Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

The coolest, most beautiful young cariocas spend their nights at Hipódromo – as well as its equally famous neighbor, Braseiro da Gávea – drinking, eating and flirting. But there’s much more to Hipódromo than meets the eye; the food is excellent, the service outstanding. In fact, the bar’s biggest draw may well be Antônio Lacerda, the most famous bar waiter in town.

Like all good waiters, Lacerda is a gentleman and provides kind, attentive, competent service. But for many, he’s also a friend, sometimes even a confidant. It’s very common to see Lacerda seated at a table brightly chatting with some customers, all the while keeping an eye on the dining room. He might be recounting tales of Paraíba, where he comes from in the northeast, or he might be offering advice or even consoling a broken heart. We will never forget the day we went there – not with a broken heart, but with a broken arm – and Lacerda (whom we’ve known for more than 20 years) gently offered to cut our steak.

Not by coincidence, in recent years Lacerda has been invited to make cameos in soap operas and movies and was elected best waiter in town several times. We’ve heard tell that he’s received generous offers to work in other bars that he has refused. He denies these stories, but there’s no denying the fact that he has reached his 35th year working at Hipódromo. He plans to retire soon at the age of 60 and go back to Paraíba.

We come to Hipódromo for Lacerda, but we stay for the food. The bar specializes in steaks and pizzas, with such gems as the Filé Osvaldo Aranha, named after a famous Brazilian politician from the 1940s, which comes with fried garlic, Portuguese potatoes and broccoli rice, and the spectacular Pizza de Catupiry Legítimo, a pie topped with Brazilian cream cheese. It’s a flavor bomb and also an effective way to buffer oneself against the effects of a night of drinking.

  • PulqueApril 7, 2017 Pulque (0)
    Milky, tart, viscous and slightly foamy. At first glance and sip, there’s little to […] Posted in Mexico City
  • Behind BarsAugust 26, 2016 Behind Bars (0)
    Urfa's old city is an invigorating array of tones and sounds. Dominated by an intriguing […] Posted in Istanbul
  • August 10, 2016 Café Lamas (0)
    From the street, Café Lamas looks almost intentionally nondescript. A fluorescent-lit […] Posted in Rio
Vinicius Camiza

Published on March 12, 2015

Related stories

Sample the city's best pulque on our culinary walk.
April 7, 2017

Pulque: A Strange Brew's Revival

Mexico City | By Ben Herrera
Mexico CityMilky, tart, viscous and slightly foamy. At first glance and sip, there’s little to explain why pulque – a mildly alcoholic drink made by fermenting the fresh sap of certain types of maguey, the same plant used for making mezcal – has remained a trusted companion to Mexican drinkers since Aztec times. Pulque, actually, has…
August 10, 2016

Café Lamas: Classic Meals, with a Side of History

Rio | By Taylor Barnes
RioFrom the street, Café Lamas looks almost intentionally nondescript. A fluorescent-lit bar with a glass case of snacks and a few metal chairs would make it identical to any other lanchonete (snack bar) across the city, if it weren’t for the shadowy doorway behind the bar’s aisle. Behind that door awaits a blast from the…
Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar
EUR Euro