The streets around the cathedral are the heart of the town, and there’s no shortage of simple bars and mineiro restaurants here, though the food on offer is rather monotonous; the area around Diamantina is almost entirely unsuited to agriculture, so traditionally almost all food had to be brought in from afar. Local dishes include little in the way of fresh ingredients, with the staples being beans, rice, salt pork, carne seca and bacalhau (salted cod). The Apocalipse Point, across from the market at Praça Barão do Guaicuí 78, is a popular por kilo restaurant (lunch only) with a good selection of typical mineira dishes; expect to pay around R$10–15 per person. Opposite the cathedral, the Restaurante Cantina do Marinho, at Rua Direita 113 and open daily for lunch and dinner, specializes in bacalhao dishes but also serves quite reasonable pizza. Along Beco da Tecla (an alleyway off the Praça Barão do Guaicuí), there are a few nice places to eat and drink: at no. 39 there’s the Recanto do Antônio (closed Mon), which has the appearance of a country tavern and serves beer, wine, sausage and carne do sol; at no. 31, lighter meals as well as good coffee and cakes are available at Espaço B, a small bookshop and internet café with a relaxed, bohemian atmosphere. This is one of the few places in town that remains open late: until midnight Monday to Thursday and 2am Friday to Sunday.

Diamantina goes to sleep early but, in addition to the Espaço B, there are several very popular bars on Boca do Mota, an alley off the cathedral square, and others on Rua Direita.

Read More