Much of Rio de Janeiro´s social scene centers around food, and the city is well geared up towards large groups of diners.
As Brazilians rarely drink on an empty stomach, most bars serve food - from petiscos - (bar snacks) to hearty, alcohol-absorbing full meals, and most botequims (bar-restaurants) are perfectly happy to host families with young children as well as large and lively groups of friends.
Among the best-loved of Rio's food-focused botequims are Leblon institution Jobi, famed for its excellent bolinhos de bacalhau (seasoned cod and potato balls) and the lively Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa, which serves hearty traditional plates from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil as well as some delicious small eats such as pastries stuffed with cheese, shrimp, or black beans.
Our top pick is trendy Spanish restaurant Venga, in Leblon, which led the charge for Tapas restaurants in Rio, and politely suggests that patrons turn off their phones and talk among themselves. Nearby Stuzzi offers Tapas-style dining with Italian small plates. Also in Leblon, La Calaca does Mexican food - and tequila-based drinks - with aplomb.
For something more traditional, head to Porcao for a meat feast that can be stretched out over an entire afternoon or evening - here waiters bring cut after cut of freshly grilled meat to your table, while an immense buffet of salads and sides ensures vegetarians won´t go hungry.
Rio de Janeiro is gradually developing its own cafe culture, too, and Cafecito is one of the best options in town with its leafy, ornate terrace, good strong coffees and cocktails and delicious light meals.
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