Start the Day the Brazilian Way at Rio's Top Breakfast Spots

Whether you eat at your hotel or head out to a cafe to start your day, breakfast in Rio won't disappoint. These lavish spreads are ideal for enjoying at a leisurely pace - a typical cafe de manha includes tempting platters of fresh fruit, cheeses (try the semi-soft, salty Minas, other cheeses tend to lack flavor), cold meats, breads and cakes all typically putting in an appointment at the first meal of the day. Jams, jellies and delicious fresh juices are also present and correct, or you could try a vitamina - a smoothie made with fruit and milk.

Coffee, served strong and often pre-sweetened, will shake away the cobwebs, and thoe on wheat-free diets can enjoy another Brazilian institution - Pao de Queijo. These little cheese bread balls are made with manioc flour, and are incredibly moreish when served hot out of the oven.

Should you be looking for something a little more simple, the city's innumerous juice bars offer an ideal opportunity to try a tropical fruit vitamina, a strong cafe com leite (milky coffee) and a salgado (savory snack, usually a pastry filled with meat or cheese).

Our top pick, Santa Teresa's funky hangout Cafe do Alto has emerged in the last year as the neighborhood's top destination for a hearty breakfast or brunch, and attracts hordes of locals and tourists.  For the ultimate indulgence, splash out on cafe by the pool at Pergula, Copacabana Palace's elegant restaurant, or for a taste of home, head to Ipanema's popular Gringo Cafe for pancakes, bacon and muffins.

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...  Read More

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...  Read More

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,...  Read More

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...  Read More

Located a few blocks from Ipanema beach and right next door to the strip of backpacker lodgings dubbed 'Hostel Alley', this health food store, buffet restaurant and snack bar offers a huge range of wholesome ingredients for self caterers as well...  Read More

Your morning coffee 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...  Read More

Acai (pronounced Ah-sigh-ee) is a 'power berry´ native to the Brazilian Amazon that has been credited with everything from boosting energy levels to preserving youthful looks. While there are any number of spots purporting to sell acai (usually...  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

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

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


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.