Brazil’s immense size and cultural diversity means that food preferences vary across regions according to climate, immigration patterns, and historic traditions. Yet one food item that is popular throughout Brazil is the feijoada. This beloved staple is a mix of black beans and meats served with rice, farofa (cassava flour), and slices of orange. Here, we highlight the best places in Rio for a traditional feijoada.
Academia da Cachaça
The feijoada at Academia da Cachaça comes with well-seasoned beans and is flavored further with chunks of dried meat, ribs, loin steaks, and sausages in thin and thick slices and is accompanied by rice, kale with fried bacon bits, farofa, and the classic orange slices. It is one of the most-ordered dishes on the menu and steals the spotlight from the other foods served there. One portion is easily enough for two people and comes with a shot or two of cachaça with honey and lemon, a house speciality.
Set in the arty neighborhood Santa Teresa, Bar do Mineiro is famous for its wide choice of cachaca and its hearty, delicious feijoadas. It can be argued that the feijoada here is unofficially one of the best in Rio with the beans tender yet firm, swimming in a rich, flavorsome sauce with generous portions of chunky slabs of dried meat and sausage. It is, as tradition dictates, served with fluffy white rice, sautéed kale, and slices of orange. Try drinking with their famous ginger cachaca.
The name itself, House of Feijoada, leaves no doubt as to the star of this restaurant’s menu. The Casa de Feijoada experience begins with a small bean broth with a portion of sausage, served with a passion fruit or lemon juice. Then arrives the stream of meats, beans, rice, kale, and orange slices, providing what seems like days’ worth of food. The restaurant serves two types of feijoada, and you can opt for what is referred to as nobre meat, which is typical Western cuts of meat, or the complete version, which is the original (but less eaten) feijoada that includes the tail and ears on top of the other meat cuts.
This traditional Portuguese restaurant in Leblon serves its delicious feijoada on Saturdays. Keeping with custom, Alvaro’s offers the two versions of feijoada for the same price: the original that includes the tail, feet, and ears in addition to the standard meats, or the more modern-day version of dried meats, sausages, pepperoni, loin, and ribs. Both are delicious, though the former is a more acquired taste than the latter. They both come with all the traditional trimmings of a complete feijoada.
Feijoada at Garden | courtesy of Casa da Fe courtesy of Garden
Garden is a traditional Brazilian restaurant that has been serving classic Brazilian food for the last 60 years. Saturday is feijoada day and is set up like a buffet. There is a wide choice of meats with all the typical trimmings of rice, kale, farofa, crackling, and orange slices. In addition, there are different types of rice available and a selection of vegetables such as eggplant.
This feijoada has twice been voted the best by the influential Brazilian magazine Veja Eating & Drinking. It is served on Saturdays during lunchtime and never fails to draw weekend crowds. The feijoada is traditional with all the expected accompaniments of rice and kale, yet it also comes with some contemporary surprises such as boar loin with sun-dried tomatoes, farofa with cream cracker crumbs, and servings of cashew nuts.
The feijoada at Botaquim is served every Friday and Saturday. The generous portions are prepared for one or two people yet could serve more. The feijoada comes with prime cuts of chunky dried meat, sausage, and ribs and is served with the typical rice, kale, farofa, and orange slices, as well as a good portion of crispy crackling. Botaquim serves a strong yet smooth caipirinha, with the passion fruit or orange flavors pairing particularly well with the feijoada.