of bars and restaurants. Extremely popular is the grilled-chicken-bar called Frango Assado.
If you like kibe, then we recommend to go to Salim Shop.
Quadra 204 has two bar-restaurants that are aimed at the upper class of the area. Mercato and Nagay. The upper class will also visit Bistro Adelaide, well hided in Quadra 110.

Typical dish
The indians in the region planted maize, mandioca, peanuts, abobora and sweet potatoes. And they used to hunt and fish. A tipical dish of the Xerente, Apinaye and Kraho indians is called Paparuto, a mix of mandioca with meat, folded in banana leaves, bonded with Buriti ropes and put in the earth with hot stones for a whole night to cook. A banquet for weddings, nominations and season parties. You will not find this meal anymore: a lack of game to catch, and the original types of maize do no longer exist.
But we can enjoy a whole lot of typical dishes of Tocantins:

  • Picadinho or Pinicado (carne do sol cut to pieces, with cassava or pumpkin)
  • Mocotó (caldo de chambari)
  • Chambari (osso buco)
  • Arroz com pequi
  • Galinha caipira
  • Pirão de bacaba
  • Peixe com leite de babaçu
  • Galinhada
  • Buchada (stomach)
  • Sarapatéu (stomach cut to very small pieces)
  • Pamonha
  • Panelada (cow entrails)
  • Paçoca (carne do sol -pound in mortar-, farinha, onions)
  • Farinha de carne seca
  • Vegetables: Chuchu, Abóbora, Chicória, Maxixe
  • Beans: Feijao Trepa-Pau (small brown beans, delicious !), Fava
  • Fish from rivers: Pirarucu, Tambaqui, Surubim, Tucunaré, Pacu, Curimatá. Served grilled, ‘na palha’ (in banana leaves) or ´na telha´ (on a tile).
  • Sweets: Doce de Caju / Mangaba / Buriti

Tip for further reading: www.brazilmax.com (Eat smart in Brazil)
Please feel free to mail us your personal favourite restaurants of Tocantins if you have been there recently.

Bars and icecream parlours
Palmas has about  50 quadras (blocks) and in every block you can have your cold beer at one or two terrace bars.
The best bars of Palmas:
Vila de Palma. This is a large bar at the avenida Teutonio. You may have to pay an entrance fee, but in return you can enjoy live music in a nice ambiance which is mainly in open air.
Mambuca. A bar with a nice panorama, near the cultural center. Choose to sit on the terrace or in the large airconditioned room.
A very popular bar is at the Graciosa beach. Visit also the other beaches: Praia do Prata and Praia dos Arnos.
For a coffee and pie we recommend Galeria Cafe, at the Shopping Center.

Icecream parlours there are plenty. Most of them closed at night. We cannot recommend any, as none of the places we have tested has exceptional great icecream and/or has a nice ambiance to enjoy your refreshment.