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f you don’t have a dinner reservation before arriving at Rio de Janeiro’s hottest restaurant, the ultra-hip Sushi Leblon restaurant, prepare to wait for some time and receive treatment you would expect for a velvet roped nightclub. If you’re lucky, you may be quickly ushered into the wraparound bar in the center of the restaurant where you can sip well-crafted cocktails and fine wines in style. First opened by Brazilian pro surfer Pedro Paulo Guise Carneiro Lopes (nicknamed Pepe) in 1986, the restaurant is now run by his wife and is still as popular as when it first opened. The mostly young clientele hails from Brazil’s lofty upper echelons, where don’t be surprised if you see paparazzi waiting outside in the hope of seeing a famous face or two. Although this is a sushi restaurant at heart, Sushi Leblon’s menu nonetheless offers a lengthy selection of delicious Japanese dishes such as yakisoba and tempura, to gyoza and spring rolls. However, the specialty sushi rolls are the main draw, offering a feast of sophisticated flavours such as fatty tuna with foie gras, or the plentiful Tirashi bowls of rice topped with an assortment of fine tranches of the finest fresh sashimi. A celebrity or two have been known to pop into this chic bento box-style restaurant for what is widely considered the best sushi in Rio de Janeiro.
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