From Meat Feasts to Vegan Treats: The Best Rio de Janeiro Restaurants

Rio de Janeiro is a great city for foodies, and while dining out can be pricey the top fine dining options really do deliver a memorable experience (tip - restaurants with a view are always a good bet in this stunning city).

For a real treat, try the culinary tricks at our Michelin-starred top pick, Oro, or sample Brazil's famously good beef at a churrascaria such as Fogo de Chao, which has expanded internationally.  Operating according to the rodizio system, the restaurant's smartly-clad waiters flit between tables, offering cut after cut of meat. With a staggering array of salads and sides at the restaurant's heaving buffet, vegetarians won't go hungry here either.

For informal dining, head to one of Rio de Janeiro's many 'botecos' - casual bar restaurants where food and drink provide the focal point for social activity. It is rare for Brazilians to drink without eating, and classic bars such as Bar do Mineiro, in Santa Teresa, are as much about the culinary offering as they are about the lively ambience and free-flowing beer. 

Fine dining tends to have a European air in Rio - a good case in point being the upmarket Olympe,  manned by celebrity chef Claude Troisgros.

Tapas and other small eats are becoming big news on Rio´s dining scene, too. Hip Spanish restaurant Venga! blazed a trail for small-plate dining, while at the other end of the scale the enduringly popular Bar do Arnaudo serves mammoth portions of hearty dishes from Northeastern Brazil. 

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

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

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

This popular steakhouse has branches across Brazil and has even expanded internationally. The Barra branch offers top quality grilled meats on a 'rodizio' basis - waiters flit among the tables, offering slice after freshly-cooked slice to...  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

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

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

Located high on a jungle-clad hillside in Santa Teresa, Aprazivel is worth a visit for the views alone. Wisely making the most of the sweeping vistas over downtown Rio, the owners have made al-fresco dining the order of the day, here, with...  Read More

This top-end French restaurant is arguably the most celebrated eatery in Rio de Janeiro, and is manned by celebrity chef Claude Troisgros - of the multi Michelin-starred Troisgras family of France. The award-strewn restaurant offers such...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Oro/Tomas Rangel

Brazilian celebrity Chef Felipe Bronze performs culinary alchemy at this super-trendy Jardim Botanico restaurant. The menu largely eschews main dishes in favor of a dazzling array of small plates, and Brazilian ingredients are given a...  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.