Rio de Janeiro bars and restaurants

If all my recent posts haven’t inspired you to visit Brazil, I hope this last one will. Below is a list of all my favorite restaurants, bars and foods in Rio, with links to all of the places I‘ve written about over the past few weeks. So what are you waiting for? BOOK. YOUR. FLIGHTS. NOW. And remember to print this out before you go!


Academia da Cachaça (Rua Conde Bernadotte, 26): One of my favorite places for caipirinhas. You can't go wrong with a classic one (made with limes) but if there's any place to experiment with other fruits (grape, strawberry, and pineapple are all delicious), it's here.

Bar do Mineiro (Rua Pascoal Carlos Magno, 99): A great place for beers and delicious food from Minas Gerais. Try the black bean soup or fried yucca, and make sure to gaze up at a starry sky from the roof-top garden.

Hipódromo (Praça Santos Dumont, 108): Great for a big group, this loud and lively bar attracts a lot of college kids, but is still a fun place to grab a chopp.

Bracarense (Rua José Linhares, 85): A classic boteco where Cariocas like to drink chopps and eat salgadinhos (little salty snacks).

Rio Scenarium (Rua do Lavradio, 20): An eclectic tri-level antique shop-cum-bar with live music and an unbelievable selection of quirky trinkets.


Bibi Sucos (Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 591): One of many great places to sip a freshly squeezed fruit juice.

Café Severino (Rua Dias Ferreira, 417 ): Hidden inside a great bookstore in Leblon, this charming cafe has wonderful homemade cakes and good, strong coffee.

Capricciosa (Rua Vinicius de Moraes, 134 and other locations): Brazilian pizza isn't my favorite (they like it really, really thin), but this restaurant serves up thicker pies more similar to those at sit-down spots in NY (like Grimaldi's or Lombardi's).

Carlota (Rua Dias Ferreira 64): A cozy, 10-table spot where a popular chef from São Paulo blends Brazilian, Portuguese and Asian flavors. Portions are on the small side and prices are a bit high, but I still love it. Get the guava and cheese soufflé for dessert if you go.

Carretão (Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 112): I’d say to skip Porcão and try this cheaper all-you-can-eat meat mecca.

Cervantes (Av. Prado Junior, 335): A classic, late-night sandwich spot in Copacabana.

Confeitaria Colombo (Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32): A Victorian tearoom that's been open since 1894. It's the perfect place to kick back with some coffee and pastries after touring Centro.

Confeitaria Gávea (Marques de São Vicente): All of the pastries here look good, but I'm in love with the meia-luas.

Couve-Flor (Rua Pacheco Leão, 724): Brazilians take their buffet-style restaurants (called kilos) very seriously, and this is one of the best in the city. It’s also across the street from Globo, Brazil’s mega media conglomerate, so that handsome man dining next to you could be the Brazilian Matt Lauer.

Doce Delícia (Rua Dias Ferreira, 48): This restaurant has one of the best guava and cheese desserts I’ve ever tasted. The guava paste is heated up so it’s warm and gooey and then served along side a velvety scoop of cheese-flavored ice cream. PURE BLISS.

Garota da Urca (Av. João Luís Alves, 56 A): Urca, one of the most serene neighborhoods in the city, has a great trail where Daniel and I like to run. And we always fill up on picanha, rice, beans and fried bananas at this restaurant as soon as we're done.

Guimas (Rua José Macedo Soares, 5): A sophisticated, open-air spot that’s been keeping Cariocas happy for over 20 years.

Jobi (Av. Ataulfo de Paiva 1166): One of my favorite places to have a chopp or a casual lunch or dinner. Try the chicken with catupiry if you go.

Lagoa Kiosks: All of the kiosks that line Rio’s Rodrigo Freitas Lagoon offer stunning views, especially at night. My favorite is the Arab one where kibbeh, ice-cold chopps, and live music always ensure a splendid evening.

Mil Frutas (Rua Garcia d'Avila, 134): One of Rio’s best, and most expensive, ice cream parlors. Sample as many exotic fruit sorbets as you can. Maracujá (passionfruit) is my personal favorite and Daniel loves the pitanga (which doesn't exist in the States).

Nova Capela (Avenida Mem de Sa, 96): Our friend Richard is a huge fan of the rice with octopus and broccoli at this laid-back spot in Lapa, one of Rio’s liveliest neighborhoods.

Olympe (Rua Custódio Serrão, 62): Dinner at this lovely little house in beautiful Jardim Botânico will break the bank, but the exotic Brazilian-French food is definitely worth the splurge. We went for the first time on this past trip, and while we loved everything about our multi-course meal, I still can't stop thinking about the gourmet, pepper-flecked biscoitos globo that came with our bread basket.

Pizza Al Taglio (Rua Carlos Góis, 234): When I was studying Portuguese in Rio and on a very tight budget, this was where I went for a cheap after-school snack. Rectangular pies are snipped with scissors into strips, allowing you to have as little -- or as much –- as you’d like, and they have a variety of sweet and savory toppings. And although guava or bananana and cinnamon once seemed so strange on top of pizza, I'm now a proud convert.

Porcão (Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Parque do Flamengo): One of Rio’s priciest all-you-can-eat meat spots. It’s fun for a group and has a beautiful view, but go very, very hungry if you want to get your money’s worth.

Pizzaria Guanabara (Av. Ataulfo da Paiva, 1228): This restaurant in Leblon serves typical Carioca pizzas. For a New Yorker like myself, cutting pies into tiny square pieces and eating them with toothpicks is pure blasphemy. And don't get me started on the ketchup they like to squirt on top. But it's still a fun place that's always packed and great for groups.

Quadrifoglio (Rua J. J. Seabra, 19): I love the apple ravioli at this elegant restaurant which is considered to have the best Italian food in Rio.

Rio Lisboa (On the corner of Rua General Artigas and Ataulfo da Paiva): One of my favorite spots for breakfast, lunch or a late-night snack.

Shirley (Rua Gustavo Sampaio, 620): A no-frills spot in Copacabana/Leme that's known for its spectacular Spanish-style seafood.

Siri Mole & Cia (Rua Francisco Otaviano, 50): A great place to try foods from Bahia such as moqueca, vatapá and acarajé.

Zazá Bistrô (Rua Joana Angélica, 40): The eclectic food at this Carribean blue-colored spot is overpriced (and overrated), but I simply love the ambiance. The lower level is fun and flirty, while the second floor is dark and sultry.


Aipim: Crispy, crunchy and perfect with just a sprinkling of salt, I think I might prefer aipim (fried yucca) over French fries.

Açaí: Don’t leave Rio without trying one of these, but be prepared for a caffeine jolt.

Bobó de camarão: I love food from Bahia in northern Brazil and this shrimp stew is one of my favorites.

Bolinhos de bacalhau: Brazilians love salgadinhos (little salty snacks) and these fried cod balls can be found practically anywhere. Try them with an ice-cold chopp.

Caipirinha: I'm usually a lightweight when it comes to liquor, but there's nothing better on a hot day than this mixture of cachaça (sugar cane liquor), crushed limes and sugar.

Chopp: Brazil’s draft beer

Cuzcus: Made with tapioca, this squishy, chewy sweet is sold by street vendors all over the city.

Guava & cheese: A very typical and delicious dessert that I'm obsessed with. On many menus, it's referred to as a Romeo & Juliet.

Média: Coffee makes me crazy, but I'm still a sucker for these Brazilian café au laits. Try one with a sweet and doughy pão doce.

Moqueca: Another delicious seafood stew from Bahia. If you won't be making it to Brazil anytime soon, try my mother-in-law's recipe.

Pão doce: All of the padarias in Rio sell these sweet breakfast breads. The selection will be overwhelming, but trust me, they’re all delicious!

Pão de queijo: Watch out because these chewy cheese breads are sooo addictive. And if you go to the movie theater on Voluntários da Pátria in Botafogo, you can get a piping-hot, fresh from the oven bag of them. I'll take that over popcorn any time!

Pastel: A fried pastry that can be filled with an array of sweet or salty fillings. They're one of Daniel's favorite snacks and now that Patricia has posted a recipe for them, I'm going to make some from scratch.

Picanha: A cut of meat that literally melts in your mouth. You can get endless amounts of it at any churrascaria (an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant).

Suco de laranja com acerola: A good juice to order at any of the open-air juice stands.

Suco de goiaba: Guava juice, another one of my favorites

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Anonymous said...

Wow, Lia. Such an impressive list! Where do you two go when you want a taste of Brazil in NYC?

Lia said...

Thanks Andrea! Two of our favorite Brazilian restaurants are Delicia and Casa, both in the West Village. You should check them out sometime with Ryan.

Ali Ambrosio said...

Hi Lia,

I just found your blog through one of the e-mails I get from google news updates on Rio de Janeiro.

I lived in Rio while working on my MBA, and am now engaged to a carioca I met during my studies. We live and work in Maputo, Mozambique these days, but Rio is always our heart-home.

This is a fabulous list! You got some of our favorite carioca da gema places. :)

When you were at Bar do Mineiro, did you happen to look directly across the street at a big pink house with columns, 3 stories high? That's our house, the casa rosa!

I can't wait to read some of your archives. Happy travels, and happy eating.

Patricia Scarpin said...


One of my bosses is carioca and she and I read your post together - she told me that all the places you listed are great!!

I'd be glad to visit some when I go to Rio (I hope I do it someday).

Many, many tks for citing my pastel recipe, I was so flattered!


Lia said...

Thanks Ali! I could on and on -- as I have been the past few weeks -- about all the food and restaurants I love in Rio. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to Bar do Mineiro on this trip, so I can't remember if I have ever seen your house from the roof, but I'll be sure to look the next time I'm there. Isn't it such a great place?

I'm going to have to spend some time checking out your blog as well. Seems like you're quite the traveler!

Patricia, have you never been to Rio? I couldn't tell from your comment. You should definitely visit lots of these places when you go! And I need to set aside some time soon to make your pastel recipe. Daniel was amazed when he saw it on your site.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm sorry I wasn't clear - I have never been to Rio, can you believe it? :)

Lia said...

No Patricia, I can't! I hope you'll get to go there soon.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Brazil too so your list is very comforting!!!
I love the juices too. And mmm...picanha.

But most of all, I've been addicted to your blog! It's adorable. Everything sounds/looks delicious and your writing is excellent!!!

Keep it up,

another devoted food-lover

Lia said...

Thanks so much, anonymous! Your comment just made my day :) Where did you used to live in Brazil and do you ever get to go back?

Anonymous said...

I used to live in the state of São Paulo but I did get to visit Rio (most beeyooooootiful city in the world, in my opinion). And yes, I go back about once a year if I'm lucky!

Lia said...

Rio really is so stunning. I've only been to São Paulo once, so I need to spend some more time there.


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