One of the best ways to explore the culture of a country is by tasting its traditional meals, recipes that have passed though generations carrying the history of a nation. So, if you are planning to visit the wonderful Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, you will have the opportunity to immerse into a culinary scene that is filled with African, American and European influences, a unique Carioca identity. From ordinary every day dishes to exotic creations by awarded chefs, Rio has an exiting offering that can adapt to any kind of palate.
Discover the iconic meals that this amazing city has for you and learn about the restaurants that celebrate and honor those flavors. Get ready for the ultimate foodie experience with this selection of the 10 best foods and where to get them.
1. Picanha butterfly at Churrascaria Palace
You can start you culinary adventure in Rio in one of the most traditional restaurants in Copacabana: Churrascaria Palace. Brazil takes pride in its churrascarías, a kind of barbecue-style steakhouse with an all-you-can-eat system - a paradise for meat-lovers. Founded in the 50s, Churrascaria Palace has an excellent staff that serves quality meat at more affordable prices than some other venues.
They offer a buffet with a salad bar, seafood and sushi options, but it’s best to focus on the meat. You can taste fantastic traditional Brazilian cuts like chorizo steak, ribs or the emblematic creation of the house, the picanha butterfly. The staff will continue to serve you every time your place is empty, so remember to tell them when you are ready to stop.
Address: Rua Rodolfo Dantas 16, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Churrascaria Palace
2. Moqueca in Nomangue
Bobó de camarão , impossível resistir ! #nomanguefrutosdomar #nomanguebarra #nomanguecopacabana #seafood #sextafeira #bobodecamaraoPosted by Nomangue on Friday, 4 November 2016
Another superb alternative if you are if the Copacabana area is Nomangue. Specializing in seafood, it is the best place in Rio if you want to try Moqueca, a hearty fish stew based on coconut milk. While this is a traditional dish from the state of Espírito Santo and Bahia, it is popular among the locals in the winter months, when the “Festas Juninas” (June Parties) celebrate Northeastern culture.
Chefs Vaval Souza and Juliana Nogueira, who are married, have been serving sophisticated flavors since 2012. You can also order the Spagherri com Frutos do Mar (seafood spaghetti) or the bobó de camarão (a sort of shrimp dumpling) if you want to taste the chef’s signature specialties.
Address: Rua Sá Ferreira, 25, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3. Caipirinhas at Academia da Cachaça
Criadas pela Academia da Cachaça com as melhores combinações: Brasileira, Magnífica, Providência e Acadêmia são as...Posted by Academia da Cachaça on Sunday, 30 July 2017
The national cocktail is celebrated in Academia da Cachaça, considered the best place to enjoy caipirinhas not only in Rio, but in the world. This deliciously sweet drink can be prepared with passion fruit, lemon, tropical fruits or other fresh ingredients, but the base is always the same: cachaça, Brazil’s signature sugarcane liquor.
Located in the trendy neighborhood of Leblon, Academia da Cachaça was born to create a space where this spirit could be tasted and appreciated. They have over 100 different kinds from all across the country, and they can be accompanied by traditional food, like feijoada or escondidinho. They also offer other high quality cocktails, like Cocada Geladinha or Capeta. If you are not sure what to order, trust in the staff. They will know how to give you the true Brazilian flavor.
Academia da Cachaça
Address: R Conde de Bernadotte, 26, ljs EFG, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Academia da Cachaça (in Portugese)
4. Tapioca in Capim Santo
One of the most emblematic restaurants in the Brazilian scene is Capim Santo, home of Chef Morena Leite. With headquarters in Trancoso, this embassy of contemporary gastronomy has expanded to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to continue the tradition of serving incredible meals. The concept is to value the Brazilian ingredients and offer healthy and tasty versions with French techniques.
Capim Santo has a friendly dynamic where the menu is reserved for dinner and lunch is served as a buffet with six different stations that include traditional beans and tapioca, a type of gluten-free starch that is typical in Brazil. Whatever you order will be an example of a classic Brazilian dish, with a twist, like the bolinho de feijoada or the green brigadeiros, a reinvention of Morena’s grandmother’s recipe.
Address: Av. das Américas, 3900, Barra da Tijuca (Shopping Village Mall, 3º piso), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Capim Santo
5. Pastel de nata at Confeitaria Colombo
A journey back to the national Belle Époque. This Carioca institution has served the upper-class from Rio, famous artists, influential politicians and general public for over 120 years. Confeitaria Colombo features a fantastic atmosphere with art nouveau decor elements, like stained glass from France, jacaranda-framed mirrors from Belgium or tiles from Portugal.
The wonderful experience that Confeitaria Colombo offers is topped with products that seemed to be baked in heaven: salgados (savory snacks), savory pastries filled with shrimp and chicken, legendary waffles, biscuits and the traditional Pastel de nata (custard tart).
If you happen to be in Rio during the months of May, June, and July you can have the traditional afternoon tea, with over 60 items between drinks, breads and salted and sweet biscuits. Even though they have opened a branch in Copacabana, you should get to the original store.
Address: Rua Gonçalves Dias 32, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Confeitaria Colombo (in Portugese)
6. Açaí at Porto do Sabor
What was eaten by indigenous tribes for energy, was then turned into an essential super food for surfers in Rio de Janeiro in the 80s and is now an everyday treat in Brazil. Açaí is a fruit from the Amazon that is served as a frozen sorbet mixed with syrup or sugar to sweeten it up. It can be found almost everywhere in Rio, but if you are in the tourist area of Barra da Tijuca you should head to Porto do Sabor.
Since they sell more than five tonnes of açaí per month, you can understand why they are locally acclaimed as one of the best places to have it. You can choose different toppings to add to your order, like banana or granola, and complete your choice with an interesting offer of sandwiches or salads, among many options of their menu.
Porto do Sabor
Address: Av das Americas 7607 - loja 106, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Porto do Sabor (in Portugese)
7. Feijoada at Casa da Feijoada
Que tal quebrar a rotina e se deliciar com uma feijoada completa? É a melhor do Rio, hein! Te esperamos para o almoço... bom apetite! :)Posted by Casa da Feijoada on Tuesday, 23 October 2012
The star in Brazilian gastronomy is the feijoada. It’s a meal that is served all along the wide territory of this country and is traditionally eaten on Saturdays, since the original recipe takes 24 hours to make. This black beans, sausages and cuts of pork stew can be joined with rice and orange slices as a side, and it is really the best way to taste Brazil’s true flavors.
Casa da Feijoada in Rio serves daily with a menu that includes rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted and seasoned manioc flour), aipim (cassava), torresminho (pork rinds) and orange slices as a side, and a choice of dessert and a lime or passion-fruit batida (creamy cachaça cocktail). Their menu includes quite strong caipirinhas and other dishes like shrimp in coconut milk.
Casa da Feijoada
Address: Rua Prudente de Moraes, n°10-B, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Casa da Feijoada (in Portugese)
8. Grilled fish at Restaurante Aprazível
Considered one of the best restaurants in Rio, Aprazível provides a natural ambiance, with outdoor tables in the garden that features breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro and the Guanabara Bay. Chef Ana Castilho pays homage to Brazil and its roots by creating tasty meals with ingredients selected from all over the country. Different influences are showcased, like the wonderful orange-infused grilled fish with coconut rice, cashews and roasted plantains. The wine list also includes the best of Brazil, the perfect company for a dish that showcases true flavors.
Address: Rua Aprazível 62, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Restaurante Aprazível
9. Grill creations at Zuka
Chef Ludmilla Soeiro’s creations are mainly born on the grill displayed for customers in the restaurant’s open kitchen. Dining in Zuka is tasting pure creativity. The menu is divided into two proposals: on one hand, Ember and Sea, on the other, Air and Earth.
You can be delighted by the grilled fish of the day with truffle sauce or the honey-glazed duck breast with Moroccan couscous. You will get Brazil’s grill tradition taken to another level - a more exotic and sophisticated one.
Address: Rua Dias Ferreira, 233B, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website: Zuka (in Portugese)
10. Fried Pastéis at Olympe
There is a compliment to an alcoholic drinks that is filled with the spirit of Rio: Pastéis - deep-fried parcels of pastry with different fillings, like cheese or beef. So, if you want to take this ordinary snack to the next level, why not taste it in one of the best restaurants not only in Rio, but in Latin America?
Chef Claude Troisgros has had over three decades of experience in balancing French elegance and Brazilian soul. It is an award-winning space that features the ultimate European dining experience, while keeping the Carioca roots. They serve little pieces of heaven, like the grilled scallops, palm heart carpaccio, milk-caramel sauce and pupunha farofa.
Their “Pastéis de Filé Mignon com Palmito” can be ordered as an entrance to then move on to more sophisticated dishes. But make no mistake: even traditional, every day meals in Olympe are the ultimate culinary experience.
Address: Rua Custódio Serrão 62, Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tasting the Carioca dream
Every dish tells a story and each restaurant gives their best so that you can truly taste Rio de Janeiro’s true colors. Embrace this culinary experience and let the Carioca spirit fill your heart and soul.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.