Shirley is considered a secret. If one wants to show off on how well he knows the city, he will praise Shirley. It is located in Leme, a beach ... More
Shirley is considered a secret. If one wants to show off on how well he knows the city, he will praise Shirley. It is located in Leme, a beach neighbourhood, and specializes in seafood. They serve wonderful paellas in a bistro-like setting, with wood-covered walls and mirrors. Although the food is Spanish, the desserts are more toward Brazilian: milk pudding, chocolate mousse and fruit. Booking is advisable since it is a small restaurant.
the best octopus I've had in my life--made most lobster seem like canned mussels. It's very down home, almost hole in the wall. The service was happier once we were happy. But the food-- the food was superb, the prices cheap, the evening perfect.
After eating a few mediocre and overpriced meals in Rio, I decided to try the internet for recommendations. Shirley (what a strange name for a Spanish restaurant in Rio) was a very pleasant surprise. Tucked away on a side street in Leme, the north end district of Copacabana, the front of the restaurant is quite un-presupposing. Inside it is small, wood-panelled, and cute, but fairly ordinary. However, when the waiter brings you the free appetizers (a ceviche-like mussel dish and a plate of sardines in tomato sauce, both large portions, olives, and bread) you know you've found something. We ordered a salmon brochette dish, beautifully prepared and presented, and a "fish of the day" prepared in cassarole with a fabulous red-pepper, potato, and vegetable stew-like sauce. Both dishes were world-class. Other diners were eating lobster, or shrimp dishes similarly impressive. The portions are enormous, and the waiter brings your raw fish to the table for your approval before cooking. We also had a Spanish Omelette (my daughter's all time favorite food). It was perfectly prepared and (again) a very large portion.
Prices are reasonable, though with the dollar at an all-time low not cheap (main dishes from 20 to 100 reals)
I'd be surprised if you could find a more pleasant restaurant in Rio!
I heard about Shirley and it was described as "dumpy", a "hole in the wall", etc. While it's a bit small, yes, it's a great little place! We had the couvert (sardines, tomato ssuce, mussels, etc. Excellent start and reasonably priced as courverts go. My wife and I shared the paella (dish for two). We absolutely stuffed ourselves and barely ate about 60% of the dish. Paella consisted of chicken, HUGE prawns!, eggs (nice touch), delicious rice, some other kind of fish and peppers. It was absolutely delicious! Great sangria, too!!
Funny story: they don't accept credit cards and we were about $11R short. We didn't even bring a card to go get more cash. We were embarassed but explained the situation in my broken Portuguese. He said don't worry about it but I promised I would come back with the difference. I couldn't do it that day but I made a special trip out to him the next day and he was pleasantly surprised to see me and I gave him $15R.
Not the most fancy but by far my favorite meal with my wife while in Rio! Fun cute affordable place with large portions, good service and delicious food. Who could ask for more? :-)
After weighing the pros and cons of eating a big seafood buffet vs. visiting a lessor known 'local secret', we opted to try the local secret. It was a fabulously smart decision. We started our meal with the mussel in vinegar. That, coupled with their toasted bread, made for an excellent appetizer. Next we ordered the sole with shrimp and mushroom sauce. It came with a side of the most tender potatoes, and we rounded out our meal with vegetable rice. Lots of peas, carrots, and raisin made the rice incredibly tasty.
We loved our meal and will go back in a heartbeat! Thanks, Eduardo, for recommending this restaurant to us!
Estrella Sanchez came to Brasil from near Vigo, Spain and opened Shirley together with some family members back in 1954. While you won�t find her in the kitchen anymore she still actively participates in the buying, menu planning and day to day operation of Shirley.
Because the same folks at Shirley have been doing business with the fishmongers continuously for over 50 years they believe they get the best deals in terms of price and quality which they pass through to their customers. Upon entering the small dining room Shirley�s patrons can eyeball all the day�s fresh fish, precut into portions for one or two, piled high in the refridgerated display case that lines the narrow entrance and behind which is located the tiny bar. You�re welcome to choose the specific piece you would like to have prepared for you. Waiters hustle back and forth between the display case and the kitchen carrying the orders on silver serving trays stopping only to give diners another opportunity to check out their selctions, to confirm the freshness and/or that it is the same piece requested.
One would be wrong to forego the couvert here. For my money Shirley serves the best couvert in town. Generous portions of sardines in tomato sauce and mussels vinagrete ($R6.80 each) are scooped from large tubs on top of the bar. With the customary sliced baguette and a small carafe of house white (10) these alone could easily make a meal for a light eater. Alternaively, the Spanish style tortilla of egg, potato and onion ($R9.80) can be split for two or even three as an appetizer. I�d recommend the sangria with it. The menu facilitates going further.
As much as I have tried, I have difficulty remembering the Portuguese name for various species of fish. Here the menu is written in three languages so I know that cherne is grouper, besugo/pargo is snapper, linguado is flounder, badejo is bass, bacalao is cod, and haddock escoses is described as a smoked cod imported from Scotland (even I knew truta is trout, salmon is salmon, pulpo is octopus, lula is squid, and that camar�es are prawns).
Half a dozen specials are offered each day often including a simple trout baked in foil with butter and caper sauce (a bargain at $R12.80) as well as more exotic preparations such as bass filet a Baiana, ($R39.80 for 2) which I found tasty, not excessively spiced and surprisingly light for a dish prepared with dende oil. When fish is truly fresh I prefer it simply grilled which they do well here, but the preparation do Shirley is a tempting alternative. They smother any fish of your choice with a mixture of grilled bell peppers, onions, potatoes, and a hard boiled egg all crowned with a humongous prawn (35.80). I�ve only had the paella a la marinera (39.80 for 2) and the huge prawns al Honolulu with pineapple and banana (48.70) once each and while not bad at all my preference is for the fish.
The dining room can accomodate only 50 and when full, as it often is, can be a bit loud. I might suggest you go at an off hour if you prefer quiet. The tiny kitchen doesn�t allow for much in the way of desserts and the wine list is simple. The house white is quite "drinkable." Brahma chopp is served, too. Smoking is not permitted. Credit cards are not accepted. Open for lunch and dinner until 1am all days.
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