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Espirito Santa proves there's no great secret to success -- a cute restaurant, a great patio looking out over Santa Teresa, and excellent and inventive Brazilian cuisine. Chef Natacha Fink hails from the Amazon, and it shows in her menu. The signature starter is the tambaqui "ribs" -- made of tambaqui (a popular Amazonian fish) lightly breaded and served with a pesto of jambu herbs. The mujica de piranha (piranha soup) is thick and tasty. For salads, there's one with toasted Brazil nuts and a passion-fruit vinaigrette. The classic fish dish is a grilled namorado with a cashew crust, served on a bed of grilled fresh palm heart. Meat lovers should try the bacuri steak, grilled filet mignon served with a bacuri (Amazonian fruit) sauce and mashed sweet potatoes. Or try grilled filet of duck in açai sauce. For dessert, there's warm gâteau filled with guava cream and cheese, or ice cream of cupuaçu.
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