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May 4, 2008 03:01 PM

Rio de Janeiro and Ipanema, Brazil Suggestions Please

We're in Rio now, staying in Ipanema. Since we broke the budget in Sao Paulo, we'd like suggestions for memorable dining in Rio (particularly Ipanema, Copacabana and Leblon) that is around R$50 per person (in other words affordable) for dinner. We really like modern, creative food. We've read the restaurant suggestions for Rio on Chow's South America Board (as well as Lonely Planet and the Quatro Rodas Guidebook) so we're looking for new ideas. In the past couple of days, we eaten dinner in our neighborhood at:

Opium Restaurant, Rua Farme de Amoeda, Ipanema (good, not cheap)
Via Farme, Rua Farme de Amoeda, Ipanema (good and inexpensive)
Galitos (R$37 for a complete meal for 2!), Rua Farme de Amoeda, Ipanema. The chicken was good and not too dry.
Fazendola (R$37 for a complete meal for 2!), Praca Gal Osorio, Rua Jangeriros 24,Ipanema. The buffet was good.

and lunch at
Celeiro, Dias Ferreira 199 in Leblon (very good, not cheap)
Alessandro e Frederico, R. Garcia D'Avila 151, Ipanema (good and over-priced)

A Chowhounder called kiwichef gave us the following suggestions:

My favorite churrasco for lunctimes is "Barao" and Rua Candido Mendes (the Gloria end)'s packed out with a male dominated clientele who enjoy barbeque food, beans(feijoa), arroz, french fries, salad, vinagrette, olive oil, limes and your favortie bbq beef, chicken, or pork...for $8.00 reias. The atmosphere is real working class, down and dirty but the food is fast and fresh off the grill.....

Another place I go for barsnacks, and great Arabian food is Restuarant Cinleandia, in a a small sidestreet, off the street the Theatre or Teatro is on...I don't know the name I'm's a street between the Teatro and Petrobras building.. and is a real pedestrian thorougfare. The quibes, and limes here are the best in lunchtimes this place packs out with over a 100 at each sitting, with the business crowd ...the pay about 24 reias a piece for some top notch Arabian cuisine. I love this place.

Another hole in the wall I go to is a place called Eskimo Restaurant downtown in Rua Travessa de Lavradio ( I think) gett off at Carioca station, cross Rio Branco and, and its off Rua Assembleia I think. ...there's also a great bookshop in the same street, other places worth going for lunch are Bar Luiz on Carioca Street for some authentic German fare...I like it for lunch and good beer, and their potato salad is esquisite

Most cariocas eat out for lunch, and have a light the real restuarant bustle and buzz is at lunch times...

I dont eat at fine dining places much. I understand Satyricon is the best seafood....shellfish...... Food from Minas Gerias or Mineiro cuisine is very good...if you a sign advertising food caseira comida, that means homemade and it's often good.

Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.

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  1. Some inexpensive suggestions in Ipanema and Leblon:
    Degrau - traditional carioca place, Brazilian food
    Artigiano - Italian, cash only, moderate price
    Stravaganza - really good pizzaria
    Fellini - it's a kilo, you pay by the weight like in Fazendola, but it's much better. Or at least used to be. I haven't been there in a while
    Go for sandwiches and juices in a juice bar, Polis Sucos, at Maria Quiteria Street in Ipanema is quite good
    Have a tapioca (yuca flour crepe) at a street cart
    Go for ice cream at Mil Frutas at Garcia D'Avila (Ipanema)
    Go to a botequim for salgadinhos (savory Brazilian snacks) and beer after the beach. Manoel e Joaquim in Copacabana is quite good, they also serve food. Another very traditional botequim in Rio is Bracarense in Leblon.
    These are all inexpensive suggestions, I understand that you are not looking for upscale places. But there are a lot of good restaurants in Rio if you decide to go for a special meal do a search in this board.
    I have been to Satyricon in Buzios and it was good but nothing special. I have never been to the one in Rio.
    I am glad you liked Brasil a Gosto in Sao Paulo, it's one of my favorite restaurants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Toot

      Will you be there on a Sunday? There is a "Hippie Market" only a short walk from the beach at Ipenema. The crafts are so-so, but there are food stands, and you can sample some lovely things for a few dollars a plate. I had a wonderful dessert called Cocada, made from fresh coconut.

    2. You could try Capricciosa (Rua Vinicius de Morais, 134) or La Forneria (Rua Maria Quiteria, 136) for italian/pizza in Ipanema. I do not remember prices exactly offhand but I remember thinking neither was really expensive for the quality and for the neighborhood. There is also a gourmet/upscale deli/restaurant chain called Doce Delicia,, which has restaurants in both Leblon and Ipanema (Rua Anibal de Mendonca, 55 and others). It is around your price range and offers a pretty diverse selection with very good quality. Finally, if you like sushi, a new popular thing in Rio and in a lot of places in Brasil is temaki (handroll) stands. The menu contains only handrolls and the averge cost of each one is around R$9. Koni is one such temaki chain in Rio with outposts in Ipanema and Leblon and the quality is surprisingly very good. Good for lunch or a quick snack during the day.

      Re: Satyricon, I have only been to the one in Rio and it is top notch. Expensive, but worth it. I have not been to the Buzios outpost but have heard it is not nearly as good as the one in Rio. From what I understand the two are not owned/operated by the same people and even though the name and general food offerings are the same, the menu is different and so is the overall food quality and experience.

      1. -Bar do Mineiro in Santa Tereza for comida Mineira and an extensive cachaca collection
        -Confeiteria Colombo for a magnificent paderia experience
        -O Caranguejo has the best empadas de camarao and their seafood is great.I also remember this being inexpensive.Check it out.
        -Barra Grill in Barra da Tijuca for churrasco

        3 Replies
        1. re: streetgourmetla

          Hello streetgourmetia and Thank You! We went to O Caranguejo last night for dinner and had a wonderful meal. The empada de camerao was unusual and delicious. We had a great time (eating too much) and talking with the doctor and her friend at the next table. And, our bill was R$117, right on target! We would love to have your suggestions for other restaurants like that one in the Copacabana/Ipanema area. Thank you again
          PS We had lunch at Confeiteria Colombo on Monday!

          1. re: aledm

            De nada.I was just there in Rio and Sampa at the end of March.Wish I could go back right now reading your reports.

            For a carioca classic, Sopa Leao Veloso, try Rio Minho in centro.
            Rua do Ouvidor, 10. Centro. Fone: 21-2509-2338

            Academia da Cachaca is pure fun with cachacas for days and a great traditional menu located in Leblon.

            Bracarense or Devassa for a botequim, also located in Leblon.Devassa choppe is fantastic.The bolinho de aipim(mandioca) com camarao e catupiry at Bracarense is worth the trip.Cervantes for a sanduiche de file com quiejo e abacaxi.

            A Mineira is a Mineira style buffet that is inexpensive, delicious, and you get to sample so many foods from the substantial Minas Gerais region.I enjoyed the moqueca at Siri, Mole, e CIA very much in Arpoador a few years ago; I noticed they have a Kiosk on Copacabana now, as well as Bar Luis and Vienna.Hmmmm......

            My friend/driver in Rio took us to Baby Lanches on Rua Constante Ramos for sucos and salgadinhos, right by Avenida Atlantica which we really liked.Great coxinhas com catupiry, my favorite. We also had sublime bolinhos de bacalhao at Tia Augusta's in Barra da Tijuca at the end of the beach heading towards Sao Conrado and Leblon.Marcos was going on about their hotdogs but we stuck with the bolinhos and our Skols.

            The milho verde just outside Pao de Azucar on Av. Pasteur.It's a cart.

            A Brazilian pizza de catupiry, perhaps from Braz along with pao de calabrese.

            Boa sorte.

            1. re: aledm

              Oh, and Aprazivel for a splurge and lunch at Restaurant 476.

          2. For modern, creative food in your price range, you might try:

            - Zuka, on Dias Ferreira in Leblon (same owners as Sushi Leblon across the street, also highly recommended). The menu is designed to take advantage of the massive grill open to the dining room (if you don't mind a little heat, the bar in front of the grill is an interesting place to sit). Highlights among the starters include a nice ceviche, fresh palm hearts topped with tapenade, "queijo coalho", and, last saturday the chef was testing out a duck confit spring roll that I can only hope makes it onto the regular menu. Mains are an even split between meats and seafood. A typical entree is the seared tuna served with a horseradish-y palmheart "fettucine" (it's actually the fresh palm hearts cut into a long, thin julienne).

            - ZaZa, in Ipanema, between the beach and Praça N.S. da Paz: a mix of asian, indian and caribbean influences. Try the mix of appetizers (samosas, ceviche, tuna tartare, and one other thing that I can't quite remember). On the 2nd floor, tables give way to pillows on the floor, and diners can have their meal as they lounge.

            - Bazzar, next to the gay bordello on Barão da Torre in Ipanema: a reasonably modern menu in a clean space on a residential street in Ipanema.

            There are some other more traditional-style places that may fit the bill as well, like Guimas (Paul Redfern in Ipanema) or La Cigale (bistrot-style food on Aristides Espinola in Leblon; the veal leg, served with creamy risoni, is a frequent guilty pleasure of mine).

            1. sp definitely has better restaurant options than rio, but it is improving. i will give you my suggestions by neighborhood:

              - rua dias ferreira : the "restaurant row" of rio. my favorites are carlota (a sp import), zuka (i like the fish), sawasdee (thai - kinda too salty but fulfills my asian cravings). esch cafe is a great cigar bar w/ live music on the weekends. there are 5 sushi restaurants on this street - sushi leblon is good but totally overrated, manekineko is cute but inconsistent, deusimar is intimate and best value - the others are average.
              - antiquarius: traditional cod (bacalhau) restaurant. very heavy but very good if you like salted cod.
              - nam thai - other thai place
              - zaza: cute date place - martinis are fun.
              - botecos: you have to go for chopps at the traditional botecos. jobi, bracarense, belmonte are famous.
              - rua conde de bernadotte: this is a mall by day and a bar scene by night. there are 5 bar/restaurants right next to each other so weekends are packed. academia de cachaca is my favorite - and their feijoada on sundays is really good! (with a shot of aged cachaca and honey)
              - koni - this is an AWESOME handroll place with locations all over the city. always fresh b/c of high turnover. i go there 2-3 times a week for lunch. they need to open up in ny. now there are copy cats all over though. this one in leblon is the original location.

              :ipanema/jardim botanico:
              - more expensive: gero (italian), fasano hotel (seafood), baazar, mr. lam (chinese)
              - bras (sp import - pizza)
              - nakombi (sp import - japanese)
              - caroline cafe

              :santa teresa:
              - asia - new malaysian restaurant - chefs have been imported from malaysia! by far the most asian authentic restaurant in the city

              local restaurants w/ several locations that aren't so bad:
              - gula gula
              - guimas
              - belmonte (bar food)

              my favorite restaurant to take tourist friends:
              - bira : bahian food - yummy! you need a car and someone who knows where it is. great sunset, great food and little monkies who try to eat your desserts.