Wednesday, September 8, 2010
One of the best Fortaleza restaurants of this type is called Docentes & Decentes (which somewhat enigmatically translates in English as "Academicians & Decent Folks). It has been around for 23 years, and has two branches, one on a major commercial avenue, and the other in neighborhood Varjota, which is Fortaleza's "restaurant mecca".
The all-male waitstaff is very fast and efficient and is kept hopping by the Brazilian habit of ordering additional drinks and dishes throughout the meal. Beer is served in 600 ml (20 oz) bottles, which arrive in thermal covers to keep the beer icy-cold and which are shared by everyone at the table. Docentes & Decentes' customers seem to be of two minds as far as dining goes. There are those who look at the menu, order a complete meal, and leave it at that. They are far outnumbered by those who keep a menu handy at the table, ordering dish by dish as the mood strikes, always to be shared by all the diners at the table. It could be french-fries, pastels, bolinhos and other snack food, or it might be something more hardy, like crabs, a kilo or two of shrimp with garlic, carne de sol, or the house's signature dish - fresh black-eyed peas (feijão verde).
No one would consider Docentes & Decentes a temple of gastronomy - the whole point of the place is to meet friends and family, share drink, food and chat, hear some good music, and have a fun night out. However, the restaurant does put more thought and care into their food than many of its competitors, and there is rarely a dish that disappoints. In many visits, I've never received cold fries, less-than-fresh shrimp, or warm beer - things which can ruin the experience at some other similar restaurants in Fortaleza. The service is friendly and professional. And the prices are fair - it's easy for a group of four or five to spend an evening at Docentes & Decentes, have several dishes of good food, and more than several beers, and end up paying about R$25 (USD $15) per person.
In the next Flavors of Brazil post, I'll include a recipe for feijão verde Docentes & Decentes style.
Docentes & Decentes
Avenida Santos Dumont 6180
Docentes & Decentes
Rua Ana Bilhar 1445