This is meant to be the best Bahian seafood restaurant (Yemanje is the sea goddess) but I was slightly dissapointed. The acaraje were the heaviest I ever had in Bahia and the king prawn moqueca was good but nothing exceptional. Bit touristy...
Famous for its traditional and delicious Bahian cuisine... Charming decor (A lovely mural of the sea decorates the back wall; the side wall features broken china pieces set in stone for unique effect), servers in typical Bahian dress of white dresses and headresses and a lively and bustling atmosphere, located along the beach.
Be sure to peruse the dessert cart overflowing with delectable Bahian desserts of coconut and such.
Favorite Dish: We began with Acarajé... fried cakes of beands, onions, dende oil and shrimp with a typical pureed yuca-type sauce.
Tim and I shared scrumptuous moqueca de pitu, a sweet-tasting freshwater prawn in the traditional coconut, garlic, onion, parsley, pepper and tomato stew.
Then, for dessert Ninon convinced me to try this dessert of sweet curtled milk, not as bad as it sounds! :-)
Yemanja is the best known, and most stagey of the Bahiana restaurants. The food is traditional Bahiana food, derived from African traditions, with some colonial Brasilian thrown in. Rich in Dende (local palm oil), coconut milk, shrimp, and manioc (yucca)flour (farinha or farofa).
Yemanja is an important figure in the Candomble religion, which can be likened to the Afro-Brasilian version of Catholocism. The africans brought to Brasil to work as slaves were allowed to retain some of their culture, including their religious practices, which were melded together with the Catholocism of their keepers. Yemanja is the goddess of salt water and giver of life, and was therefore seen as a parallel to the Virgin Mary. There are many other african gods that share personna with Christian religions figures.
The restaurant is in a one story building along the waterfront north of the Pituba area, between Salvador Proper and Itapua. The decorations inside are typical, as are the costumes of the staff. The Bahianas wear the typical full skirts with the typical head wrap of white cloth from the colonial period.
Favorite Dish: Bahiana food is a joy that must be experienced first hand. I usually order a shrimp moqueca, which is a kind of shrimp stew served on rice. This is one rich dish, as are all of the offerings, but do not worry, there is no such thing as worry in Bahia. I also like a well made vatapa and pirao, as these each have their own characteristics. Best to try them for yourself. Bahiana food is best eaten in Bahia, as it loses some of the appeal when transported to Rio de Janeiro, or to the far northeast.
A pleasant and familiar restaurant in front of the beach.
Favorite Dish: Don't miss the "muqueca de peixe", it's unforgetable!!