While Rio is best known for its breathtaking landscapes and beaches, it is also a culinary melting pot. The food this city has to offer could easily become a highlight of your trip. With so many options, it can be hard to make the best use of your time, money, and stomach capacity when selecting restaurants. Here’s a guide to our favorite restaurants in Rio, categorized by neighborhood.
We went to this restaurant about halfway through our stay in Rio and ended up coming back a few times. Faraj is a Lebanese restaurant with a Brazilian twist. We never tried any of their actual main courses—the kibe and esfiha appetizers were enough to satisfy us and were absolutely scrumptious. We especially enjoyed the eggplant and the apricot-and-cheese esfihas. My husband is not a vegetable person, but he got the eggplant esfiha everytime we came—it was that good. Each kibe and esfiha ranged from R$4.80 -7. They’re a good size, so 2-3 each was enough to fill us up. If you are a bit more daring, we recommend trying Coalhada, it’s a dish made of yogurt and sour curdled milk. It has a tart flavor and is surprisingly tasty with honey.
Location: R. Gomes Carneiro, 131 – Loja A – Ipanema
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 9 :00 am – 9:00 pm
Bar do Adao
Hands down the best place to get pastels in Rio, and possibly in all of Brazil. They are smaller than your typical pastel, but they are stuffed full. Our favorite flavors were Dos Deuses (which has all the cheeses you could ever want in life) and Francês (shrimp and cream cheese).
Location: R. Prudente de Morais, 237 – loja a – Ipanema
Monday – Friday: noon – 1:30 am
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 1:30 am
Joana Pizza Bar
This was a cute hipster restaurant that we ended up returning to multiple times. The pizzas aren’t small, but the delectable crust is so thin that, unless you aren’t very hungry, we would suggest ordering one pizza per person. Our favorite was the Churrasco Turco: goat cheese, Turkish shredded beef, and fresh mint pizza. The pizzas were generally R$24-28.
Location: R. Joana Angélica, 47 – Ipanema
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
If you didn’t grab a fresh juice while you were in Rio, did you really visit Rio? Polis Sucos, while on the pricey side for Brazil, has a great selection of fresh juices in 250-500 ml portions. I especially loved the fresh mango juice. We’ve heard good things about their tapioca and açai as well, but their juices are the main attraction.
Location: R. Maria Quitéria, 70 – Ipanema
Hours: Monday – Friday 6:00 am – midnight
Saturday: 7:00 am – 1:00 am
Sunday: 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Monday – Thursday Fazendola offers a R$27 deal for rodízio de pizza, which is basically all-you-can-eat pizza, except the waiters will come up to your table with fresh pizzas and you can chose to take a slice or wait for the next flavor. It’s a lot of fun, and gives you the chance to try a lot of different Brazilian pizzas. Be sure to eat your savory pizzas with ketchup on the side and to try the dessert Romeu and Julieta pizza!
Location: R. Jangadeiros, 14 – Ipanema
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 am – 5:00 pm, 6:30 pm – midnight
Friday: 11:30 am – 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm – 1:00 am
Saturday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Sunday: 11:30 am – midnight
Haru Sushi Bar
This was the best sushi we had in Rio. Located just a few blocks from Copacabana beach, it is a little bit pricey for Rio, but they have great weekday lunch specials that include an appetizer, a variety plate of sushi, and a desert for only R$30 – 40.
Location: R. Raimundo Corrêa, 10 – Copacabana
Hours: Monday to Saturday: noon – midnight
Sunday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
If you’re in Copacabana and are craving pizza, we’d recommend Pizzateca! The dough is amazing, and they had a lot of fun flavor options. A large pizza is enough to fill 2-3 people.
Location: Rua 5 de Julho, 395 – Copacabana
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 5:30 pm – midnight
Galeto 183 is somewhat off the beaten path in downtown Rio. While it’s not super close to the museums and general tourist attractions, it’s well worth the walk. They serve typical hefty Brazilian dishes with meat, rice, and beans. We went with a friend, and the three of us could not finish one of their dinner plates (that was advertised as “serves two”) because there was just so much meat! The food was all well prepared and they had great service!
R. de Santana, 183 – Centro
Monday – Friday 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday: 6:00 am – 4:30 pm
This gorgeous bakery was built in the late 1800s and is located in the heart of downtown Rio. The interior decor is breathtaking with its high ceilings, skylight, and rosewood Belgian crystal mirrors. It’s an enchanting stop for brunch or a little treat. We ordered a passion fruit tart and a pastel de nata, which was a custard filled tart, and loved both of them. They were R$12.90 each, but with the gorgeous atmosphere it was worth it.
Location: R. Gonçalves Dias, 32 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20050-030, Brazilië
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 5:00 pm
Estrelas da Babilônia
While this restaurant is a little bit difficult to get to because it is located in a pacified favela, it is worth the trip. It makes for a fun adventure and gives you chance to get a small taste of Rio’s iconic favelas. We felt a little bit sketched out while walking up to the restaurant in the dark, but everyone was super friendly. The favela was pacified back in 2009, and there are still police cars located close to the favela entrance to monitor crime. The restaurant offers a gorgeous view of the city. We loved the fresh juices and drinks on the menu, however we were less impressed by the food. The baked and fried vegetables were good and the sauces were yummy, but the overall atmosphere and fresh juices are why we rate this restaurant so highly. The owner is from Colombia, and she’s friendly and nice to talk to, but be aware that she will totally nickel and dime you. We were charged an unexpected R$20 live music fee in addition to a service fee. It ended up being our most expensive meal in Rio. That being said, we still really enjoyed the overall experience and recommend it.
Location: It’s located in Morro da Babilônia, a favela in Leme. Take an Uber to Ladeira Ary Barroso or as close as the driver can take you (some of the roads are too narrow for cars). From that point, you can ask the locals for directions to the restaurant itself and often someone will lead you right to it. Once you get close, you can follow the painted stars on the pavement which will guide you to the entrance.
Hours: Friday – Sunday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm (I would suggest showing up around 7pm)
Tapioca is possibly my favorite Brazilian street food. Tapí Tapioca serves the fanciest and nicest Tapiocas I’ve ever seen, and they have a lot of fun savory and sweet options. We loved their Al Mare Tapioca, which was filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and onions, and the Cartola Tapioca, which was filled with bananas, mozzarella, sugar and cinnamon. They are a great choice for a lighter meal, and they offer lots of vegetarian options.
Location: Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 470 – Loja A – Leblon
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm