Get Plenty of Bang for Your Buck at Rio's Best Value Restaurants



Formal dining in Rio de Janeiro can be an eye-wateringly expensive, but that's not to say that travelers on a budget will go hungry in Rio.

Many locals have a keen eye for places that are  'bom e barato' (good AND cheap), so bargain hunters should avoid restaurants aiming themselves squarely at the tourist market, and look out for spots that are packed with cariocas (Rio natives).

It is also worth bearing in mind that main meals in Rio often - but not always - serve two people, so check before ordering to avoid spending twice as much you need to.

In some places, even meals for one are huge - the 'individual' set meals at our top pick, Bar do Arnaudo in Santa Teresa, easily serve two or even three hungry diners. 

Also popular with budget conscious visitors to Rio are the city's many 'por kilo' restaurants - where diners take their pick from a buffet and pay according to the weight of their plate - offer everything from sushi and colorful salads to steak for a set price per 100 grams.  Generally catering to the lunchtime market, these spots are a great opportunity to try a number of different foods without spending  a lot of money.

There are even affordable options in famously pricey neighborhoods such as Leblon - try funky Mexican La Calaca for delicious dishes and cocktails that won't break the bank.

 




Occupying a corner building on Santa Teresa's liveliest square - Largo do Guimaraes - Cafe do Alto has carved out a reputation for serving delicious dishes at fair prices, in a wonderfully colorful setting. The emphasis is on food from Brazil's...  Read More


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Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Take just a slight detour from Santa Teresa´s main tourist trail and you´ll find one of the neighborhood´s best value bar-restaurants. Located just a few minutes´ walk (follow the tram line uphill from the main square at Largo do Guimaraes),...  Read More




This funky Mexican restaurant at the heart of Rio's trendy Leblon neighborhood serves food to satisfy any hankering for Mexican food, as well as immaculately-presented margaritas and other cocktails that taste as good as they look. The food is...  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




This downtown vegetarian lunch spot is slightly hidden above a backstreet store, but it's well worth seeking out. A popular choice with local workers - whether veggie or just looking for a healthy and budget-friendly lunch. Each day there's a...  Read More


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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.

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