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Rio Italiano

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Part of Rogério Fasano's sprawling restaurant and hotel empire, Gero Rio has been the power dining room since it opened four years ago. This haute trattoria is simply decorated, with exposed brick and black-and-white photos of the city (along with a still of Pacino and Brando in The Godfather—Fasano is obsessed with the movie). The 44-year-old chef, Salvatore Loi, imports most of his ingredients—five different types of flours, several varieties of cheeses, and olive oil by the tankerful—from Italy. "It's very important that we have an authentic Italian feel," says Loi, a Sardinian who has lived in Brazil for the past seven years. Tip-off: The fresh duck ravioli in orange sauce is superb, as is the baccala alla romana, which here translates as dried cod with raisins and pine nuts in a light tomato sauce. Dinner, $185. At 157 Rua Aníbal de Mendonça; 55-21/2239-8158.

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