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.