Rio de Janeiro beaches are celebrated in film and in music, and it is no surprise that most visitors to Rio head straight for the legendary sands of Copacabana and Ipanema. While many restaurants serve expensive, below-average food in this area, Atlantis restaurant stands out for its great ocean views coupled with delicious food.
It's not surprising that, with such an influx of tourists, the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema have their fair share of tourist trap restaurants. Copacabana beachfront, in particular, has a high number of restaurants that serve merely standard food and drink at sky-high prices, the owners content to rest on their laurels, safe in the knowledge that their location on Avenida Atlantica (the main road along the beach) will be enough to keep the punters flocking in.
But while visitors need to be wary of tourist traps, there is plenty to please foodies along the curved shoreline of Copacabana. Along with some genuinely enticing beachfront kiosks, one real culinary star is Atlantis, which occupies a prime position at Copacabana's closest point to Ipanema. Harboring this end of the beach, the restaurant's outdoor seating area offers stunning views right across the five-kilometer beach to Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Atlantis restaurant harbors one end of Copacabana beach. — Photo courtesy of Sofitel Rio
But there's more to the restaurant's appeal than simply stunning views. Located beside the pools of the smart Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana hotel, Atlantis pays the same attention to quality and detail as its more formal sister restaurant, the award-strewn Le Pre Catalan.
Atlantis bills itself as an international restaurant, but while there are some solid renderings of French and Italian dishes on the menu, diners would be wise to take advantage of the excellent Brazilian fare on offer.
Along with some tempting petiscos (light finger foods) - such as a near-flawless version of that Brazilian bar staple bolinhos de bacalhau (little cod balls with potato and herbs) - there is a wonderful Saturday feijoada (Brazilian tradition holds that Saturday should be the day set aside for enjoying the hearty bean and meat feast that makes up the national dish.). Meanwhile, Sundays entice hordes of seafood-loving gourmands keen to tuck into the restaurant's famous seafood buffet.
Whatever you order, be sure to wash it down with a caipirinha cocktail. Granted, the drink can be found at any watering hole in the city. But rarely is it made with as much care and attention as the dangerously drinkable version served here.
With friendly, attentive service and a pleasingly relaxed atmosphere, Atlantis is a good option for a romantic meal, a business dinner or even a meal out with the family.