Traveling in Rio de Janeiro can be done on the cheap, especially if you check out our list of budget eating options in the city. In addition to cheap international cuisine and fast food, there are also options to try some of Brazil’s most famous and traditional dishes, such as feijoada and the legendary Brazilian barbecue.
Pizza at Stalos
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Brazilian, $$$
Café e Bar Stalos, Rio de Janeiro
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Stalos is the perfect after-party stop to satisfy cravings after a long night out. Food here is relatively cheap and the best value option is the pizza. With a thick base, a cream cheese filled crust and a generous helping of toppings, a slice is a sufficiently satisfying meal for just $4.
Dried meat, rice and beans at Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão
The Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão is a huge fair that embraces everything to do with Bahian culture. With hundreds of stalls selling Bahian products and food, it is a wonderland for souvenir-buying and offers a glimpse into life of northeast Brazil. This is also an excellent choice for those looking to eat on a budget. Go to any of the restaurants and order a plate of dried meat, rice and beans (typical cuisine in Brazil) for about $9 that is plenty for two people.
Enjoying a meat barbecue while in Brazil is a must and is the best way to embrace a traditional part of the culture and sample the country’s finest meat. At Monchique in Copacabana, diners can enjoy an all-you-can-eat barbecue for less than $24, which is one of the cheapest options available for a non-stop stream of quality steak, sausages, chicken, lamb and pork.
Spoletos is a chain of restaurants in Brazil that bring the fast-food concept to Italian cuisine. The idea is simple: you pick your choice of pasta, add your favorite sauce and finish with a variety of toppings such as cheese, mushrooms, ham or vegetables. There are a huge variety of combinations for about $5, and it is a satisfying and quick dinner choice.
For one of the best homemade burgers in town, try Comuna in Botafogo. Every night, people pile into the trendy, intimate bar and make the most of the happy hour and the delicious low-cost burgers that are made from scratch on site. Gourmet burgers are a big thing in Rio de Janeiro at the moment, so be sure not to miss this fashion food. Comuna sells its hamburgers for approximately $8.
The sandwiches at Cervantes are legendary. A huge portion of thick meat slices are wedged in between two slices of a French baguette with a slice of pineapple and a layer of cheese squeezed in the middle. There is no such thing as dainty eating with this monster, so don’t have any qualms about diving straight in! It’s popular with the locals for its long opening hours and cheap prices; pick up one of these bad boy sandwiches for about $7.
Bar do Mineiro is in the heart of bohemian neighborhood Santa Teresa and with its charming interior of paintings and black and white photos, it is one of the most popular bars in town. In addition to serving a mean caipirinha, it is famous for serving up unofficially one of the best feijoadas in town. Feijoada is a classic Brazilian stew that mixes beans and various types of meat, served with rice, kale and a slice of orange. It’s one of the most traditional dishes you can find in Brazil, and at Bar do Mineiro, you can try it for about $12.