What was once a sleepy neighborhood of traditional eateries, Botafogo’s restaurant scene has taken on new life as it fills up with international cuisine and innovative takes on old classics. The gastronomy on offer in Botafogo includes some of the city’s best ramen, delicate French dishes and modernised Brazilian staples. Keep up with the pace of this culinary movement by checking out the following restaurants.
For a true Brazilian barbeque, it’s hard to imagine a better place than Fogo de Chão. Overlooking the picturesque Guanabara Bay with the Sugarloaf mountain in the skyline, the views make a stunning backdrop for those choosing to sit on the outside terrace. However, no matter how wonderful the views are, it’s the food that will always be the star of the show at Fogo de Chão. Diners pay a fixed price to enjoy a continuous stream of flawlessly cooked meat from tender lamb to the classic Brazilian picanha beef cut. Waiters bring the skewered meat to your table and cut off mouthwatering slices. A meat-lovers heaven.
After the success of Ferro e Farinha, a pizzeria in Catete that has the quasi-official title of the best pizza in town, Sei Shiroma – the man behind it all – opened a new space in Botafogo. Known as South Ferro, the simplicity of the venue has a casual, hipster vibe with its pine wood tables and cement walls. His creations take a distinctly Asian flavor, such as spicy cauliflower pizzas marinated in ginger, honey and soy sauce. However, the highlight on the menu is the ramen, cooked from scratch and arguably the best in Rio.
For a late morning brunch, there is no better place in Botafogo than Le Depanneur. The bakery inside fills the air with the smells of fresh bread and sweet cakes, and the rows of baked goods make it hard to decide on just one item. Located in a central part of Botafogo, the buzzing streets make an intriguing setting for people-watching, so opt for a seat on the outdoor terrace. In the morning, try the complete breakfast which lets you sample a wide range of bread and cakes; for later in the day, any of the pasta dishes or the freshly-made quiche make an excellent choice.
Although vegetarian options in Rio de Janeiro are growing, the city is still very much geered towards meat-lovers. That’s why a place like Refeitório Orgânico is a welcome treat for both vegetarians and vegans. The restaurant has a large buffet-style or a-la-carte menu with dozens of different vegetarian choices made with organic ingredients. The wood interior and buddha statue create a zen-like environment and the reasonable prices makes it accessible for budget-travelers.
Restaurant, French, Brazilian, Contemporary, South American, $$$
Set inside a trendy venue in Botafogo, Oui Oui is the creation of chef Roberta Ciasca and her partners Danni Camilo and Steph Quinquise. The restaurant has a unique concept: its menu has only small portions, allowing diners to create their own tasting menu and encouraging tables to share the food from the menu and sample plenty of different options. The entrees and the main courses are the same, providing contemporary dishes that mix French techniques with Brazilian flavors.
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Located in the business hub of Praia de Botafogo where large international companies have set up offices, Kotobuki is a popular spot for business lunches. Its sophisticated environment and views over the bay make it an ideal venue for an impressive meeting, though it’s equally ideal for a romantic date as it is a business venture. Serving Japanese food, the showcase on the menu is the rodizio of sushi which is an all-you-can-eat sushi menu.
Miam Miam translates from French to ‘yum yum’ in English, a name that nicely sums up the food at this award-winning restaurant. Chef Roberta Ciasca, also the chef at Oui Oui, is in charge of the menu, bringing homemade comfort food to the table with creative touches and pristine presentation. The food combines an extraordinary blend of Brazilian ingredients, French techniques and Asian flavors. The restaurant is set inside an aging mansion that actually belonged to Ciasca’s grandmother and is decorated with vibrant-colored furniture styled from the ’70s.