Favelas typically sprawl across Rio de Janeiro’s hillsides, affording them picturesque views that not even the local wealthy neighborhoods can compete with. Many restaurants have been quick to take advantage of this, coupling the novelty of a favela experience with scenic hilltop views. Here are the best favela restaurants for dining with a stunning backdrop. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Bar do David
Owned by a former fisherman, it shouldn’t come as surprise that Bar do David is famous for its seafood as well as its meat dishes. The casual setting of the restaurant contrasts with the quality of food on offer, with meals such as the seafood salad and tender ribs earning high praise from visitors. Prepare yourself for a steep climb to the top, but the oceanic views are worth the effort.
Located in the Tavares Bastos favela near Catete, The Maze takes its name from the labyrinth of corridors that make up the venue. It’s easy to get lost within, though that’s a joy in itself and gives you time to enjoy the handmade mosaic patterns and paintings on the wall. On Sundays, The Maze transforms into an informal restaurant renowned for its authentic Indian curry and delicious chutneys. The view over Guanabara Bay is unforgettable.
Bar da Laje
With stunning views over the Vidigal favela that seem to stretch endlessly over the ocean, Bar da Laje is a restaurant boasting some of the best views in Rio. The outdoor terrace with wooden benches and strings of lights creates a casual yet magical setting, enhanced by the venue’s wickedly delicious cocktails. Head there on a Saturday to enjoy one of Brazil’s most famous dishes feijoada – a slow-cooked bean stew with chunks of meat served with rice and fried kale.
Alto Vidigal Bar and Lounge
Serving traditional Brazilian cuisine in hearty portions with classic cocktails and chilled beers creates a satisfying environment for casual dining among an international crowd. Located at the top of Vidigal favela, you can take a taxi to the top before being treated to superb views, especially mesmerizing at sunset. Alternatively, the bar often throws all-night weekend parties which means staying for the sunrise is a pleasing possibility too.
As a local bar and restaurant in the Babilonia favela in Leme, Bar Pirata mostly attracts the nearby residents, making it a great spot for those looking to escape the tourist trap and have a more authentic experience. The food is typically Brazilian – think large portions of roasted cassava, rice, beans and slow-cooked meat – perfectly complimented by the restaurant’s icy cold beers.
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