Rio de Janeiro suggestions
I'm going the first week in april with my husband and 9 yr old son. We live in NYC so have some decent restaurants but would really appreciate suggestions anyone may have. Also if anyone knows the area, I'm trying to decide staying on COpacabana beach (Excelsior) or in Barra (Sheraton). WHich is further away but supposed to have bigger rooms and have a nicer beach. TIA!
Although I have lived in NYC for more than 10 years, Rio is my hometown, and I can give you some food advice. Regarding the hotel, I wouldn't stay in Barra. It's a nice area but it is too far from everything, especially if you have a traffic jam in front of you. Which happens often to get in and out of Barra. I would stay in Ipanema or Leblon. Copacabana is a very good location, but I just don't like the vibe... It's ok, though.
Now, let's get into the food:
Portuguese/Brazilian: Antiquarius. It's considered one of the best restaurants in Rio and IMO it is true... It's expensive, but with the dolar relatively strong compared to the Brazilian real you will get a really good deal for a restaurant of this level.
Olympia: The new place from chef Claude Troisgros. It's supposed to be really good, but I have never been.
Pizza: Cappriciosa, Alessandro e Frederico. Brazilian pizza is really good. Don't miss it.
Lunch, quick bite: Alessandro e Frederico, Gula-Gula, Celeiro
Icecream: Mil Frutas - as the name says, 1000 Fruits. You can taste icecream made with different kinds of tropical fruits. White chocolate with passion fruit is my favorite. They have 2 locations: Rua Garcia D'Avila (Ipanema) and Rua J.J. Seabra. Don't miss it!
Juices: Brazilian juice stands are amazing. My favorite is a store in Ipanema, Rua Maria Quiteria with Rua Visconde de Piraja. Don't miss it!
Steak House: Not Rodizio style, but the best meat you can get in Rio, Esplanada Grill, Rua Anibal de Mendonça
Kilo: try a kilo, you pay buy the weight like in a NYC deli, but the experience is quite different, waiter service, great food. Fellini and da Silva are my favorites. It's a good way to try different Brazilian dishes since it's buffet style.
Cozinha Contemporanea: (a kind of "New Brazilian" Cuisine, traditional ingredients with a fancy twist): Carlota (Rua Dias Ferreira, Leblon) is wonderful, if you go try the petit-gateau de doce de leite or the goiabada soufle for dessert! Also good Atelier Culinario.
Go to a Botequim after the beach, as the cariocas do: Bracarense and Manuel e Joaquim are 2 good options. You can have salgadinhos (Brazilian savory snacks) and beer. Manuel e Joaquim has dinner too. Bracarense is located in Leblon and Manuel e Joaquim has different locations in the city.
Italian: Fratelli in Leblon and Artegiano in Ipanema,are inexpensive and very good. Gero is more expensive, more of a scene and a grown up place, but it's really good.
Drinks: Academia da Cachaça, Leblon. You can taste different kinds of cachaça, the liquor we make caipirinhas and batidas with.
Try a tapioca. They sell on carts on the street. It's a kind of crepe made with yuca flour. Really tasty.
Degrau: Leblon. This restaurant has been around forever and serves traditional Brazilian food. They have a huge menu with fish, pasta, chicken and beef options. I would compare loosely to a diner, but not quite...