Rio de Janeiro’s ideal coastal location offering an abundance of fresh fish and seafood has attracted a number of high quality chefs producing ethnically diverse cuisine, creating an outstanding culinary scene. With hundreds of award-winning restaurants and innovative chefs in Rio de Janeiro, the city is drawing a dazzling fusion of dishes from all over Brazil and the world. Offering such an array of restaurants and gastronomic experiences waiting to be enjoyed, you won’t want to miss our guide to the best restaurants in Rio de Janeiro.
♦ Contemporary Brazilian Comfort Food at Roberta Sudbrack
After 7 years cooking at Brazil’s Presidential Palace, chef Roberta Sudbrack decided to go it alone and opened her own restaurant in Rio’s upmarket Zona Sul. The 9-course tasting menu uses only the finest seasonal ingredients from local markets and the menu is updated on a near daily basis. The Roberta Sudbrack restaurant offers a number of wonders in the low-key restaurant, embracing old-fashioned cooking methods with contemporary style. If it is in season and on the menu we recommend the smoked okra in semi-cooked shrimp, the beetroot ravioli and the delicious Brazilian fruit-based desserts. As the highest rated restaurant located in Rio de Janeiro in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, Roberta Sudbrack’s fusion of Brazilian comfort food and minimalism sets the restaurant apart from the rest in Rio de Janeiro.
Av. Lineu de Paula Machado 916, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro
♦ French food with a Brazilian Twist at Olympe
Claude Troisgros is the most famous TV chef in Brazil having been a pioneer in the use of native Brazilian products in fine dining. Moving from France to Brazil in 1979, over the years he has helped to change Brazil’s attitude towards local produce and food. In 2003, Claude opened Olympe with his son Thomas, concentrating on the unique fusion between French and Brazilian cuisine. Situated on a quiet tree-lined street in the Lagoa neighborhood of Rio, the quaint clay-tiled roof house has an air of classical elegance. From red mullet with tucupi and kiss peppers porridge to grilled scallops with palm heart carpaccio, Olympe is a French restaurant with a Brazilian soul and deserves its place on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America.
Rua Custódio Serrão 62, Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro
♦ Traditional Brazilian Dishes at Aprazível
Hidden away on a quintessential Santa Teresa street, Aprazível restaurant not only offers beautiful dishes but stunning views from its blossoming garden. Brazil’s land and sea based culinary highlights can be found here and although a bit out of the way, it is well worth making the journey. In case you need transport, the restaurant can provide at an extra cost, a private car to pick you up or drop you off at your hotel. With Brazilian culture characterized by the diversity of outside influences from Africa and Europe as well as the native-Indian culture; Aprazível summarizes the beauty and diversity of Brazil. Being located in Rio’s most traditional and bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Chef Ana Castilho who once lived in the house where the restaurant is now located produces the very best of Brazilian home cooking.
Rua Aprazível 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
♦ Rio’s Best Barbecue at Porcão
Rio Grande located in southern Brazil is home to the Brazilian gauchos who like their Argentinean neighbors enjoy succulent meats cooked on a barbecue. Having explored Rio de Janeiro, you will see a number of ‘churrascarias’ which are traditional barbecue restaurants and the three Porcão restaurants are regarded as the best churrascarias in Rio. With one in Ipanema (Rua Barão da Torre 218) and another in Barra da Tijuca (Av. Armando Lombardi 591) we recommend going to Porcão Rio’s. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Parque do Flamengo and offering stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain, make sure to arrive early both to get a good table to watch one of Rio’s famous sunsets. Serving up skewer after skewer of beef, pork or poultry until you flip the coaster that says stop, this is as much a cultural as it is a culinary experience in Rio de Janeiro.
Av. Infante Dom Henrique, Aterro do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro
♦ An Elegant Belle Epoque Café at Confeitaria Colombo
Opened in 1894, Confeitaria Colombo shows the elegance of Rio’s downtown neighborhood at the turn of the 20th Century. Drawing inspiration from Europe’s grand tearooms, Colombo was founded as a pastry shop but has since developed into and elegant café. While enjoying the quality of its pastries, you will find yourself hypnotized by the sumptuous Art Nouveau architecture and design which brought a new sense of luxury and elegance to downtown Rio de Janeiro. If you are looking for something more substantial to eat, on the second floor of the building is the Cristóvão restaurant which serves a mix of Spanish and Portuguese dishes. We recommend reserving a table at the restaurant on the central balcony overlooking the tearoom below and with a closer view of the stained glass ceiling dome.
Rua Gonçalves Dias 32, Centro, Rio de Janeiro