A Casa do Porco. The #1 restaurant in Brazil. The #4 in Latin America and the #7 restaurant in the world (2022). The name, Casa Do Porco, translates to House of the Pig and they specialize in Pork.
We ordered their tasting menu with cocktail pairings and two signature items from their a la carte menu. The tasting menu would have been sufficient but these signature dishes were the talk of Internet forums and could not be missed (their pork sushi and crispy pancetta bites). But let’s rewind.
We came straight from the airport and arrived when they opened at noon. We did this because Google reviews claimed wait times of 4–8 hours! We were greeted by the host and put our names down on a waitlist. We headed off to a cafe while we waited. Two redeeming things were: (1) we worked on our laptops and drank coffee while we waited and (2) Casa Do Porco sent us a link with a countdown timer, so we could see our status in line. We started in position ten on the list and that number started going down. At five we got a notification that our table was ready—ahead of schedule! We arrived at their entrance with massive roller bags which they kindly put in a corner of the restaurant. So let’s start with the food and drinks.
The first drink tasted fruity and reminded me of an egg yolk in a glass. When the outer layer broke the inside gushed open with liquid inside. This drink was paired with bite-sized pork snacks ranging from a mini arepa filled with pork to a pork sausage on a pita. The signature Pancetta dish came after, served in a ceramic pig’s head. In an act of showmanship, the waiter opened the mouth of the pig to reveal the dish. Crispy, tender and flavourful with their signature guava jam on top. Then came the Mai Tais…
Let’s sidebar for one moment: when we first arrived at the restaurant, we didn’t know what to expect from this #7 in-the-world restaurant. The neighbourhood was a little rough. I say this because as we walked along the sidewalk a drugged-out man lay across it and stared blankly up at us. We walked onto the road to avoid disturbing him. The restaurant was beautiful inside but it kept with the neighbourhood’s casual and cool vibe. The design was eclectic and eccentric with plants everywhere and bottles hanging from the ceiling with flowers inside them. I love this style atmosphere, but it’s not the typical makings of a top-world restaurant, which tends to be slightly formal and dare I say, pretentious. Let’s just say, I’d step over a few drugged-out people again to dine here and drink their mai tais.
Served with the mai tais was pork tartar—the first time I’ve eaten raw pork—and pureed cornmeal wrapped in a banana leaf that we had to unwrap. Mojitos came next. Well-crafted. What was great about these drinks is that they came in half-sized glasses that made you think you were drinking small shots of sake and not downing full-size, high-proof cocktails. The Mojitos were made with mint and rosemary and tasted smooth. They were accompanied by a rustic piece of wood with more bite-sized pork snacks. True to reviews online the food didn’t come piping hot but was lukewarm, almost cold. This was unusual (and not exactly a benefit), but the flavours, texture, presentation, service and alcohol pairings redeemed this shortcoming and made our dining experience sensational.
Let’s skip past the pork sushi (damn it was good), pisco sours, shrimp ceviche, pork filet, bone broth and their Chicha Morada cocktail (similar to a chilled mulled wine) and talk about my favourite drink and their main pork dish.
Favourite drink: michelada. Traditionally, just beer and tomato juice. But Caso do Porco knew what they were doing: homemade ipa, pork meat juice, lemon and chile sauce. Damn. I asked them how they made their tomato juice for it and they stared at me blankly. Apparently, it was the chile sauce and pork juice that replaced the savoury flavour in the drink and brought it all together. Highly recommend this drink for people with experimental natures!
Main pork dish: The last dish before dessert was pork covered in pork au jus with four sides: powdered onion, watermelon salad, beans and Brazilian cabbage. The pork was great—similar to the pancetta—with crispy skin and full-bodied flavour. The drink pairing was Brazil’s famed Caipirinha—similar to a daiquiri but with cachaca instead of rum. This course was served on small sharing plates, so it was dynamic as well as delicious.
To make this dining experience even better, they put on the England-Senegal World Cup game. We ate while we watched high-stakes football in the background. They brought us over their “Licor da casa” which tasted like crème brûlée as we ate caramel and cream desserts. Coffee came soon after with sweet bite-size snacks. England was still kicking ass on the pitch, so despite our best intentions to be reserved, we ordered more drinks—a Manhattan for me. Great meal and game as England walked away with a win.
Overall, my experience at Casa Do Porco was unparalleled. Amazing pork dishes with incredible and experimental cocktails. It’s worth the wait, especially if you like pork, well-made drinks and a dynamic dining experience.