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Top Spots to Enjoy Breakfast or Brunch in Rio de Janeiro



A trip to Rio de Janeiro is awash with opportunities for foodie indulgence, and the culinary adventures begin with the first meal of the day. Breakfast in Rio offers a chance to tuck into everything from delicious fresh tropical fruits and juices to warm bread rolls with cheeses, jellies and cold meats, as well as traditional Brazilian breakfast items such as gorgeously gooey pao de queijo - cheese rolls made with manioc flour - and goiabada - solid guava jelly often eaten together with salty white Minas cheese. And let's not forget the excellent coffee.

While Brunch is a relatively new concept in Rio, it's common for breakfast to be a leisurely affair, and the city's penchant for late-night partying means that many places offer late breakfasts to cater for those visitors who have perhaps had a caipirinha or two the night before. 

Topping the list of breakfast and brunch options is the welcoming Da Casa da Tata, in scenic Jardim Botanico, while Santa Teresa's Cafe do Alto has become a popular choice for its vast array of Northeastern Brazilian breakfast and brunch choices, and an enormous weekend buffet that takes in everything from fruit salad to hunks of aipim (yucca) and sun-dried beef. 

If you want to splash out, the brunches at Pergula - Hotel Copacabana Palace's  elegant poolside restaurant, are the stuff of legend.


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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 dining scene, but this Leblon favorite was one of the first to open, and is still unarguably one of the best. At lunch, diners can load their plates high at a wholefood buffet including soups, salads, beans, rice, soya dishes and a range of healthy pies and pastries for a set price, while a-la-carte options are available in the evening. The vegan version of 'feijaoda', the usually-meaty national dish, made here with smoked tofu, is legendary.

Read more about Vegetariano Social Clube →




Given its abundant supply of coffee beans, Brazil has been surprisingly slow to pick up on the coffee bar trend, but Cafeina is one spot where caffeine boosts are more inventive than simply with-or-without-milk. Alongside a range of cappuccinos, lattes and espressos, there are some seriously tasty cakes, pastries and other goodies that make wonderfully indulgent companions to a creamy coffee. Sandwiches here are good lunch options, and the place also serves lavish breakfasts and afternoon teas. A good place to linger over a book with a good cup of strong coffee, Cafeina has truly earned a place in locals' hearts.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: Excellent coffee and gorgeous cakes and savory pastries are on offer all day - and all night - at Cafeina.

Lucy's expert tip: Hungry but keeping an eye on your beach body? There's a low-fat breakfast platter with plenty of fresh fruit and wholegrains.

Read more about Cafeina →


For a taste of Rio's Belle Epoque past, head to this historic cafe-restaurant in downtown Rio. Ornate chandeliers and jacaranda wood mirrors make an elegant setting for breakfasts, brunches and afternoon teas, and this is the ideal place to take the weight of your feet and soak up the opulence during a Centro shopping or sightseeing spree. Head here for a quick espresso and a pastry at the stand up balcony or sit down and relax with a full breakfast spread complete with breads, coffee, cakes, jams, jellies, juices and fruit. Just don't forget your camera to capture the grandeur of the place.

Read more about Confeitaria Colombo →


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Your leisurely brunch comes with a refreshing sea breeze and stunning sea views at this al-fresco spot in the grounds of Copacabana Fort. Breakfast is served at several outdoor table and, while service can be a little on the slow side, who's in a rush when you've got a view over Copacabana beach and out to sea? The 'farmhouse breakfast' (R$29) features corn cake, coffee cheese, baskets of bread, fruit and the delicious Brazilian speciality that is pao de quejo - little rolls of manioc flour and cheese. Come here with time to spare and take your time just soaking up the view and enjoying the cooling breezes.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: Gorgeous views and lavish breakfast and brunch menus make this a tempting spot for a breakfast or brunch feast.

Lucy's expert tip: Reward a walk along Copacabana's 4-mile sweep of sand with a drink and bite to eat here.

Read more about Cafe 18 do Forte →


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 yummy sandwiches, there are gluten-free cakes, tarts (try the palm-heart and yogurt) and a mini-store stocked with a range of pastas, biscuits and other goodies to take away. In addition, Cultivar Brazil serves unarguably the best Pao de Queijo (little cheese breads made with manioc flour), here made with organic ingredients. There's no sign above the cafe, but Cultivar Brazil opens right onto Santa Teresa's main drinking and dining strip.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: Cariocas flock from all over town to tuck into the famous pao de queijo at Cultivar Brasil, and the acai is hugely popular, too.

Lucy's expert tip: Wait until a fresh batch of pao de queijo comes fresh out of the oven, as these little lovelies are at their best when hot.

Read more about Cultivar Brazil →




A spot for those who take their coffee seriously, Alle Cafe offers some 50 types of blends to its discerning customers. Along with coffees made from the beans of small farms in the interior of Brazil, the cafe offers its clientele the chance to make their own blend according to personal tastes, and there are even coffee-based cocktails, including a delicious cappuccino martini. There's a truly tempting range of snacks to accompany the main event too - cakes, croissants and toasted sandwiches here all come highly recommended. Head here during a walking tour of Jardim Botanico and nearby Lagoa - you'll appreciate the caffeine boost.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: This is the place to come for a serious caffeine fix, and there are tempting cakes and other goodies too.

Lucy's expert tip: Head here to boost energy levels while sightseeing in Jardim Botanico and Lagoa.

Read more about Alle Cafe →




For the ultimate indulgent Rio experience, head to the Pergula, the elegant poolside restaurant at the enduringly elegant Copacabana Palace hotel. Less formal than the hotel's fine dining Italian restaurant, Cipriani. at Pergula you can dine in your (suitanbly stylish) swimwear and sarong. Watch beautiful people splash around in the pool as you sip Champagne cocktails and dine on seafood and light pasta dishes, or head here for the famous breakfasts and brunches, which include salmon and even caviar washed down with a spot of bubbly. The likes of the Obamas, Will Smith and Madonna have all dined here, so keep your eyes peeled for A-listers.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: The poolside brunch here is a cut above the rest - think salmon and bubbly - making it the top spot for feeling fabulous in Rio.

Lucy's expert tip: You don't need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy brunch at Pergula, but throw on your best casual-chic gear if you want to feel at home.

Read more about Pergula →


Aimed squarely at North Americans with a hankering for taste of their homeland, Gringo Cafe does a roaring trade in US DIner-style favorites such as hash browns, bottomless coffees, pancakes, waffles and French toast, as well as delicious cakes, milkshakes and cheese burgers made with imported American cheese. The breakfasts, served all day, are manna from heaven for many homesick ex-pats, who can indulge a craving for bacon, eggs made any way you choose, while mains such as mac & cheese and spaghetti with meatballs also help to keep homesickness pangs at bay. A couple of blocks back from the beach, Gringo Cafe is also popular with wealthy locals keen to experience a taste of North America, but the English-speaking staff mean that bedazzled visitors to the city can relax and put the phrase book away here.

Read more about Gringo Cafe →




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 Northeast, but but avoids the stodginess that sometimes weighs down Nordestino cooking. Light dishes include tapioca panckaes filled with everything from tomato and marinated tomatoes or shredded jerk beef, to sweet versions filled with fruit and curd cheese; while recommended mains include moqueca - a typical seafood stew, here adapted to include veggie friendly versions made with palm heart or yucca. There are abundant breakfast options, and the weekend breakfast buffet - which runs until 1pm - is the ideal hangover cure for anybody who partied hard in nearby Lapa the night before. Service is attentive, the decor is cheery and the cafe scores major parental brownie points for its kid-friendly menu and drawing materials.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: The weekend buffet breakfast/brunch at Cafe do Alto is a hearty feast of Northeastern specialties

Lucy's expert tip: There's a good - if pricey - range of wines, along with an extensive craft beer selection and yummy batidas (mixture of fruit, condensed milk and sugar cane rum).

Read more about Cafe do Alto →




Breakfasts at Da Casa da Tata frequently crop up in food and drink magazines' 'Best of' lists, and this welcoming Zona Sul spot is the perfect place to linger over the first meal of the day. The range of home-made breads is in itself a reason to visit, and the fresh-out-of-the-oven smell hangs in the air as you enter, to mouthwatering effect. Breakfasts range from simple - bread, butter, jam, juice and coffee - to lavish spreads of cakes, pastries, breads, cheeses, fresh fruit and juices, and the coffee is seriously good. Bring a newspaper or some pleasant company, and prepare for breakfast to extend into brunch.

Recommended for Breakfast/Brunch because: Da Casa da Tata offers deliciously fresh breakfast and brunch feasts, in a welcoming environment.

Lucy's expert tip: Come here with a hearty appetite and time to spare, and enjoy Brazilian breakfast at its lavish best.

Read more about Da Casa da Tata →


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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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