A long long time ago, don Arante Monteiro and his wife opened a grocery store for the fishermen of the village. On the 1960s the store was moved to its current location, right by the beach. As the number of visitors to the area increased, dona Osmarina Maria Monteiro – Arante’s wide – began preparing fried fish, and the store became a restaurant.
Come the 70s, Pântano do Sul became fashionable among backpackers from São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. To let their friends know they had already arrived to the village and were camping nearby, the backpackers began sticking notes on the walls of the bar. The practice of sticking a note became so popular than soon the walls of the bar were covered with notes. These days, you will struggle hard to find an empty space where you can stick your note. More than 70,000 of them have been counted, and even a book has been written on the topic.
From the moment you enter the restaurant, it is hard not to be impressed by the verbal diarrhoea exhibited by thousands of tourists that once made a pit stop at the bar. There are notes everywhere, but you will always find a willing waiter or waitress with a pen and a paper should you want to attempt finding a place for your own piece of writing.
Even if it’s only for a beer, do pop in, you will have a fabulous time, your eyes jumping from one note to another, while taking a break occassionaly to contemplate the beautiful view of the Pântano do Sul bay through the windows of the bar.
From its early days, the bar always presented its customers with a glass of cachaça (sugarcane spirit); the tradition goes on.
As we had just arrived in Florianópolis, we wanted to have a go at our first traditional seqüência de camarão, the contents of which I will detail next. But it should be noted that the restaurant à la carte menu contains many alternatives (including shrimps and oysters) and a full lunch for two, including fish, for R$38). Soft drinks cost R$2, and beers from R$3.
The seqüência de camarão is a shrimp-based dish typical from Florianópolis. The seqüência served at the bar do Arante is more expensive than the one you will find at the restaurants by the Lagoa da Conceição, but it is also far richer. In actual fact, the meal is so abundant it becomes an exaggeration. There is absolutely no way you will be able to eat all the food that will land on your table. To begin with, shrimps prepared in three different ways (steamed, breaded and with oil and garlic); crab meat and fish bites.
Then, two beautiful oysters au gratin.
Then and endless platter of mussels.
And when your stomach can’t possibly accept any more food, there it comes the main dish, two largish fish filets on a shrimp sauce, along with pirão (sauce for the fish), rice, fries and a salad.
The seqüência for two people costs R$72. We wouldn’t order it again. It’s far too much food and wasting food is not something we are keen on. But there is a seqüência for three people (R$86) and another one for four (R$96) where we suspect the amount of food is more balanced.
Of all the ingredients we tasted, the fish filets got the highest marks. Absolutely delicious. The shrimps were actually a bit of a let down. Regardless of what you order, the bar do Arante is an unmissable stop in any trip to Florianópolis. Do not be surprised if you find don Arante walking along the tables and enjoying his well-deserved local celebrity status. He is friendly to everyone and specially keen on getting his picture taken along all the women who come and ask.