Housed in the elegant neoclassical 1920s Galeria Sul America, designed by the same architect who created the Copacabana Palace Hotel, Uniko screams power lunch. The grand restaurant with soaring high ceilings and a spacious glass enclosed veranda takes up an entire corner of the Rua da Quitanda in the heart of old Rio. Uniko is packed with men in business suits and well-heeled women who work in the surrounding office towers and flock here for outstanding Italian food. However, as a tourist you will have the luxury of lingering over your meal without having to rush back to work.
The appetizer menu offers many delectable choices, such as the grilled octopus with smoked tomatoes and potato croquettes, the steak tartare with a green salad, or the burrata with prosciutto and arugula. (For a light lunch, the amazing breadbasket and two appetizers instead of a main course is a good option). Main courses include a dozen outstanding pasta dishes: a veal ravioli, fresh pasta with mushrooms and Tuscan sausage, or gnocchi with pesto topped with crunchy pine nuts. For fish and meat lovers options include oven-roasted lamb with Parmesan risotto or seared tuna in a lemon sauce. The creamy mil feuilles topped with fresh strawberries is a highlight of the dessert menu.
Uniko also serves a large selection of wines by the glass that perfectly compliment the dishes. After the lunch rush, the veranda is a great spot for a coffee or an afternoon snack. The Wednesday evening Happy Hour offers live jazz and appetizers from 5:30–9pm (no cover charge).