Between basketball games and swimming competitions, Olympic viewers need to eat, right? But if you don't want to miss any move in a match, we created a guide for the best places to eat and drink while watching the games. These are the places around town getting into the Olympic spirit by offering great television set-ups, games-specific deals, or even a front-row seat to some actual events, happening live before diners' eyes. Go ahead, pull up a chair:Read More
When In Rio: Where to Eat Well and Watch the Olympic Games
From sweet TV set-ups to special menus, here's where to catch an event and a meal
Bar da Laje
The best Rio de Janeiro views are from the city’s mountains. Run by Marcos Brandão, manager of many locally famous actresses and celebrities, Bar da Laje is located in the middle of Vidigal hill. To get there, you can ride a taxi motorcycle or a private van that departs from many strategic points of Zona Sul (South Zone), the upscale area with the best restaurants and hotels in town. To eat, ask for a portion of pasteis and the jerked beef with mustard sauce and fried manioc. Famous for its parties that gather everyone from local residents to celebrities such as Spike Lee and Queen Latifah, Bar da Laje will also host many parties during the Olympics — a great reason to make the hill climb.
Porto di Vino
Who said that games don’t go well with wines? During the Olympics, Porto de Vino’s high-definition TV screen that usually shows photos and maps from wine regions around the globe will broadcast some events starting at 5 p.m. Located in the Baixo Gávea neighborhood, this wine bar offers more than 500 labels, including great white ones perfect for Rio’s weather (like the Italian Pinot Grigio Corte Giara and the French Cremant de Limoux Toques et Clocher). It also serves red wine and craft local beers, such as Cariocas Session IPA and Three Monkeys Golden Ale. To kill the munchies, ask for a duck meat escondidinho and a foie gras terrine, to go along with assorted cheeses.
One can’t miss the Brazilian churrasco, not even during the Olympics. Rubaiyat Rio is one of the best steakhouses in the city, where diners can try some of the best local meats under the watchful eye of Christ the Redeemer — which is just outside the windows. To broadcast the games, the restaurant created a lounge with a 120-inch large screen, couches, and stools so guests won’t miss a move. The chefs also created a special menu for the Olympics in honor of some of the nations present in the city: One can ask for a Chilean quinoa and tuna salad, a Mexican shrimp taco, and a Spanish mushroom carpaccio. But do not miss the picanha (the most noble meat cut in Brazil) or the classic quindim (a yolk and coconut local dessert), here served with a cachaça cream.
Academia da Cachaça
With three branches in town, Academia da Cachaça offers more than 100 versions of the Brazilian spirit — from different regions — on one of the best cachaça menus in the country. They’re great by themselves or mixed with some native fruits for caipirinhas; one can choose any cachaça from the list in order to create a very personal cocktail. (But try the version with orange, ginger, and the Magnífica cachaça.) To eat, grab some empadinhas or ask for a escondidinho — made with manioc purée and jerked beef with a cheese gratin on top. The restaurant invested in digital-broadcasting large screens to get in the Olympics mood — and even the waiters’ uniforms are sports-themed.
Bruschettas are great snacks for game-viewing fans: like popcorn, it’s something you can eat with your eyes on the screen. Prima Bruschetteria is a bruschetta bar that offers many different flavors of the Italian classic, such as mozzarella with tomatos and basil, tartare with grana padano cheese and balsamic vinegar, and beef tongue with aioli and red onion pickles. To drink, ask for the Gin’s Cup (R$ 29), made with gin, vermouth, lime, orange, strawberry, ginger, and cucumber, and feel like a champion. The games will be broadcast non-stop on a large high-definition screen during opening hours (daily from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.).
Bar do Lado
In the Leblon neighborhood, Bar do Lado, at Marina All Suites, is a place for good cocktails with a great view of the beach. Bartender Tai Barbin created a drink menu with an original twist, featuring an Asian accent: the Tokio is made with sake, lemongrass, ginger, grapefruit, and lemon; the Laos with gin, cucumber, violet shrub, and lemon (and both are great options to pair with the tuna tartare and breaded shrimp). Barbin usually ages some of his signature cocktails in native wood barrels. Before some of the games, the bar will offer a"double drink hour" for its patrons, which is likely to gather great crowds to watch the matches.
Rio’s branch of Astor, a bar originally from São Paulo, is a great place to grab a cold chopp and try some petiscos. During the Olympics, the bar will open daily at noon to serve some bohemian food classics such as picadinho (a recipe made with diced meat, rice, farofa, fried egg, and pasteis) and shrimp risotto. For a nightcap, one only has to walk across the room and open the velvet curtain: The bar also keeps a secret speakeasy inside, SubAstor, with a distinct vibe and signature cocktails. On August 10, the competitors of the 100-kilometer cycling event will pass right in front of the bar’s sidewalk, crossing the finish line in Recreio dos Bandeirantes. That’s as live as it gets.
Estação Baião de Dois
Located in the São Cristóvão open market, this is a temple for northwest Brazilian food. Tourists can taste the iconic acarajé (a humble fritter made of black-eyed pea flour deep-fried in red palm oil and served split in half, it’s stuffed with a creamy and spicy paste made with shrimp, coconut milk, and peanuts). Also on the menu: crab legs with vinaigrette and carne de sol (heavily salted meat cured under the sun). It also has a great cachaça menu to taste while watching the games on six TV screens strategically placed throughout the room. Don’t forget to save some hours to visit the market.