Rio de Janeiro's Top 10 Restaurants: From Gourmet To Local
Perched on the edge of the picturesque neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, Aprazivel offers its guests fabulous views over Guanabara Bay from its rustic outdoor eating areas. Whilst sat on carved wooden chairs shaded by handmade thatched awnings, diners can indulge in a delicious meal of artisan Brazilian cuisine whilst watching the sun go down over the sea. Tuck into a generous helping of cheese and sausage pasties with homemade tomato chutney; order a plate of hinterland style chicken risotto with sautéed kale, beans, baked plantain and red chili jam; and refresh the palate with a dessert of succulent mango, infused with lemon-grass. Soft background music completes the romantic ambience and the choice of 100 different cachacas sourced from all over Brazil is all that’s needed to ensure the night will continue long after dinner is complete.
Aprazivel, Rua Aprazivel 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2508 9174
When in search of a venue where city tavern meets world cinema, Rio explorers are rewarded with Cine Botequim. A quaint and cosy bare stone-walled establishment, this little bar and eatery is decked out in film memorabilia and hosts a programme of daily film screenings. From popular family classics such as Toy Story 2, Ratatouille and How to Train Your Dragon, to independent feature-length and short films made by local filmmakers and film students – there’s always something worth seeing. The menu is bursting with temptingly indulgent dishes such as garlic chicken with fried polenta, quails eggs and BBQ sauce, as well as rump steak with rosemary and melted mozzarella. Beer aficionados will appreciate the beer pairing option listed below each menu item.
Situated on the edge of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Palaphita Kitch is a little haven of countryside beauty amidst the city of Rio de Janeiro. A great place to go with friends, all of the dishes on offer are ideal for sharing whilst enjoying a refreshing drink in the early evening. Stuffed camembert, roast beef with gruyere cheese and wild boar with artisanal toast are just a few of the most recommended dishes carefully prepared. The real star of the menu is the caipirinha – the caipirinhas at Palaphita Kitch are hand-mixed works of art. Choose between one of the many fruity flavours including mango, passion fruit, tangerine and mixed fruits but just be sure not to drink too many – the alcohol and sugar contents are incredibly high.
One of the most lively party spots in the whole of Rio, get here early and you can enjoy some delicious food before the party starts. Rio Scenarium was named ‘One of the Ten Best Bars in the World’ by The Guardian and prides itself on its incredibly high international reputation. Serving grilled flounder, roast beef sandwiches, chicken kebabs, jerked beef and codfish balls until the lights go down; over 2000 people fill the bar’s three floors and lounge area every weekend. Hosting an array of live samba, MPB, choro, and torro music; guests can come for dinner and stay all night.
A great place for a spot of people watching, Baixo Gago is a typical Brazilian boteco where as much emphasis is placed on getting the beer cold enough as it is on getting the food hot enough. Stop by for a chopp (draught beer) and a bar snack or try the most authentic Brazilian dish imaginable – the feijoada. One portion of this rich sausage and bean stew is enough to feed five or six people and as it is an example of seriously indulgent comfort food, it’s as much a must-try for visitors.
Gaia Art & Café
One of the few eateries in Brazil to cater well for vegetarians, Gaia Art & Café focuses on using natural and organic products in its cooking to promote healthy eating. Dishes on offer change regularly but diners can expect plates full of skewered marinated vegetables and tofu with brown rice and organic salad; vegetarian feijoada and pumpkin on a bed of lentil rice. The café itself has a casual atmosphere and the regular live jazz bands make it a great hangout spot for guests looking to enjoy a couple of drinks as well as a low-key dinner.
Offering diners delicious meat dishes with a view, Porcao Rio’s is for serious carnivores. Sat outside the restaurant with the most enviable view of Sugar Loaf mountain, guests are invited to enjoy the most decadent churrascaria imaginable. Ten different cuts of beef including prime rib, sirloin and rump are skewered and perfectly cooked over a hot flame before being hand-carved tableside to hungry diners. An elaborate buffet of antipasti, cold cuts, cheeses, salads, seafood, sushi and traditional side dishes compliments the meat and guests are allowed to help themselves to as much or as little as they like. Just the aroma of sizzling beef is enough to tempt true meat lovers inside, but be sure to bring your appetite if you’re eager to try all ten tasty cuts.