The prestigious Michelin guidebook revealed its 2018 stars for Rio de Janeiro, with four restaurants making the list. A further 45 establishments were awarded Michelin’s new L’Assiette Michelin (Michelin Plate) award that recognizes “restaurants where inspectors have discovered quality food.” Here are Rio’s Michelin-starred venues and the best L’Assiette Michelin eateries in the city.
Restaurant, Brazilian, Contemporary, $$$
The gastronomical experience at Oro blends intimate, modern surroundings with contemporary Brazilian cuisine, earning it the title of the only two-star restaurant in Rio. It’s run as a partnership between chef Felipe Bronze and his wife Cecilia Aldaz, who work together to bring the essence of Rio to the food as well as the décor. The meal options change every 45 days, so the menu is constantly evolving and reinventing classic Brazilian dishes. One example is Bronze’s take on the traditional churrasco (Brazilian barbecue) using braised ox ribs with banana cassava flour and smoked yolk.
Lasai earned its first Michelin star one year after it first opened in 2012 and has maintained its success every year since. Chef Rafa Costa e Silva works with local small farmers and producers for ingredients, yet cultivates about 40% of his menu from his own garden, where he raises free-range chickens for eggs and grows different vegetables and legumes. Rafa mixes cooking techniques that he learned in the U.S.A. and Spain with quality local ingredients to create a fresh, rotating menu of contemporary Brazilian cuisine.
White drapes and a warm color theme add to the distinctly Eastern vibe at Mee, a Michelin star pan-Asian restaurant set inside the Copacabana Palace. The menu takes diners on a culinary journey through Asia with original recipes and flavors from Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China. The gastronomic experience extends from the plate to the drinking menu, where bar manager Jessica Sanchez mixes cocktails to perfectly pair with chef Ken Hom’s creations.
Located in Lagoa, one of Rio’s most affluent neighborhoods, Michelin-star Olympe flawlessly blends French cooking techniques with Brazil’s finest ingredients to create a contemporary seven-course tasting menu. The head chef is Thomas Troisgros, who took over the restaurant from his dad, the renowned French chef Claude Troisgros. The devil is in the details at Olympe, where they serve dishes that are as picture-perfect as they are divine. The extensive wine menu contains excellent selections from both the Americas and Europe, which staff can expertly pair to different meals.
It’s hard to simply stumble across Aprazível. To get here, take the tram up to the hills of Santa Teresa and guide yourself along the steep cobbled streets to the neighborhood’s highest peaks. What seems like a non-assuming door leads down into a multi-leveled venue with low lighting and tropical flora and a panoramic view of the city below. The intimate atmosphere coupled with the modern twist on Brazilian cuisine earned Aprazível a L’Assiette Michelin award.
CT Boucherie belongs to the restaurant group owned by French chef Claude Troisgros (from Olympe) and is known as one of the best restaurants in the city for prime cuts of Brazilian meat. The wide front windows allow plenty of light to enter, lending this busy bistro a friendly atmosphere where visitors can enjoy world-class meat and wine in a casual setting. Diners select their cut of meat and a sauce, which is then served with baked plantain, farofa (toasted cassava flour), tomato risotto, parsnip purée, crispy potatoes, and several other accompaniments.
Low lighting and sophisticated décor create a romantic and intimate setting at L’Étoile. The menu uses French techniques to reinvent Brazilian classics, creating fresh and contemporary options. Guests can select dishes either from the à la carte menu or from the diverse tasting menu. The venue is located on the 26th floor of the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel, affording it breathtaking views of Rio’s coastline.