Best Spots for Hearty, Homestyle Treats in Rio de Janeiro

Given the soaring temperatures, one might expect Rio de Janeiro dining to be all about light salads and seafood. In fact, the opposite is true, and heavy rice and beans are the staple part of virtually any home-style meal Rio de Janeiro. 

The one meal they are not served is at breakfast, which is a veritable feast of breads, cheeses, cold cuts, cakes, coffee, fresh fruits, jams and jellies as well as delicious pao de queijo - an addictive mix of manioc flour, eggs and cheese.

Our top spot for a home-style feast is Bar do Arnaudo, a welcoming and unpretentious little spot in Santa Teresa that serves mammoth portions of hearty Northeastern Brazilian cuisine. The Brazilian national dish, feijoada, sees black beans mixed with all manner of meat cuts and served with spring greens, rice and farofa (seasoned manioc flour). Traditionally served on Saturdays, feijoada can be enjoyed any day of the week at Casa da Feijoada, while a delicious vegetarian version is on the menu at Leblon´s Vegetariano Social Clube, while that other Brazilian speciality, grilled meat, can be enjoyed across the city at spots such as Churrascaria Pampa Grill. And what better way to toast your visit to Rio than with a traditional caiprinha, that mix of rum, lime and sugar that is as intoxicating as the city itself.

The down-town branch of Pampa Grill (the original branch, in Barra, has been in business some 30 years) is a popular choice among local business people, who head here for the excellent cuts of meat on offer, along with the vast range of hot and...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

The team behind Santa Teresa's acclaimed Cafecito cafe-bar have expanded into the floor above their much-loved establishment, transforming the leafy courtyard into a dining space that is arelaxed in ambiance and as rustic in decor as the name...  Read More

Cultivar Brazil
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

This small, unassuming, unsigned little lunch and brunch spot is a great option for anybody with an aversion to gluten or a preference for natural, organic ingredients. Alongside a range of wholemeal sweet and savory tarts and pies and some...  Read More

Whether you're a staunch vegetarian, a health-food enthusiast or even a carnivore who has tucked into one steak too many, this cosy corner restaurant in Leblon is just the ticket. Healthfood and organic eating is a growing sector of Rio's...  Read More

Da Casa da Tata frequently crops up in food and drink magazines' 'Best of' lists, with its breakfasts in particular garnering rave reviews. The range of home-made breads is in itself a reason to visit, and the fresh-out-of-the-oven smell...  Read More

Feira Nordestina de Sao Cristovao
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

It doesn't feature on many tourist itineraries, but foodies in Rio should be sure to pay a visit to this vast market dedicated to all things Northeastern. A huge, purpose built space housing hundreds of food and drinks stalls and restaurants...  Read More

With a prime location on the main drinking and dining strip in leafy, artsy Santa Teresa, Bar do Mineiro is the focal point for the neighborhood's famously lively social scene. As the name suggests, the menu bears the culinary influences of...  Read More

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

Feijoada - a hearty bean and meat feast - is Brazil's national dish, and no foodie worth their salt will want to leave Rio without having tried it. Traditionally served only on Saturdays, Casa da Feijoada is one spot where you can feast on...  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


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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