Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro

You can eat your way around the world in Rio, with hundreds of restaurants offering the best gastronomic cuisine that befits this multi-cultural city. Award-winning innovative chefs have created dazzling fusion dishes from all over Brazil; but sometimes it’s hard to beat a simple pão de queijo (cheesy cassava doughball), washed down with a beer “bem gelada” - well chilled.

Copacabana and Ipanema have the greatest number of places to eat, but it's worth exploring beyond the Zona Sul, to Santa Teresa and Lagoa, for example, where there are many excellent restaurants, often providing better value for money and with fewer crowds in high season.

The Rio restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over R$200)
Moderate (R$ 50 to R$200)
Cheap (up to R$50)
These Rio restaurant prices are based on the average price of a three-course meal and half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, including tax. Sales tax of 5% and a service charge of 10-15% are added to most restaurant bills in Rio. Most credit cards are now widely accepted in the city's restaurants, although some of the cheaper or older establishments only accept cash. If you have American Express, or a lesser-known credit card, it’s advisable to phone the restaurant in advance to check whether or not they’ll accept it.

Roberta Sudbrack

Price: Expensive

The first chef in Rio to be awarded three Michelin stars for her modern and airy restaurant in Jardim Botanico, Roberta Sudbrack has cooked for world leaders, including Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton and former Brazilian president Fernando Cardoso. Sudbrack's taste-bud tantalisers include such imaginative wonders as gema caipiri - polenta caviar with egg yolk; the chef’s signature style focussing on fresh, unadulterated ingredients served with panache. Not cheap, but superb for that special treat. Open evenings only, except Saturdays, for good value four-course set lunch.

Address: Avenida Lineu de Paula Machado, 916, Jardim Botânico,, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 3874 0139.

Le Pré Catelan

Price: Expensive

The flagship restaurant of the Sofitel hotel on Copacabana beach, Le Pré Catelan serves up some of the most adventurous dishes in Rio. French gourmet cuisine goes up the Amazon, in a gastronomic exploration of the wonders of Brazilian tropical specialities. Four-Michelin-star French chef Roland Villard loves to pamper his clients so he often stops at tables to chat and help you choose your order. Try the fish consommé, served with a giant pirarucu fish scale as a spoon.

Address: Avenida Atlântica 4240, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2525 1232.

Gero

Price: Expensive

Owned by Rogerio Fasano, charismatic Italian restaurateur and hotelier, Gero is frequently voted the best Italian restaurant in Rio. The menu, drawn up by skilful chef Salvatore Loi, is a mouth-watering selection of classic Italian dishes as well as locally inspired new concoctions, such as squid black risotto with saffron flowers. The warm and elegant décor in the roofed patio adds to the dining experience.

Address: Rua Aníbal de Mendonça 157, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2239 8158.

Aprazível

Price: Moderate

Excellent Brazilian food is served in this magical tropical garden restaurant in Santa Teresa overlooking the city centre. Led by chef Ana Castilho from Minas Gerais, dishes are rich in exotic flavours, though there's also a strong European influence. The Aprazivel Salad is a sweet and tangy blend of grilled aubergine and sweet potato with parmesan shavings and sun-dried tomatoes, while the moquequinha is a succulently light fish cooked in coconut cream sauce. Desserts such as banana Santa Teresa, served with warm chocolate sauce and sliced almonds are as sweet and delightful as the setting. Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday evenings only.

Address: Rua Aprazîvel 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2508 9174.

Casa da Feijoada

Price: Moderate

Feijoada is generally accepted as Brazil’s national dish, so you’d be remiss not to sample this rich stew at least once during your stay in Rio. And the Casa da Feijoada, on a quiet corner of Ipanema, is one of the best places to try feijoada, complete with its side dishes of black beans, shredded greens, rice, crackling, and slices of orange. They also offer a novel appetiser: cold bean soup, which is tastier than it might sound. And the whole lot is finished off with a knock-out batida – fruit cocktail with aguardente rum. Come here for Saturday lunch, as is the custom, and give yourself the rest of the afternoon off.

Address: Rua Prudente de Morais, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2247 2776.

Miam Miam

Price: Moderate

This retro restaurant offers a new concept of dining in Rio: everything you see in Miam Miam is for sale, furniture included. The location is also unusual, hidden down a side street in Botafogo, off the main tourist trail. It is not easy to find, but this is part of its charm. Urban chic and Rio’s most trendy restaurant, Miam Miam preaches the wonders of comfort food: eating spicy prawn moqueca - one of its signature dishes – in a bowl, while stretching on a couch. Socializing has never tasted so good.

Address: Rua General Góes Monteiro 34, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2244 0125.

Arabe da Lagoa

Price: Cheap

One of the best of the delightfully located waterside restaurants ringing the Lagoa, here you can dine al fresco on some delicious Middle Eastern specialities. Try the stuffed prawns, or the classic appetisers kibe and esfiha (meat rissoles). Unusual fruit juices are also a forte of Arabe da Lagoa, including peach nectar with cardamom, pear and basil. The romantic evening is completed with a repertoire of live entertainment.

Address: Avenida Borges de Medeiros, Quiosk 7 (Parque dos Patins), Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2540 0747.

Aipo & Aipim

Price: Cheap

Often the best budget option for dining – for light eaters at least - is at one of the many comida a quilo or 'food-by-weight' restaurants found throughout Rio. One of the most popular is the Aipo & Aipim chain, with canteen-style tables (also in Copacabana and Ipanema). Like other a quilo restaurants, diners load a plate with salads and hot dishes to be weighed first and then paid for after eating. The system is simple and efficient, the food fresh and tasty.

Address: Rua do Ouvidor 108, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2222 3423.

Cervantes

Price: Cheap

Stand with the locals at the bar and enjoy a refreshing glass of chopp (draft beer) at this old-fashioned venue with frosted windows and a lively atmosphere, widely rated as serving the best sandwiches in Rio. Smartly dressed waiters serve drinks, hot food and snacks to a mixed crowd, who drop in until closing at 0600. Try its famous gammon and pineapple sandwich in crusty home made bread. A Rio institution since it opened in 1955, now with other branches across the city.

Address: Avenida Prado Júnior 335, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Telephone: (21) 2275 6147.
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