clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 33 Essential Rio de Janeiro Restaurants

From wood-fired, eat-with-your-hands fare at a two-Michelin-starred kitchen, to octopus rice and caipirinhas at a trendy boteco, here’s where to eat in the cidade maravilhosa (wonderful city)

View as Map

The iconic statue Christ the Redeemer stands over Rio, receiving visitors with open arms to the cidade maravilhosa (“wonderful city”). It’s a sign of welcome to a geographically dramatic pocket of Brazil, a friendly tropical oasis tucked into the rainforest and surrounded by mountains.

Rio excels at hospitality, including friendly dining experiences that tend to range from relaxed to no-fuss. You’ll find great meals all over the city, but especially in the booming Botafogo neighborhood, perpetually popular Leblon area, tree-lined Ipanema, and densely populated Tijuca. The fine dining scene is strong with multiple Michelin-starred icons among the ranks, but many of the best meals are found outside fancy restaurants. Delicious bites are hidden on every corner, on bakery shelves, and at beach vendors’ carts. When in doubt, head to a beloved boteco, a traditional dive bar, for lots of tira-gostos (snacks) and of course a caipirinha.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Confeitaria Colombo

Copy Link

This 122-year-old sweets shop’s vaulted ceilings and tall, gilded mirrors are as charming as the Brazilian tourists you’ll find taking selfies among them. The must-try sweet is the pastel de nata, a smooth and creamy custard tart that’s a remnant of Portuguese rule. A second, newer branch boasts views of Fort Copacabana out the window.

An ornate two-floor interior with huge mirrors on the walls, stained glass skylight, and diners seated at tables far below on the ground floor.
Inside Confeitaria Colombo.
Confeitaria Colombo

Curto Café

Copy Link

You’d never guess that some of Rio’s best coffee, sourced directly from Brazilian farmers, is served on the second floor of the city’s otherwise uninspiring downtown bus terminal. A mix of hipsters and men in suits inhabits the cafe at all times of day (the most faithful caffeine-addled clients come from the Rio state courthouse nearby), but Curto manages to maintain a leisurely vibe even during packed lunch hours.

A simple cafe interior with tile floors, wood counters with textured tablecloths, and an open space in the back to a tree-lined area.
Inside Curto Café.
Curto Café/Facebook

Located in the arty neighborhood of Lapa, Lilia is an unpretentious restaurant perched on the upper floor of an old townhouse, where chef Lucio Vieira prepares a delicious, unfussy daily menu of dishes inspired by what he finds at a variety of local farms. Items lean heavily on vegetables, but there are options for carnivores as well, like black Angus chorizo with parsnip, chimichurri, baked garlic paste, and breadcrumbs.

A wide, low-rimmed dark marble plate topped with chicken, mounds of potato salad, and rice, dotted with herbs.
Chicken hearts with potato salad at Lilia.
Lilia Restaurante/Facebook

Junta Local

Copy Link

Junta Local is a feira (open-air market) where up-and-coming Rio chefs and producers show off their culinary chops. The lineup varies based on the capacity of the host location, but you can count on nibbling on things like hand-crafted cheese plates and falafel, then head home overloaded with jars of Italian antipasti, fresh produce, ice cream, and crisp Brazilian wines.

Two people browse an outdoor stand in a sunny market.
Shoppers at Junta Local.
Junta Local/Facebook

Aconchego Carioca

Copy Link

Drawn by promises of prosperity, Kátia Barbosa’s family immigrated to Rio from Brazil’s rustic northeast a generation ago. Her restaurant, Aconchego Carioca (which translates to something like “the Rio embrace”), serves pretension-free fare: beef jerky, thick yucca fries, manioc flour, chewy white cheese, and the iconic feijoada fritter — a now-ubiquitous delicacy based on the classic Brazilian bean stew — that Barbosa invented here. The impressive beer and caipirinha selection deserves a whirl, and the new venue (just a few meters from the previous location) begs guests to linger.

Aprazível

Copy Link

Aprazível is built into a sloping garden in the charming bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The fare is contemporary Brazilian, with dishes like grilled heart of pupunha palm, as well as dressed-up comfort food, like pão de queijo stuffed with sausage and the fresh catch of the day served with coconut rice, turmeric, cashew nuts, and baked banana. A glass of starfruit, passionfruit, or ginger caipirinha makes the city lights glimmer below.

Bar da Gema

Copy Link

Of all the city’s neighborhoods, Tijuca best reflects the bohemian aura of Rio de Janeiro. It’s no wonder that this is where you’ll find some of the best bars in the city, including Da Gema. The bar offers an unbeatable list of fried bites created by chef and owner (and former employee) Luiza Souza, like polenta topped with oxtail ragu, shrimp rissoles, and the famous and mandatory coxinha (chicken croquette). Of course, you can wash everything down with glasses of cold beer and caipirinhas.

Bar do Momo

Copy Link

Beloved for its burgers — from the classic with cheddar and onion to the veggie with eggplant and mushroom — Bar do Momo is in the thick of Tijuca’s live music, tipsy soccer fans, and students chattering in wide plazas. It’s the kind of place where you’ll see shoulder-clapping friends ordering multiple rounds and eating local specialties, such as rice fritters filled with cheese, pork leg sandwiches with garlic mayo, and gizzards served with sweet potato puree and pork crackling.

Majórica Churrascaria

Copy Link

From the outside, this 50-year-old Flamengo institution looks like a speakeasy, but inside you’ll find some of the city’s best cuts of beef grilled over an open flame. This is the heart of churrasco culture, which for many Brazilians is restricted to prime cuts of meat and coarse salt. Nowadays, Majórica is run by the daughter of one of the original Spanish owners and a Galician-born janitor who worked his way up the ladder. Don’t miss the picanha — plump disks of sirloin cap — served fresh off the grill.

A wood-paneled dining room with arched ceiling and white tablecloths on the tables.
Inside Majórica Churrascaria.
Majórica Churrascaria/Facebook

Café Lamas

Copy Link

The underground Communist party met secretly in this mirror-lined salon during the 1964-1985 Brazilian military dictatorship. These days the waiters are of the exceedingly polite, black-bowtie sort, and the menu is full of heavy, traditional Brazilian food, like rice with broccoli and filet mignon medallions with massive amounts of fried garlic. When you’re beefed out, go for the creamy, cold avocado ice cream, which is topped with cacao liqueur.

A restaurant interior with mirrored pillars, chandeliers, white tablecloths, and an open kitchen toward the back.
Inside Café Lamas.
Café Lamas/Facebook

Trégua Cozinha

Copy Link

In the charming Laranjeiras neighborhood, couple Ana Souza and Victor Lima decided to open this small, relaxed restaurant with a gastrobar atmosphere and bistronomy-inflected menu. They represent a new generation of restaurants run by young cooks in the city who focus on food made with the best raw ingredients while forgoing designer furniture and luxury decor. Look out for dishes like pork loin with cassava and malabar spinach, or ginger flan with buckwheat and persimmon sorbet. With a lean team, they are only open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Bar Urca

Copy Link

Bar Urca is good on the basics, but it’s unbeatable on the view. The seating is on top of a seawall along the Urca bayside neighborhood. You can sit back and watch the sun set behind Christ the Redeemer, which towers above the lazy yachts at Botafogo beach. The move is to grab a liter of beer, which is kept “stupidly cold,” as the Cariocas (Rio natives) like to say.

A sunny restaurant interior with large windows lining one wall, paneled ceiling, midcentury style chairs, and a large piece of art opposite the windows.
The dining room at Bar Urca.
Bar Urca/Facebook

The Slow Bakery

Copy Link

The acclaimed, naturally fermented bread is available wholesale, but you should go straight to the source at the Slow Bakery. The airy space, in the residential Botafogo neighborhood, is the perfect place to enjoy freshly baked sourdough loaves, ciabatta, and baguettes. They also serve a menu of sandwiches, tartines (try the one with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes), coffee, and much more. The bakery also has two other branches in the city: one with a more industrial vibe in Jardim Botânico and a cozy location in Leblon.

A worker in branded shirt uses a ladder to reach the top shelf of a large metal shelving unit filled with loaves of bread.
Grabbing a loaf at the Slow Bakery.
Rafael Tonon

During the COVID-19 pandemic, chef Rafa Costa e Silva decided to downsize, transforming his renowned Michelin-starred restaurant Lasai in Botafogo completely. Situated in a new space nearby, the restaurant went from 40 seats to 10, all installed on a light marble counter facing the kitchen. With a smaller staff, the experience has become more intimate, but the daily tasting menu still focuses on seasonal ingredients from the chef’s own farm and small local producers.

A molecular dish, a thin purple tube with a tongue shaped filling.
An ornate dish at Lasai.
Lasai

Naturalie Bistrô

Copy Link

This vegetarian bistro is the passion project of chef Nathalie Passos, who studied at the Institute of Culinary Education’s Natural Gourmet Institute. Here she highlights organic ingredients from small, local farmers in dishes like cozido Indiano (Indian stew) with chickpea, sweet potato, coconut milk, and tomato sauce, or a plant-based version of the traditional Brazilian feijoada made with beans, squash, smoked tofu, and a flaxseed-kale-carrot farofa (traditionally made from toasted yucca flour).

A dining room with large white built-in shelves lining the walls, displaying colorful cookware.
Naturalie Bistrô.
Naturalie Bistrô/Facebook

Liga dos Botecos

Copy Link

Liga dos Botecos is like the Justice League of Rio botecos, collecting dishes from some of the best bars in the city — Cachambeer, Bar da Frente, Momo, and the now-closed Botero — at a single address in the hip Botafogo neighborhood. Liga lovingly reproduces the specialties of each famous bar (with permission from the owners), including ham hock croquettes, baked heart of palm topped with shrimp and cream cheese, and Brazil’s iconic coxinhas (chicken croquettes). There is also a branch in Flamengo.

After gaining acclaim as one of the best chefs in São Paulo, Alberto Landgraf took his cooking to an even higher level at Oteque. His dedication to quality ingredients is clear in the fishtank in the kitchen, which provides easy access to the freshest seafood possible, and Landgraf’s meticulous tasting menus are always packed with creative dishes, precise techniques, layers of flavor, and exacting textures. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant also offers one of the best wine programs in the country, focused on natural and organic bottlings.

Oteque
Oteque

Galeto Sat's

Copy Link

This chicken-focused bar is one of Rio’s most illustrious bohemian institutions, attracting diners throughout the night for plates of crisp-roasted galeto (three-month-old chicken) and glass after glass of beer. The Copacabana icon has a second branch in Botafogo with a much larger area to welcome all the night owls hungry for seasoned chicken hearts, garlic bread, and the essential eggs farofa.

A platter of roasted chicken.
The signature chicken and garlic bread at Galeto Sat’s.
Galeto Sat’s/Facebook

Sud, O Pássaro Verde Café

Copy Link

Crowned Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2015, chef Roberta Sudbrack is still hard at work at her restaurant in the jungle neighborhood of Jardim Botânico. Sud differs from her previous restaurants: It takes no reservations, offers no wine list, and has only 12 tables. Sudbrack also gave up on her usual tasting-menu formula, instead embracing the kind of uncomplicated dishes she’d serve in her own home, but with fine dining technique, service, and ingredients.

Adega Pérola

Copy Link

Tucked away just a few blocks from the Copacabana beach, Adega Pérola is a quintessential boteco, a no-frills bar where you have to shout over the din of the bustling crowd to place orders for petiscos (Brazilian tapas) like cod croquettes and smoked haddock. Most drinkers are there for fish and seafood, but the goat cheese and artichokes are just as good.

Cipriani

Copy Link

Located in the historic Copacabana Palace hotel, this homage to the acclaimed Cipriani bar in Venice delivers one of the best Italian experiences in town. Since the arrival of Neapolitan chef Nello Cassese, the menu has skewed modern and fresh, with dishes like a version of the classic caprese salad with scallops, a daily risotto (with flavor combos like eel, pear, and foie gras), and plenty of handmade pastas.

A dining room overlooking a pool, with red upholstered armchairs set at white tablecloth tables and chandeliers above.
Cipriani.
Copacabana Palace Hotel

Pavāo Azul

Copy Link

Pé sujos (“dirty feet”) are the equivalent of American dive bars, serving shots of hard liquor and cheerful vibes beneath fluorescent lights. Pavão Azul (blue peacock) maintains the classic aesthetic with tiled walls and folding wooden chairs, but offers some fine snacks to go with it. Diehards say the cod fritters are among the best in Rio, but the pasteis are also worth trying. Along with another location just across the street, dubbed Pavãozinho, or Little Peacock, the bar is always packed with locals and clever tourists.

Chez Claude

Copy Link

Chef Claude Troisgros opened what is perhaps the most personal restaurant of his career in the same building that housed his first place in Rio after arriving from France in the 1970s. Chez Claude is like an edible scrapbook of his cooking career throughout the last half century, serving all the classics, such as scallops with heart of palm, eggs with caviar, and quail with chard, chives, and bacon in grape sauce.

From above, an egg-shaped pot filled with a wet mixture dotted with caviar pearls, topped with a line of panko farofa.
Eggs with caviar.
Chez Claude

Massa + Ella

Copy Link

Chef Pedro Siqueira became famous for fresh pasta at Massa, his cheerful restaurant in the Leblon neighborhood, and slow-rise, naturally leavened pizza at Ella, a Neapolitan pizzeria in Rio’s Botanical Garden. Massa is now Massa + Ella, reflecting the pizza oven in the kitchen, allowing you to get both pasta and pizza in one place. Pair Siqueira’s signature pastas, like his beef rib and Grana Padano ravioli, with inventive pies topped with Brazil nuts, chile jam, or a wide range of cheeses.

From above, a series of breads with dips and small bites presented on a large wooden serving tray.
A plate at Massa + Ella.
Massa

Mil Frutas

Copy Link

Mil Frutas means “a thousand fruits,” and while the selection of tropical sorbets offered at this this popular ice cream shop is closer to 100, the bounty is no less impressive. Cool down with a few refreshing scoops flavored with native fruits like mangaba, araçá, and umbu.

Bright purple ice cream in a dish, topped with mint.
Colorful scoops at Mil Frutas.
Mil Frutas/Facebook

Pabu Izakaya

Copy Link

The first izakaya in the city, Pabu serves Japanese food at a rowdy U-shaped counter. Belly up for traditional izakaya dishes like pork gyoza, tonkatsu, ramen, and bao. A creative cocktail list, which features a gin and tonic with wasabi and a matcharita, helps to wash down the food.

From above, a plate full of dishes including ramen, spiced chicken wings, and crudo.
A spread of izakaya classics at Pabu.
Pabu Izakaya/Facebook

Satyricon

Copy Link

While even in a seaside dining capital you can go wrong with fish and seafood, Rio de Janeiro institution Satyricon is always a good choice. Inside you’ll find tanks full of lobsters, oysters, and other mollusks, and an ice bed where the catch of the day rests. Everything comes out of the kitchen in simple, well-prepared dishes like sea bream baked in salt and herbs, shredded king crab served with lemon and oil, and spaghetti alle vongole, which shows off the Italian heritage of owners Marly and Miro Leopardi.

Cocktails are the main stars at this hip three-floor bar and restaurant. At the large counter, head bartender Daniel Estevan prepares classic recipes and signature creations such as the Ernesto (gin, black olive infusion, dry vermouth, lime) or his homage to the neighborhood, À la Ipanema (Wild Turkey, Cinzano 1757, Bénédictine, Laphroaig 10, Peychaud’s). In the kitchen, New York-born chef Bruno Katz prepares his version of ceviche (with mango sorbet and toasted quinoa to balance out the fish), steak tartare with mollet eggs, and pork gyoza (served with kimchi, ginger, sesame, and Korean chile oil).

Bazzar à Vins

Copy Link

After 18 years in the same building in Ipanema, Bazzar moved within the neighborhood to a livelier home inside a charming, airy 1920s mansion. Now renamed Bazzar à Vins, it’s what every wine bar wants to be: a great place to enjoy a selection of labels from small producers and excellent little bites. The focus is on seasonal, organic, and Brazilian ingredients — which restaurateur Cristiana Beltrão tirelessly seeks on trips across the country — translated into dishes such as a rustic egg with green bean puree and cheese sauce, or brothy caramelized seafood rice with Brazilian aromatic chile.

A bowl of custard topped with a variety of edible flowers.
A cashew-based dessert.
Bazzar à Vins

Boteco Rainha

Copy Link

Chef Pedro de Artagão specializes in preparing hearty dishes with flair. It was only natural for him to make his medium comida de boteco, the bar food served in countless popular no-frills botecos. At Boteco Rainha, he serves classics from the Rio gastronomic repertoire, such as pastéis (deep-fried, thin-crusted meat pockets), cod fritters, and black bean soup, as well as sandwiches and heartier dishes such as octopus rice or baked cod with potatoes, broccoli, and garlic. Stick to tradition and order your meal with a very cold beer or a caipirinha.

Bibi Sucos

Copy Link

In the Rio heat, when a full meal feels like too much, go for a big glass of cold juice. At this classic chain, options range from native fruits like cajá, graviola, and carambola to more global flavors like avocado, pineapple, and pitaya. It’s a tasty way to stay hydrated.

Oro Restaurante

Copy Link

After seven years, chef Felipe Bronze decided to reopen his acclaimed restaurant Oro as something entirely new, leaving behind the molecular foams and liquid nitrogen that made him a famous TV host. He now focuses on hearty, rustic dishes cooked with live fire, and the centerpieces of his two-Michelin-starred kitchen in Leblon are the wood-burning oven and grill. The nightly lineup of shareable, eat-with-your-hands dishes on his whimsical tasting menu apply international techniques to Brazilian ingredients such as heart of palm and abará, a snack made of black-eyed peas.

From above, a piece of fish over pile of grain, presented with a swoop of bright yellow sauce.
A dish at Oro Restaurante.
Oro Restaurante

Vizinho Gastrobar

Copy Link

One of the biggest names in Rio’s cocktail scene, Jessica Sanchez commands this high-concept bar situated in Barra da Tijuca’s Vogue Square mall. Her signature drinks make creative use of the ubiquitous cachaça, combining the local spirit with fruits and native honey. Vizinho also offers plenty of excellent food options — guacamole, empanadas, and steak tartar — to balance out the booze.

A restaurant exterior at night with palm trees swaying above.
Vizinho Gastrobar.
Vizinho Gastrobar/Facebook

Confeitaria Colombo

An ornate two-floor interior with huge mirrors on the walls, stained glass skylight, and diners seated at tables far below on the ground floor.
Inside Confeitaria Colombo.
Confeitaria Colombo

This 122-year-old sweets shop’s vaulted ceilings and tall, gilded mirrors are as charming as the Brazilian tourists you’ll find taking selfies among them. The must-try sweet is the pastel de nata, a smooth and creamy custard tart that’s a remnant of Portuguese rule. A second, newer branch boasts views of Fort Copacabana out the window.

An ornate two-floor interior with huge mirrors on the walls, stained glass skylight, and diners seated at tables far below on the ground floor.
Inside Confeitaria Colombo.
Confeitaria Colombo

Curto Café

A simple cafe interior with tile floors, wood counters with textured tablecloths, and an open space in the back to a tree-lined area.
Inside Curto Café.
Curto Café/Facebook

You’d never guess that some of Rio’s best coffee, sourced directly from Brazilian farmers, is served on the second floor of the city’s otherwise uninspiring downtown bus terminal. A mix of hipsters and men in suits inhabits the cafe at all times of day (the most faithful caffeine-addled clients come from the Rio state courthouse nearby), but Curto manages to maintain a leisurely vibe even during packed lunch hours.

A simple cafe interior with tile floors, wood counters with textured tablecloths, and an open space in the back to a tree-lined area.
Inside Curto Café.
Curto Café/Facebook

Lilia

A wide, low-rimmed dark marble plate topped with chicken, mounds of potato salad, and rice, dotted with herbs.
Chicken hearts with potato salad at Lilia.
Lilia Restaurante/Facebook

Located in the arty neighborhood of Lapa, Lilia is an unpretentious restaurant perched on the upper floor of an old townhouse, where chef Lucio Vieira prepares a delicious, unfussy daily menu of dishes inspired by what he finds at a variety of local farms. Items lean heavily on vegetables, but there are options for carnivores as well, like black Angus chorizo with parsnip, chimichurri, baked garlic paste, and breadcrumbs.

A wide, low-rimmed dark marble plate topped with chicken, mounds of potato salad, and rice, dotted with herbs.
Chicken hearts with potato salad at Lilia.
Lilia Restaurante/Facebook

Junta Local

Two people browse an outdoor stand in a sunny market.
Shoppers at Junta Local.
Junta Local/Facebook

Junta Local is a feira (open-air market) where up-and-coming Rio chefs and producers show off their culinary chops. The lineup varies based on the capacity of the host location, but you can count on nibbling on things like hand-crafted cheese plates and falafel, then head home overloaded with jars of Italian antipasti, fresh produce, ice cream, and crisp Brazilian wines.

Two people browse an outdoor stand in a sunny market.
Shoppers at Junta Local.
Junta Local/Facebook

Aconchego Carioca

Drawn by promises of prosperity, Kátia Barbosa’s family immigrated to Rio from Brazil’s rustic northeast a generation ago. Her restaurant, Aconchego Carioca (which translates to something like “the Rio embrace”), serves pretension-free fare: beef jerky, thick yucca fries, manioc flour, chewy white cheese, and the iconic feijoada fritter — a now-ubiquitous delicacy based on the classic Brazilian bean stew — that Barbosa invented here. The impressive beer and caipirinha selection deserves a whirl, and the new venue (just a few meters from the previous location) begs guests to linger.

Aprazível

Aprazível is built into a sloping garden in the charming bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The fare is contemporary Brazilian, with dishes like grilled heart of pupunha palm, as well as dressed-up comfort food, like pão de queijo stuffed with sausage and the fresh catch of the day served with coconut rice, turmeric, cashew nuts, and baked banana. A glass of starfruit, passionfruit, or ginger caipirinha makes the city lights glimmer below.

Bar da Gema

Of all the city’s neighborhoods, Tijuca best reflects the bohemian aura of Rio de Janeiro. It’s no wonder that this is where you’ll find some of the best bars in the city, including Da Gema. The bar offers an unbeatable list of fried bites created by chef and owner (and former employee) Luiza Souza, like polenta topped with oxtail ragu, shrimp rissoles, and the famous and mandatory coxinha (chicken croquette). Of course, you can wash everything down with glasses of cold beer and caipirinhas.

Bar do Momo

Beloved for its burgers — from the classic with cheddar and onion to the veggie with eggplant and mushroom — Bar do Momo is in the thick of Tijuca’s live music, tipsy soccer fans, and students chattering in wide plazas. It’s the kind of place where you’ll see shoulder-clapping friends ordering multiple rounds and eating local specialties, such as rice fritters filled with cheese, pork leg sandwiches with garlic mayo, and gizzards served with sweet potato puree and pork crackling.

Majórica Churrascaria

A wood-paneled dining room with arched ceiling and white tablecloths on the tables.
Inside Majórica Churrascaria.
Majórica Churrascaria/Facebook

From the outside, this 50-year-old Flamengo institution looks like a speakeasy, but inside you’ll find some of the city’s best cuts of beef grilled over an open flame. This is the heart of churrasco culture, which for many Brazilians is restricted to prime cuts of meat and coarse salt. Nowadays, Majórica is run by the daughter of one of the original Spanish owners and a Galician-born janitor who worked his way up the ladder. Don’t miss the picanha — plump disks of sirloin cap — served fresh off the grill.