Best Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro: Enjoy Carnivorous Treats and European Feasts

Rio de Janeiro is world famous for the quality of its meat, and there is no better place to try Brazilian beef and pork than at one of the city´s many famous churrascarias, such as our top pick - Porcao Rio's. Operating according to the rodizio system, the restaurant's smartly-clad waiters flit between tables, offering cut after cut of meat. With a staggering array of salads and sides at the restaurant's heaving buffet, vegetarians won't go hungry here either.

For informal dining, head to one of Rio de Janeiro's many 'botecos' - casual bar restaurants where food and drink provide the focal point for social activity. It is rare for Brazilians to drink without eating, and classic bars such as Bar do Mineiro, in Santa Teresa, are as much about the culinary offering as they are about the lively ambience and free-flowing beer. 

Fine dining tends to have a European air in Rio - among the city´s most celebrated restaurants are the refined Italian restaurant Pergula at Copacabana Palace, and the upmarket French eatery Olympe, manned by celebrity chef Claude Troisgros.

Tapas and other small eats are becoming big news on Rio´s dining scene, too. Hip Spanish restaurant Venga! blazed a trail for small-plate dining, while the similarly fabulous Stuzzi celebrates Italy´s take on the concept. 

Based on the Italian concept of 'Stuzzichini' - small plates of light bites for sharing over drinks, similar to Spanish Tapas or Greek Mezze - Stuzzi brings together deliciously moreish finger foods and dangerously drinkable cocktails to create...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Rio de Janeiro has traditionally been lacking coffee shops that have gone beyond with-or-without-milk, but this Argentine-owned spot in leafy Santa Teresa is one spot where a good cappuccino or cafe latte is guaranteed. Perfectly positioned...  Read More

Opened in 2012, this relatively new addition to Rua Dias Ferreira's already-illustrious drinking and dining scene, Brigitte's soon found a loyal clientele. The chic whitewashed space is now one of the most popular spots on this smart gastronomic...  Read More

Widely considered to be the best Tapas bar in town, Venga serves the traditional Spanish-style small eats in a relaxed atmosphere that lends itself perfectly to socializing over a jug of sangria. Spicy sausages, picante potatoes and delicious...  Read More

For the ultimate indulgent Rio experience, head to the Pergula, the elegant poolside restaurant at the enduringly elegant Copacabana Palace hotel. Less formal than the hotel's fine dining Italian restaurant, Cipriani. at Pergula you can dine in...  Read More

It doesn't look like much, but this unpretentious little spot in leafy Santa Teresa offers vast portions of delicious Northeastern Brazilian food at more than reasonable prices. The walls are hung with paintings by Chilean artist Selaron -...  Read More

Located high on a jungle-clad hillside in Santa Teresa, Aprazivel is worth a visit for the views alone. Wisely making the most of the sweeping vistas over downtown Rio, the owners have made al-fresco dining the order of the day, here, with...  Read More

This top-end French restaurant is arguably the most celebrated eatery in Rio de Janeiro, and is manned by celebrity chef Claude Troisgros - of the multi Michelin-starred Troisgras family of France. The award-strewn restaurant offers such...  Read More

Brazil is famous for the quality of its meat, and carnivores with a hankering to sink their teeth into as many cuts as possible will be in seventh heaven at Porcao. This chain of Brazilian ' churrascarias', or meat grills, works on an...  Read More

Brazilian celebrity Chef Felipe Bronze performs culinary alchemy at this super-trendy Jardim Botanico restaurant. The menu largely eschews main dishes in favor of a dazzling array of small plates, and Brazilian ingredients are given a...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.