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street food botafogo

When we first entered Titú, a new spot in the trendy Botafogo neighborhood, our mind immediately went to SpongeBob SquarePants, oddly enough, or more specifically, the Krusty Krab, the diner where SpongeBob works as a fry cook.

Like the Krusty Krab, this recently opened bar specializes in seafood burgers – when we popped our head into kitchen, we saw a mountain of patties awaiting the grill. The only difference between Krusty and Titú – besides the fact that latter is real and the former is merely a fantasy under the sea – is that at Titú the burgers are not made of crab, but of octopus. Delicious and tender baby octopuses, captured in the waters off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

street food botafogo

Actually, almost everything on Titú’s menu is made of octopus. The 250-gram burger is the golden option, but there are also octopus ceviches, marinated octopus, octopus rice and even a coxinha (or fritter, one of the most popular bar appetizers in Brazil) filled with octopus instead of the traditional chicken leg meat. The only dishes sans octopus are the English-style fish and chips, the pork leg sandwich and vegan Hawaiian poke made with mushrooms. In short, it’s a paradise for anyone who loves octopus. Even better, everything is very reasonably priced: nothing costs more than US$18.

It’s not so different from your neighbor’s backyard, really.

Titú calls itself an “urban seafood” bar. The urban descriptor comes from the street-vibe that permeates the place: the walls are covered with graffiti, the floor is made of raw cement, and the open kitchen is built inside an old shipping container. The ceiling is nothing more than a tent (so be warned that visiting on a rainy day can be a little too adventurous), the chairs and tables are simple plastic beach furniture and there are no waiters. It’s not so different from your neighbor’s backyard, really, except for the three cooks in the kitchen masterfully preparing octopus specialties.

The idea for Titú came from two old friends, Pedro Henrique and Bruno Menezes, who wanted to counteract the economic gloom that has enveloped Rio as of late. Building on their passion for street food, the duo opened the bar in early 2018, albeit in the cheapest way possible (on account of that economic crisis).

street food botafogo“For ages we’ve talked about opening a street food bar,” says Bruno. “When we found this space in front of an old warehouse, we thought it was the perfect spot for an outdoor bar with a totally relaxed vibe.”

All of Titú is constructed using temporary structures – even the bathrooms are built inside shipping containers. “That’s the spirit of street food we always dreamed of,” Bruno explains, referring to the bar’s unfussy design. As for the food itself, he reveals that he discovered the octopus burger recipe while traveling in Croatia.

The simplicity also extends to Titú’s drinks menu. Created by Milina Lopes, the cool carioca bartender, all the options are imaginative and cheaper takes on classic drinks, like the Mosca Humilde (which roughly translates to “humble fly” in Portuguese), a unique version of the traditional Moscow Mule that keeps the vodka and lime juice but replaces the spicy ginger beer with a homemade ginger foam.

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Titú

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Titú -22.950931, -43.187577 (Directions)
 
Titú
Address: Rua Dezenove de Fevereiro, 42, Botafogo
Telephone: +55 21 97694-0098
Web: www.facebook.com/titurio
Hours: Tues.-Sat. noon-midnight; Sun. 2-7pm; closed Monday
Juarez Becoza and Courtesy of Titú

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