Dine Out in Style in Rio de Janeiro's Chic Leblon Neighborhood

The upmarket Rio neighborhood of Leblon has carved a reputation for itself as the city's foodie heartland, attracting tourists and wealthy locals to its slick restaurants and laid back cafe-bars.

In keeping with its reputation as one of the city's trendiest areas, Leblon restaurants tend to be more about casual chic than formal fine dining, but the food is taken as seriously as the drink and the fashionable decor at bar-restaurants such as Italian small-plates restaurant Stuzzi, smart bistro Brigite's and funky Mexican spot La Calaca.

If in doubt about where to eat, head for the foodie strip that is Rua Dias Ferreira, to find the largest concentration of high end, food-focused bars and restaurants in the city. Stop for small eats and drinks at a few places or settle in for the evening at your hangout of choice.

Japanese food is hugely popular in Rio, and the elegant Sushi Leblon is widely regarded as the best Japanese restaurant in the city, while Venga! is the original and still the best tapas restaurant in a city where the Spanish-style nibbles have been slow to take off. For something more authentically Brazilian, Chico & Alaide has one of the city's most extensive selections of petiscos (traditional small plates), while Jobi is one of Rio's best loved botecos (relaxed bar-restaurants), serving superior bar snacks to a bohemian clientele. Vegetarians and vegans are spoiled for organic eats at meat-free institution Vegetariano Social Clube, where there's a hearty set-price lunch buffet and a-la-carte choices in the evening.  

In a neighborhood where many bars are formal and a little stuffy, Jobi is a breath of fresh air. The early-opening, late-closing Leblon institution is a fine example of the Rio boteco - botecos being informal bars serving food and good company...  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

Chico & Alaide
Photo courtesy of Chico & Alaide

The Brazilian bar snack, when well made, is a beautiful thing, and those at Chico & Alaide are among the best in Rio. The pair behind the bar have created a 'petiscos' (snacks) list that is so extensive it is hard to know where to begin, but...  Read More

Rio's culinary heritage has been notably influenced by Portuguese settlers, but there are relatively few fine dining restaurants in the city where this influence really comes to the fore. At Antiquarius, in Leblon, Portuguese and Brazilian...  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

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

A relatively recent addition to Rua Dias Ferreira's already-illustrious drinking and dining scene, the chic whitewashed space that is Brigite's has fast become part of the well-heeled establishment. The bistro-style dishes are as immaculately...  Read More

Venga serves the traditional Spanish-style small eats in a relaxed atmosphere that lends itself perfectly to socializing over a jug of sangria. Widely considered to be the best tapas bar in town, and the first to open in a city that was slow to...  Read More

Fresh, handmade pasta and wood-fired pizzas are the stars of the menu at this authentic Italian restaurant located at the meeting point between Ipanema and Leblon. The restaurant specialises in dishes from the Emilia Romana region of Italy,...  Read More

Among countless Rio de Janeiro sushi restaurants, Sushi Leblon is the sophisticated standout. The restaurant is perfectly suited to the slender, elegant souls that frequent it - forget the all-you-can eat sushi 'rodizios' served by the majority...  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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