With more than 900 restaurants, Rio’s dining choices are broad, from low-key Middle Eastern cafes to elegant contemporary eateries with award-winning kitchens and first-class service. The succulent offerings in the churrascarias (restaurants specializing in grilled meats) can be mesmerizing for meat lovers—especially the places that serve rodizio style (grilled meat on skewers is continuously brought to your table—until you can eat no more). The only way to handle Rio de Janeiro’s vast array of good restaurants is by writing several lists. This one is based on two of the most prestigious sources of travel and entertainment information in Brazil: Guia Brasil Quatro Rodas and Revista Veja. Here, you will find links to some of Rio’s top restaurants, ranging from upscale to casual, in different food categories. Hotel restaurants often serve the national dish, feijoada (a hearty stew of black beans and pork), on Saturday—sometimes Friday, too. Wash it down with a chopp (the local draft beer; pronounced “shop”) or a caipirinha (Brazilian rum, lime, and sugar).
This traditional restaurant is credited with bringing Portuguese cuisine, one of the staples of the Brazilian food heritage, to an enhanced level that benefits both from fine dishes such as Bacalhau a Lagareiro — a signature codfish recipe
Located in a charming, hilly neighbourhood — Santa Teresa — Aprazivel (which means “pleasant”, as in relation to a place) has a casual, rustic feel and a menu that explores the bounty of Brazilian vegetable gardens.
This restaurant in Leblon features the buffet system known in Brazil as restaurante por quilo, or “kilo restaurant”. Plates are weighed and you just pay for what you get. It features organic choices and a great variety of light dishes.
Gero belongs to the Fasano Group, a Brazil household name in upscale restaurants and now also in hotels. The Leblon location follows the style of the original restaurant, in Sao Paulo. Among the many highlights is Gero’s fresh-made pasta.
Located near the Botanical Garden, the restaurant belongs to one of the best chefs in Brazil: Frenchman Claude Troisgros, who has a flair for incorporating Brazil’s culinary traditions into his art
Le Pré Catelan
Another French restaurant makes the list: Guia Brasil Quatro Rodas 2008 has nominated Roland Villard 2007 Chef of the Year.
Category: Brazilian Steakhouse
Unabashedly named Big Pig, Rio’s most famous churrascaria de rodízio, or all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurant, has locations in Miami and New York as well.
Chef Roberta Sudbrack’s place in the Botanical Garden area. Her style is known for its mix of classical and daring recipes.
Great Rio de Janeiro Seafood Restaurants
Rio’s wealth of seafood restaurants finds its highest expression both in the note-perfect sophistication of Fasano al Mare and in the unaffected abundance of Off-Barra eateries
Named after one of the neighborhoods in Sao Paulo where waves of Italian immigrants settled around the beginning of the 20th century, the Braz location in the Botanical Garden area features the same pizzas that brought well-deserved fame to the original Sao Paulo restaurants.