Alex Atala

The name of Atala's restaurant D.O.M. stands for "Dominus, Optimus, Maximus" and is a tribute to the cuisine of Benedictine monks. Huh? We didn't know what that tasted like either. But that's the thrill of this new dining room in Jardins. Atala, who has a popular cooking show on Brazilian TV, makes brilliant use of native food—say, hearts of palm (thrown into a fettuccine carbonara), tapioca (used to marinate oysters), and black beans (served with codfish brandade). Tropical fruit also grabs the spotlight, as in a papaya-mango salsa that will forever alter your notion of salsa. Dinner, $200. At 549 Rua Barão de Capanema; 55-11/3088-0761;