A large lake of gently rippling water that’s embraced by vegetation, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (more commonly known just as ‘Lagoa’) is one of the most peaceful spots in Rio de Janeiro. Its low-key setting, stunning backdrop and harmonious vibe makes it a perfect place for dinner and drinks. We explore the best restaurants in the area for wonderful food with a sensational view.
Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Brazilian, American, $$$
This restaurant manages to blend into the natural surroundings with a sleek mix of low outdoor seating, somber-toned fabrics and candle-lit tables. Its famous fondue perfectly complements the mellow vibe of the place, allowing easy hours to slip by. Get to Palaphita early to watch the colors of the sunset unfold behind the Two Brothers mountains (‘Dois Irmãos’ in Portuguese) and glide across the lake. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the local capybaras.
The charm of this restaurant comes from its simplicity and personal touches, such as low-key hanging decorations, wooden outdoor tables and colorful fabrics. It serves traditional cuisine from Bahia, with Moqueca de Camarao (prawn curry) and Acaraje (deep-fried balls of beans) the most-requested dishes. Occasionally, there is live music entertainment that lifts the atmosphere with a Bahian spirit.
This restaurant serves stunning dishes, with a mix of Moroccan, Lebanese and Syrian flavors on the menu. The mezze platter provides a variety of foods to share, perfect for those unsure about what to order. With live music and belly dancing shows, this place provides entertainment for all the senses.
A little garden with wooden benches, fringed with potted plants and a backdrop of the stunning lake, this restaurant is picture-perfect. It brings a little taste of Italy to Rio with a variety of pasta, seafood and pizza dishes, and the green-and-white checkered throws across the table enhance the Italian feel. Friendly service in an outdoor environment promises a cozy and unforgettable night.
This restaurant factors the surrounding beauty into its design with large outdoor spaces to appreciate the view and wide umbrellas to provide some shade. The garden is surrounded by exotic vegetation that creeps inside too, giving it a soothing and informal vibe. The food is typical Brazilian, with the filet mignon coming highly-recommended, and is served to the melodies of the live Brazilian music.
Lagoon is a large complex located on the edge of the lake, and offers all-night entertainment. As well as a cinema, nightclub and bars, it also have five restaurants to choose from, ranging from Italian to Brazilian, casual to formal. The five restaurants spread out onto one balcony and, without any rivalry between them, its common for guests to be approached by waiters from any of the restaurants, regardless of where they are sat. Turn up, choose the food that appeals to you most and enjoy the views stretching across the lake in front.
Mr. Lam is named after the owner and chef of this restaurant that serves food straight out of China. It is one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in Rio de Janeiro and serves dishes like crispy duck or beef. For dessert try the ‘egg’, which is coconut cream with a passionfruit center. With a good wine menu and excellent service, it promises a fun and tasty night.
Serving a mix of hearty German and Brazilian food, this restaurant provides traditional indoor seating and fantastic views over the lake. It may lack the pensive mood of the other restaurants on the lake’s edge but it is ideal for those seeking hearty and wholesome food that will satisfy even the most demanding appetites.
Capricciosa is the sort of restaurant to go to for fine wines and delicious Italian cuisine. The pizza is a winner here, and when choosing between toppings, opt for meia-meia (half and half) to get a pizza with two flavors.
A formal, Italian restaurant, Pomodorino ticks all the right boxes for an idyllic night out: an exhaustive wine menu, fabulous foods and of course, the romantic view. Despite its sophistication and elegance, the prices are reasonable here, making it a great choice for an upscale night on a budget.