The varied cultural underbelly of Brazil often comes as a surprise to visiting tourists. With a web of influences streaming from all corners of the globe, Brazil’s diversity has led to the rise of some fantastic restaurants, including delicious, Italian pizza shops. Luckily, Rio de Janeiro has plenty of pizzerias so when you’re looking for a pizza kick, check out Culture Trip’s list of the best pizzas in the city.
By Sarah Brown
White walls with dark wooden details and tiled floors supporting intimate tables with red table cloths add to the traditional Italian feel of Braz, one of Rio’s award-winning pizzerias. To start, try the calabrese bread, a soft chunk of bread wrapped around salty yet tender sausage meat. Moving on to the pizzas, the thin, crispy base holds together a choice of delicious toppings – we recommend trying the most popular, the authentic buffalo mozzarella with black olive pesto. Wash everything down with one of the wines on the extensive menu and enjoy the nearest experience to Italy in Rio.
Half an hour away north by subway from the popular hub of Copacabana is the less touristy Tijuca which conceals a thriving local nightlife. This traditional Carioca neighborhood is the site for the first pizzeria in Rio de Janeiro to use a wood oven, making O Forno one of the best places to get an original pizza with unique a flavor and texture. With over 65 toppings and three types of crust to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Even so, with all that choice, the classics of calabresa, margherita and portuguese pizzas are the most ordered.
Mamma Jamma is one of the most popular pizzerias in Rio de Janeiro, for both its warm and relaxed environment and its top of the range pizzas made with a special house dough that comes with both traditional and dessert toppings. The restaurant itself features a color combination of light and dark browns blended with black to give it a fresh, modern feel while the counter, filled with Italian ingredients, gives a homely edge. For a sweet pizza, try the Bambina, the house pizza base covered with a Belgium chocolate sauce and sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts. For a more savory option, try the Mamma Jamma that combines calabresa, mozzarella and Parmesan.
This intimate and authentic pizza restaurant is located in Catete, just north of hotspot Copacabana. This cozy spot has a laid back, relaxed feel, combining a casual environment with gourmet-style wood-oven pizzas. It is one of the most sought after pizzerias in the city, known for its crunchy bases, fresh toppings, draft beers and reasonable prices. The toppings are tasty yet innovative, such as the mozzarella with lemon, rosemary and basil.
With its vibrant, colorful lighting and modern, fresh set up, Faenza creates a lively environment that feels casual and fun. The pizzas here are built from a thin, crunchy base and topped with a variety of fresh, complementary ingredients. One of the most popular services that Faenza provides is the rodizio de pizza – an all you can eat pizza option. Make sure you arrive hungry and raring to eat as the options all look so delicious, it’s hard not to try them all.It even includes the dessert pizzas, too.
Fiammetta Pizza restaurant offers a rustic feel with a wooden interior and exposed brick walls. The pizza is kept simple with just over 20 toppings, concentrating the classic favorites into one menu, and each pizza is roasted in a wooden oven before being freshly served, steaming hot. The most popular pizza on the menu is the simple mozzarella. If you can’t decide between two toppings, ask for meia-meia (half and half) to get both toppings on either half of the pizza.
Capricciosa is an award-winning pizzeria in Rio de Janeiro, known as a casual yet well-attended venue with good, solid pizzas and an extensive wine menu that covers all corners of the globe. The pizza looks and tastes like the real Italian deal with a thin, crispy base and authentic Italian ingredients such as real buffalo mozzarela, ripe, juicy Italian tomatoes and freshly grown and picked basil.
Casa do Sardo offers a relaxed dining experience in a setting with plenty of details to catch your attention; colored panel windows, hanging bottles and pictures of Rio de Janeiro are just some of the visuals on display. The restaurant serves a whole range of Italian dishes including pastas and risottos, but the real stars are the pizzas. Large, puffy bases that are just the right size with generous toppings make the pizzas moreish and satisfying. The Portuguese pizza is popular and there’s also a vegetarian option available.
The combination of wooden tables, wooden panel walls and red lampshades makes Eccellenza feel warm and intimate yet lively enough for a date night or a meal out with friends. The pizza is in gourmet-style with a perfect cupped crust surrounding a generous portion of delicious toppings in the middle. The traditional margherita pizza is one of the most popular on the menu and goes perfectly with any of the full-bodied red wines on offer.
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