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Dec 25, 2010 08:43 PM

In search of the absolute best places to eat in Buzios and Rio for true foodies!

Hi! A group of very serious foodies are looking for the best food in Buzios and Rio! We are looking for everything from street food stands to expensive high end dining experiences. Can anyone help? Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. Le Pre-Catelan at Sofitel Hotel in Copacabana (Posto 6) - Dinner only - Menu Amazônico by Roland Villlard - it is very expensive but it is a complete course meal with ingredients from the north of Brasil with a french twist. The "costela de tambaqui" is to die for (you can also get it in a larger portion on the regular menu if you don't want to go on the full course menu). Try to make a reservation for seats by the window, overlooking Copacabana beach.
    Academia da Cachaça - Conde de Bernadote, Leblon - moderate - cachaças(Brazilian alcoholic beverage) from all over Brasil. Don't miss the "escondidinho de carne seca" (dried jerky meat hidden in manioc puree and requeijão cheese) and the variety of drinks with cachaça.
    Chico & Alayde - Dias Ferreira @ Bartolomeu Mitre, Leblon - they used to work at Bracarense, a traditional bar in Leblon. Great variety of "salgadinhos" (bite size appetizers) such as "bolinho de tutu"(black bean savory), "bolinho de rabada"(ox tail savory), "maravilha de camarão"(shrimp savory), etc., Drink icy cold chopp (draft beer) or caipirinha (lime, sugar and cachaça). The food is not cheap, but worth it.
    Aconchego Carioca - Barão de Iguatemi, 379 - Praça da Bandeira - moderate - Great selection of beers (Brazilian and foreign). Don't miss the "bolinho de feijoada"(black bean stew savory) & "jiló do Claude"(gilo vegetable with goat cheese of chef Claude Troigros) for appetizers. Pork ribs in guava paste for main dish. Katia's food is quite yummy.
    Majórica - Rua Senador Vergueiro close to Rua Paissandu, Flamengo - moderate - meat such as picanha, triangulo de picanha(tip/triangle of the picanha cut), fraldinha (skirt) in Brazilian style barbecue. Ask just for the "linguiça" (sausage) with "molho a campanha"(sauce) for appetizer, not the entire "couvert"(bread, butte, etc). Order "batatas portuguesas"(portuguese style fries), "arroz maluco" or "camelo"(rice with either dried meat or bacon, eggs, etc), "farofa dolabella"(manioc flour with eggs) to share. Most meat orders can be shared by two to three people in average.
    Porcão Rio's - Aterro do Flamengo - expensive - all you can eat Brazilian barbecue place. Full salad bar, with some hot food(buffett style), with skewers of meat served at the table. Desserts and beverages are at additional cost. Some tables have a great view of Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf).
    Adegão Português - São Cristóvão - expensive - Portuguese food. Lots of dishes with cod fish (bacalhau), and Portuguese desserts (lots of desserts made with sugar and egg yolks).
    Olympe - Jardim Botânico - very expensive - chef Claude Troigros from the french Troigros family (traditional family of chefs). French cuisine with some Brazilian twist. The "biscoito de polvilho"(biscuit sold at the beach) with curry for couvert, crepe passion (crepe souffle with passion fruit), I believe his son, Thomas, is now in charge.
    Adonis - Benfica - cheap - black bean stew on Fridays. The best feijoada, but it runs out fast if you don't reserve and the place is quite far from Zona Sul.
    Siri Mole & Cia - Rua Raul Pompéia at Rua Francisco Otaviano, Copacabana - expensive - seafood dishes typical from Bahia. "Casquinha de carangueijo"(crab) for appetizer, "Muqueca de siri mole"(soft shell stew) or "Bobó de camarão"(shrimp manioc stew) for main dish.
    Botequim - at the end of Rua Visconde de Caravelas, Botafogo - cheap to moderate - on saturdays, they have feijoada. At night, they have "pastéis" (patties). Simple but well made homey food. Most dishes are good to share. For appetizer, order the "caldinho de feijão" (thick black bean soup).
    Oliveira - Humaitá (center sidewalk) - cheap - hot dog stand. Sausage(not franks) hot dog recommended with parsley sauce (molho de salsa). Good for late night quick bite.
    Pastel da feira da General Glicério - early saturdays only. very cheap. Pastel de vento (fried airy patties with several types of fillings). Drink "caldo de cana" (sugar cane juice). Depending on the time you go, they have some musicians playing typical music. Not sure of the name of the street vendor, but you will see lots of people crowded eating the "pasteis".
    Belmonte Flamengo - Praia do Flamengo close to Rua Tucumã - moderate - it's the first one, I don't like the other branches. It is a "pé-limpo"(clean foot), nicer bars as opposed to tons of "pé-sujo"(dirty foot - bars with tiles on the wall, no seats, no AC spread throughout the city) - icy cold chopp (draft beer). Lots of people watching if you stand outside. "Pastel de camarão catupiry" (shrimp with catupiry cheese patties - but different dough from the feira above) recommended.
    Cervantes - Rua Prado Júnior @ corner of Barata Ribeiro, Copacabana - cheap - closed mondays, open late. Quick service. Good for late night snacks - they are know for their sandwiches (filé com queijo e abacaxi - steak with cheese and pineapple). I prefer without pineapple and with a side order of fried garlic added to the sandwich.
    Mil Frutas - several locations - artisanal ice cream with tons of fruit flavors, thus the name "thousand fruits". Ask for free samples of the different fruits available.

    I guess that´s most of the places that I could remember now with Brazilian food. I was´t sure if you'd be interested in eating not typical food...

    Have a great trip.

    3 Replies
    1. re: akibr

      Thank you so much! Just landed and so excited about your post!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. re: Drehound

        You are welcome.
        Forgot to mention that most places will automatically add 10% gratuity to the bill. The tax is not discriminated as in US. If you see an additional 10% (sometims 12to15%), it means the tip has already been added. Cervantes is one of the few places that don't, but being that you are a foreigner, they might.
        The "couvert" (bread basket, butter, etc) are charged at an additional cost. Decline if not interested. Le Pre-Catelan is an exception and don't charge for it.
        Do you speak any portuguese? Be aware that you may be charged premium prices for being a foreigner, specially at the beach and street vendors... An icy cold coconut water is always welcome at the beach, and once you are done, ask them to open the coconut so that you can eat the fruit. I haven't done that in a while, so I am not sure of the price... I guess it may be around R$3, but you will need to check how much they are charging locals.
        Good luck!

        1. re: akibr

          The general rule with the service charge is if you receive professional service they charge 10%, but if the owner or their children are serving you in most cases it would be omitted. That can obviously vary in touristy areas and if you don't speak much Portuguese, but there are lots of places where it won't be charged. They also can't obligate you to pay it, but if the waiter is only earning his 10% they won't hesitate to call it to your attention if you refuse to pay.

          Many cities are only allowing beachside coconut water vendors to use presses which perforate the coconut and explicitly ban opening with a "facão" (machete) so it maybe hard to get beachside vendors to give you the meat. This is for higene and also to reduce litter/waste. A few blocks away maybe easier. BTW with both beer and green coconuts you pay extra for "gelado" (cold), the coconuts you can get for R$1 themselves but will pay more cold.

          Drehound akibr took a lot of time to give you detailed recs, I especially like the multiple salgadinho suggestions. How are you getting to the Regiao dos Lagos (Búzios)? If you get a chance check out Cabo Frio and Rio das Ostras too (this in particular is nice in the evening -- good for strolling, live music, etc). The main highway to the Regiao dos lagos (Via Lagos) is a bit lacking in local color, I sort of like some of the back routes out from Maricá where you can find places which sell "costelão" (beef ribs) and other alternative local places. I wouldn't necessarily go out of your way exactly for that, but if you have transportation definitely poke around and if driving be careful because there are a lot of bad accidents in the regiao dos lagos particularly with impatient drivers passing improperly.

    2. Probably a little late but for Buzios Bar do Ze on Rua das Pedras is my favorite place in the area. Get the seafood risotto, which is probably the best that I have ever had. They also have caipirinhas with lychee, which I love and are hard to find. The place is not cheap, though. There is also a fancier, bistro-type place called Cigalon also on Rua das Pedras that I remember being good and not very expensive for a higher-end place. For a quicker, cheaper alternative the crepes at Chez Michou are surprisingly decent. If you go to Geriba beach, getting a fried whole fish at Fishbone is a nice lunch (though I forget the pricing). I would avoid Satyricon as though it has the same name/logo as the Satyricon in Rio I have heard that it is of inferior quality (and similar prices).

      1. Thanks to everyone who contributed above for the great information. Rather than start a new thread for my query, I'm going to ride on this one where I have the attention of some very well-informed hounds.

        I am going to be in Rio for 6 days at the end of March and of course am trying to learn as much as possible about what to eat when I'm there. But beyond recommendations for specific restaurants, I'm wondering if there are some general dining tips that would be useful to know before going. Like, how do I tell a tourist trap from a place that locals would embrace? Is it necessary to venture into seedier neighborhoods to have an authentic experience? Are there certain dishes or cuisines associated with specific parts of the city? What are some must-have foods or experiences?

        Thank you in advance for your feedback. For what it's worth, I am from San Francisco, speak just a little bit of Portuguese, and have been to Sao Paulo once before. I will eat anything that won't hurt me. All price ranges are okay, though my most memorable food experiences while traveling tend to be at casual places or holes in the wall.

        1 Reply
        1. re: the mess

          Be careful of those all-you-can-eat appetizers (rodizio) places at Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana - they are definately tourist traps. And their food looks awful (never had the courage to taste it, the smell of the oil alone are off putting).

        2. Forgot to ask - does Rio have some kind of giant central marketplace similar to the Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo? I would also be happy with a grittier, open-air version of that.


          3 Replies
          1. re: the mess

            Rio is somewhat unique in not having a large Mercado Municipal because their market was knocked down in roughly the 50s. What I think Rio does best is feiras and there is a wide variety from farmers markets to the feira hippy in Ipanema (you can see some recs for pasteis from a feira above, a lot of people go for 'tapioca' a yuca starch pancake at the feira hippy) in all neighborhoods. One that meets your criteria which I particularly like is the Feira de São Cristovão also known as the Feira Nordestina which originally started more or less under the freeway but has moved to a permanent location. That is in the Zona Norte so some would consider it the subúrbio, although its a common tourist (and local) destination just use some good common sense getting to and from there (I can't comment on taking the train out there as I have gone taxi, car, and bus only). Your other question will take a bit more time to answer. The short answer is you can find a lot of variety just in Ipanema, Copa, and Leblon, maybe adding Botofogo, Barra or the Centro. They are tourist havens and areas where Brazilians who have means to eat out live so there is a lot more variety than you might find in lets say Jacarepagu'a where I have stayed before so really no need to leave the metro. That said if you are in Rio many people travel to see the sights such as Santa Teresa, Urca, the buildings in the Centro, beaches and malls in Barra, Cristo and maybe the floresta de Tijuca. (Maracanã is another common destination for some tourists, but not something I would suggest heading off to on your own and its closed for games but maybe open for tours right now??) A little bit of sightseeing will take you all over at least the South part of Rio and you can find recs for most of these areas in past threads.

            1. re: itaunas

              We spent a long and wonderful evening in Sao Cristovao and loved every bit of it. A carioca friend and his wife, who speak NO English and our Portuguese sucks, took us there. We had a total, complete blast. Good food, drinks, dancing, crafts. My normally quiet husband even sang karaoke (?sp) --- he had had MANY caipirinhas by then :)

              I agree with you, itaunas, that it's difficult to make specific suggestions as much of our eating, when we were first visitng and doing a lot of sightseeing, was done in the areas that we were visiting.

              I'm trying to think of specific dishes; you're WAY better at that than I. Certainly feijoada on Saturday. Bobo do camarao. Bacalao in various forms. Does one HAVE to go to the "seedier" areas? I don't think I particularly like that term. We tend to eat where the working class locals do and sometimes that's in light industrial/side street areas.

              As you say, more searches should give OP specifc recs and general information. We're heading down in late April for a couple of weeks and just writing this little bit has gotten me in the mood :)

              I've attached some pix of some food we've eaten.

              ETA: pic #1 feijoada, #2 bolinhos de bacalao and pastel de catupiry, #3 frando de milanes, #4 typical menu (although they're usually small and written on a chalkboard, #5 sweets vendor at the Hippie Feira on Sunday.

              1. re: itaunas

                Not sure if it will still help anyone... Sorry I was away...
                Feira de São Cristovão is a great suggestion. Food is cheap but not necessarily memorable. It is quite typical though. I prefer to eat at Adegão Portugues across the street(but it is Portuguese food)....
                If one is adventurous enough, they can go to CADEG in Benfica. I have never been to Mercado Municipal in SP, so I don't know if it will have any resemblence. It is a place where lots of restaurants go for vegetables, etc, and they have some places one can eat, even a nice restaurant called Barsa (quite tasty and you can bring your own wine for a small fee - there is plenty of wine store on site).

            2. Thanks for the tips. I will definitely check out Sao Cristovao and the feira nordestina.

              In my research I came across a neighborhood out in the Zona Oeste called Vargem Grande, which seems to be a gastronomic hotspot these days. Can anyone comment on it? It seems pretty far from the main drags of the city, so I'm wondering if it's worth the trip.

              (This place in particular has caught my attention: http://www.gugut.com.br/)

              1 Reply
              1. re: the mess

                There are quite a few restaurants there but I really don't think it is worth to go all the way there.
                But if you decide to go all the way there, at least go to the beach at Grumari and I think there is a garden designed by Burle Marx (I haven't been there either). If going all the way out there, I would go to Bira at Pedra da Guaratiba. Their pastéis(fried savory patties) and caipirinhas(cachaça drink) are really good, and quite nice moqueca capixaba (fish stew). And you can also see some small monkeys depending on the time of the day. You will need to go there by car and there is a quite big steep to park it there.