Five years had passed since we'd last dined at Morelia's Amazonia, a Brazilian-styled restaurant, where, for a fixed price, you are brought sizzling cuts of meats on "swords", plus a nice variety of side dishes. We'd tried to go here sooner, but the circumstances were never quite right. This time, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friend, Larry, a devoted carnivore.
When we entered the restaurant, located at Avenida Camelinas 287, I was struck by how it had been so nicely renovated. Larry commented that you get a good first impression by how clean the glass was that partitioned the foyer from the dining rooms. This first impression was true throughout the restaurant.
There are at least two large dining rooms, each freshly painted and hung with casual but tasteful art and posters.
When we were seated at the table of our choice (it was not yet busy when we arrived) we were offered a complimentary cocktail of fruit juices and booze. We decided to pass and had limonada, mineral water and a glass of fair Mexican Cabernet Sauvignon.
Salads: lettuce and tomato, creamy potato salad; a particularly picante salsa, rice, black beans and some unusually good bread came. Next, cups of tasty chicken consommé with won ton or kreplach like dumplings. Unusual, given the setting, but appreciated. The famed bolitas de arroz rice fritters were not present. They are beloved by Ms. Rose of Morelia, who introduced us to Amazonia, but we managed fine without them.
Soon, the first sword bearing waiter came to us with grilled chistorra, a tasty but somewhat salty sausage. This was he beginning of an fairly steady series of attractive and appetizing meat cuts borne on the swords I remember sirloin, arrachera, filete con tocino, picaña, chorizos in the South American style: short, plump, tasty grilled sausages.
Doña Cuevas requested cebollas asadas, which were duly delivered, in their black charred skins. Inside is a moist onion, sweetened by the fire. Add a squirt of lime juice and salt for a treat.
Toward the latter part of the meal, grilled pineapple appeared. It was good, but our only quibble was that instead of grilling it to a nice, caramelized light char as they had in the past, this had only a brief heating, followed by a dusting of cinnamon.
Finally, sated, we had to turn away further offerings of grilled meats. Our main waiter offered us complimentary tapioca pudding. We accepted with restrained but childish glee. It was very nice pudding.
Why tapioca? Probably because tapioca starch is derived from manioc root, a food staple in the real Amazonia.
The bill was $928 pesos for three of us. The "buffet" part was $235 each, the balance coming from beverages and "extras. (Bit of a gap here. Now I'm wondering if here was an included service charge, which we'd overlooked.)
We were pleased with the experience and would return. Maybe not as soon as next week, or next month, but certainly before 5 years had passed.
Service: *****Ambience: ****
Avenida Camelinas 287
Félix Ireta, 58070 Morelia, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico
01 443 315 9797
*For photos, click here.