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Best foodie spots in Rio de Janeiro

Hello fellow chowhounders!

I'll be visiting Rio in a few months and wanted to get your must-visit foodie joints :) We are not picky so any type of food (sit down, street, hole in the wall) will do. In particular, our friend's parents are hosting us during the trip and we will love to take them out for a yummy dinner (that's kid friendly as well, since a 2 year old will be with us) - any recs?

Our budget is flexible... but will like to get a nice mix of casual to fine dining.

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Have you read any of the threads about Rio yet? If so, does anything 'sing' to you?

    Where do your hosts live? Do you want to have feijoada? If so, here's our fave place:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/741140

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Thanks for the suggestion. Yes I have looked at some recs and these are the ones that sound good so far... any thoughts on these places?

      -Espirito Santa

      -Cachambeer

      -Hachiko

      1. re: javabean116

        I'm not familiar with them but they all sound great!!! We stay in Copa and wind up doing a lot of our eating there. Santa Theresa is such a fun and interesting place. When we were in Rio in Sept. the tram wasn't back running but it's a nice place to go anyway.

        I hope other Rio CHs will see this post (as you can tell it's not real active) and comment on those restaurants. We will sure check them out later in the year and I hope you'll report back. You're going to have SUCH a good time.

    2. Bars (or botecos as we say in portuguese, meaning there's not much comfort relating to furniture or the place itself, although we can eat well, generally snacks, typical brazilian dishes).
      www.bracarense.com.br (site under construction), Rua José Linhares, 85 Leblon.
      www.chicoealaide.com.br
      Adega Perola, Rua Siqueira Campos, 138 - Copacabana.

      Fancier bar
      Astor, Avenida Vieira Souto, 110 Ipanema www.barastor.com.br/o-astor/rio-de-ja... (originally from São Paulo, in front of Ipanema beach).

      Steakhouse, expensive, (all you can eat), but very good, location at Baia de Guanabara (Porcão Rio's) is amazing www.porcao.com.br

      Restaurants
      www.aprazivel.com.br
      www.bazzar.com.br

      Very expensive, she used to cook for a former brazilian presidente (Fernando Henrique Cardoso) in Brasilia. She's on San Pellegrino's best 100 restaurants list. I'm not sure if it would be suitable for a child.
      www.robertasudbrack.com.br
      Enjoy!

      1. Rio is ridiculously beautiful and fun city, but just to set expectations, it's not as far along in the innovative/creative food scene as São Paulo (or any other European/American city).

        That being said, there's still some great food to be had! I spent 3 weeks eating nonstop and the things I absolutely recommend:

        Feijoada at Casa da Feijoada
        - the national dish of Brazil! Served every day of the week here (traditionally only served on the weekends or weds/thurs depending on where you are in Brazil), it's really really good. but it is a little on the pricey side. The other food there is not very good at all, so only stick with the feijoada (and with 8 dishes included, you definitely won't need to order anything else.)
        - If you want to try Feijoada that's about 70% as good for 50% of the price, check out Botequim Informal.

        Açaí and sucos at suco bars/lanchonettes
        - far and away one of my favorite things about Rio is getting a fruit smoothie every day. And the açaí na tigela (açaí in the bowl) are delicious at any time of the day. Everyone has their own favorite suco bars, but I really liked BB Lanches and Polis Sucos. That said, Bibi Sucos and Big Polis are also solid. Most suco bars are stand at the counter/take-away but Bibi sucos has places to sit

        Yummy dinner option - definitely second the recommendation for Espírito Santa in Santa Teresa. Awesome view and really delicious and unique food (Amazonian inspired)
        Another one that's more in town (Leblon) is Zuka - more generic contemporary cuisine, but it's still a nice place to go out.

        Pavao Azul has hands down the best bolinhos de bacalhau in all of Rio - I tried at least a 15 different places and theirs was the best. They also have other great bar food (pastel) and on the weekends have some really great hearty meals.

        If you haven't had brigadeiro before, you should definitely try it as well - it's a chocolate candy/truffle and very Brazilian. I really loved the ones at Colher de Pau (and their torta de brigadeiro is awesome as well).

        The other helpful advice I'd give is to NOT go to antiquarius - it's supposed to be fine dining but the food was expensive and literally inedible. Terrible experience.

        I put together a whole food guide for Rio on my website (http://firstbite.tv/rio) that has a map of these places and a few others. Also made videos about all of these places (www.youtube.com/firstbitetv

        )

        Hope that helps!
        Dana

        ---
        www.firstbite.tv / www.youtube.com/firstbite.tv

        1. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'll definitely be reporting back :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: javabean116

            Lasai has been getting good cover from people I trust. The chef used to work at Mugaritz.

          2. Hi all!

            Been researching some more of other places to grab some good Brazilian food but many of the highly rated places on TripAdvisor seem very expensive. Is this the norm in Rio? Any suggestions of yummy local eats that won't break the bank? I don't mind spending money on a few nice meals, but would like to also be within budget ;)

            Thanks all!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: javabean116

              Yeah, it's surprising but Rio (and Brazil in general) isn't cheap! It'll help if I know where you're staying.

              A couple quick suggestions:
              Though I highly recommend Casa da Feijoada for trying feijoada (Brazil's national dish), it is more expensive. The Botequim Informal offers a feijoada that's probably 70% as good, but half the price (there are also many all over Rio).

              Toca do Siri in Copacabana is more affordable and also a really cute dining experience. The acarajé there is a specialty (deep fried black-eyed pea fritters with a special shrimp sauce).

              Pavao Azul is my absolute favorite boteco/botequim - they have fantastic "bolinho de bacalhau" (deep fried codfish fritters, tastes way better than it sounds) and they also serve more full meals like arroz (a Brazilian style risotto) and escondidinho (like a Brazilian shepherds pie). The weekends especially are good, they'll have rabada (braised oxtail).

              Talho Capixaba in Leblon has an upstairs dining room and nice sandwiches (they're known for their bread).

              Also, grabbing snacks and food at the many many lanchonette/suco bars (fruit smoothies, açaí) is quick, relatively inexpensive and tasty. They'll have sandwiches or other snacks there too. Some, but not all, have places to sit.

              For splurge meals, I highly recommend Espirito Santa!

              1. re: javabean116

                We eat most of our meals out at the little sidewalk places that will have six or eight "plates." One of those meals feeds both of us and includes a large portion of meat with rice, beans and fries! Maybe $12 including two beers.