It was Rob’s 40th birthday and a great excuse for another much needed date night! We had driven by Carnaval so many times over the past year and agreed that one day we would try it. Well, tonight is the night we try a taste of Brazil! As per the website reviews and the recommendations from friends and family, I made reservations online. This was relatively simple and took maybe 2 minutes to complete. After much antagonizing over what time we should have dinner, I finally decided that 4:30 would be a good time as the comedy show I had purchased tickets for started at 7:00. I should mention that Rob and I are not “night” people. We are usually in bed by 9 pm each night…yes 9 pm. This is what 4 kids will do to you!
Ok, so dinner at 4:30. Awesome. Excited for our night out, we arrived promptly at 4:30 and entered Carnival. Good thing we made reservations because the place was full by 4:45 p.m. We were greeted by a lovely hostess who directed us to our table upstairs on the second floor. Don’t worry, there is an elevator for those who cannot climb stairs due to certain circumstances. The décor was very classy and sophisticated with fresh cut flowers and vibrant stained glass hovering the ceilings. The view from our table was quite pleasant as it overlooked the waterfront walkway and cobblestone road. In the summer this view would be quite breathtaking with the full trees and flowers in bloom. We knew we were in a more “upscale” establishment when we were greeted by our server with our own glass bottle of H20. Usually you need to request a glass of water several times by which time you no longer need the water as you are paying the bill. Another indication we were in a “fancy” restaurant? Freshly pressed cloth napkins folded and placed on our dinner plates. Yes, we notice these little things because it is a luxury and a treat for us to venture out to a restaurant that does not include a kids play structure or the words happy meal on the menu. Our server was knowledgeable and explained the complete process for us as this is not your typical sit down restaurant. First we ordered our cocktails. I tried a Pina Lemenond, a taste of cinnamon with a twist of pineapple. Rob had the Tropical Whiskey, a little stronger with a variety of citrus garnishes. Then we were served fresh baked bread with a delightful spread. This hit the spot as we were both famished. Our server had placed two round “coaster” cards with a red side and a green side on the table. This was unique and something we had not seen before. Basically, we would continue to be served a variety of delicious meats cooked to perfection on a large skewer by men dressed in black with a crimson red scarf. The men in black would continue serving the mouthwatering meat as long as our green side was facing up. When we required a breather from filling our faces, we simply flipped the “coaster” to red. This signaled to the men in black that we were full at the moment and do not tempt us with any more succulent food. The side dishes were amazing with a large variety to sample…did I mention that they were unlimited as well?! Our favorites were the Macaxeira Frita and the Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon. WOW is all I can say. I don’t remember ever having meat actually melt in my mouth. Finally, we finished off dinner with a grilled pineapple slice sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. This is not your typical dessert but it sure hit the spot. It was the perfect dish to satisfy our sweet tooth. Overall we were thrilled with our experience to Carnaval. For us to try and replicate this type of variety and selection at home on our own grill would have cost us a fortune. We would highly recommend trying out Carnaval for your next date night!