I am an American married to a Brazilian that has been coming to Recife for nearly 20 years. This was our first visit to Thaal, on the recommendation of several Brazilian friends that know that I like nice restaurants. Here is my summary of positive and negative elements of our dinner last night:
+The building and decor were very cool/artsy
+The dishes were creative and for the most part very good (we had the Gaviteiro, Tabuleiro and Kirimi dishes, along with the dessert sampler and two bottles of wine)
+The AC worked well and the restrooms were clean.
-The first thing I saw when I walked in the restaurant was either a single patron or an employee asleep across a table (bad first impression)
-At first, the staff was very stuffy and unfriendly - they were attentive but never smiled, which made us uncomfortable (some warmed up by the end of the evening)
-The wine was relatively warm, which is not good for a climate such as this (they need a wine cooler) - tasted fine but I prefer my reds to be cool (not cold)
-The chairs at our table were uncomfortable
-The menus were beat up/taped together
Overall, our meal cost the same as mid-level restaurant in a big city in the states. We knew it was supposed to be expensive by Brazilian standards but I think we were satisfied with the ultimate cost/value. I will not go back on this trip (bit of a "special occasion" type of restaurant), but I will probably come back next time I'm in town.
PS - formal atmosphere that would probably not work with kids.