This past Thursday I returned to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in Rio, Manekineko, at Casa Shopping in Barra da Tijuca. I had been to this location once before earlier this year and had been dreaming of returning there ever since. Manekineko has four locations in Rio but the one in Barra is still the best looking one. It's located inside Casa Shopping, a high-end design center, on a cozy indoors/outdoors corner. The courtyard's red lacquer tables are set amidst very tall palm trees and exotic ferns, in a Japanese-meets-the-Tropics style garden. Sheer floor-to-ceiling white curtains shield you from the rest of the mall, making it very intimate and charming. They also have a brand-new adjacent restaurant/bar/club called Gloss, that has a live DJ on the weekends, and is supposed to be very hip & happening with the younger crowd now. One of Manekineko's trademarks are the geisha wigs motifs that decorate all their locations to a very cool effect. Another thing that caught my eyes was their sexy men's room decor, with a topless Carla Bruni-looking model standing above the urinals. Inside the private stalls there is another naked beauty stamped on the inside of the door.
This place gets my vote for excellent service, that is a rare thing in Rio, and for it's delicious food.