Paulo Mattos is a wonderful gentleman who made arrangements before our arrival for several days' stay while on tour. He greeted us warmly in the SkyLab Restaurant at dinner and was tremendously helpful. The Skylab is perched atop the hotel and overlooks Copacabana beach and the Southern Atlantic. What a night view! The food was nicely presented and flavorful - mine was Gluten-Free and husband's was with gluten. The staff is not fluent in English but they succeeded in making us both most comfortable. Restaurant cards were perfect to have to make it clear that I needed Gluten-Free.
We ate breakfasts in various rooms with our tour. Staff was available at all meals to answer questions about what foods were celiac safe. Staff understood Gluten-Free content and preparation. Sidinei is the Maitre d' who helped most in Rio Othon Palace's breakfast areas, the main meals for us when traveling. He appeared to be more confident in communicating Gluten-Free information. Others assisted but Sidinei seemed most aware.
Our experiences indicated Rio does not serve cereal like the US does for Gluten-Free [GF] people. Each morning I was served my own special plate from the kitchen with 2 slices of 2 kinds of moist delicious cake and petit fours, attractively arranged. It was too much sugar for me although tasty. Their sweet coconut milk couscous is Gluten-Free, made with tapioca - delicious. Sidinei introduced me to naturally Gluten-Free pao de queijo - a must to try that's very nice and also tapioca based. This is a typical snack found at many places.
Rio Othon Palace offered a variety of milks, soy/soya milk, coffees and teas, fruits, meats, spreads, pastries not Gluten-Free, among other items. If I wanted something from the kitchen, they were prompt and happy to deliver a lovely product. A wonderful experience overall.
At most outside venues, servers did not understand gluten questions or my travel card.
Paulo suggested we try the restaurant Celeiro in Leblon but we didn't get there to try it.
To read more about this trip, visit http://glutenfreeglobetrotter.com/2013/05/20/guest-post-glimpse-of-south-america-part-1/