Although Rio de Janeiro has an abundance of Japanese restaurants thanks to a well-established sushi trend, other Asian cuisines such as Thai, Indian, and Chinese are frugally represented. However, the few Asian cuisine restaurants that do exist are sublime and provide an alternative option for a special night out. Here are some of the best restaurants in Rio de Janeiro that specialize in Asian cuisine.
Indian food at Taj Mahal | (c) Spyrro Filmes | Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal occupies a niche spot in Rio de Janeiro as one of the few places to get authentic Indian food. The vegetable samosas are a satisfying starter to share between two and the chicken tandoori won’t disappoint. The sophisticated venue sets the scene for a special dinner out yet is far from pretentious and the friendly staff instantly put guests at ease. It can get busy on the weekends so arrive early.
For excellent Thai cuisine, you can’t go wrong with Sawasdee Bistrô. Located in the affluent neighborhood of Leblon, Sawasdee serves up authentic Thai food bursting with Asian spices and wonderful flavors. The Thai green curry is a particular highlight as are the delicate noodles for starters. The friendly service and cozy atmosphere set the scene for a memorable dinner out.
The low-lighting and wooden decor create a cozy atmosphere at Nam Thai, located in the sophisticated and upscale Leblon neighborhood. The food is satisfyingly authentic and has just enough spice to give a small kick rather than a massive punch of heat. Start by sharing the Bangkok starter before moving onto any of the delicious main dishes.
Chinese food in Copacabana | (c) Restaurante Chon Kou
Located on the main street next to Copacabana beach, arrive early at Chon Kou restaurant to nab a seat upstairs so as to enjoy ocean views while dining. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up authentic Chinese dishes with skill and expertise coming straight from China for the last 40 years and remains one of Rio’s best spots for great Chinese cuisine. The extensive menu includes all the classics as well as traditional Chinese tea.
Although the name China Town could be mistaken for a fast-food service, this family-owned restaurant encourages guests to sit down and savor authentic Chinese food in the comfortable and spacious setting the venue provides. The menu is extensive and dishes are served in generous portions – one meal could be enough for two people – at reasonable prices.
Situated next to the picturesque Lagoa lake, this upscale restaurant offers beautiful views and fine dining for a fancy date night out. The menu features Beijing classics like sweet and sour shrimp and a mix of flavorsome dumplings. The food is presented with such care that it acts as a feast for the eyes matching the equally satisfying first mouthful.
One of Rio’s few Michelin-starred restaurants, Restaurante MEE is a sublime pan-Asian venue and makes up part of the Copacabana Palace. The hotel is known for its classic splendor, a feature that is extended to the restaurant through elegant decor, first-class service, creative dishes, and superb presentation. The contemporary cuisine mixes various elements of Asian cuisines to create unique flavors and interesting combinations.