The Best Spots for Beachfront Drinking and Dining in Copacabana

Rio de Janeiro offers many enjoyable dining experiences, and enjoying a meal by the beach is right up there with the best of them. Whether you're looking for a post-beach snack or a fine dining experience, you'll find it within easy reach of the world famous beach. 

Majorly spruced-up before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Copacabana beachfront continues to be a focus for investment in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, and it's now a top spot for drinking and dining at any time of day or night.

Floodlighting, ramped-up police presence and the constant stream of joggers, cyclist and strolling families means it's now a pleasant place for eating and drinking even late at night, and there's no shortage of options.

The kiosks right on the sands offer everything from sardines and fries to salmon and Champagne, while a hop across the road will take you the longest strip of restaurants and bars in the city, on beach-facing Avenida Atlantica. There are some classy 'special occasion' restaurants here - Le Pre-Catelan and Cipriani both rank among the finest formal restaurants in the city. 

Family-friendly options abound, too - several of the beach kiosks have their own small playgrounds, and most offer child-friendly menu options such as toasted sandwiches and fresh fruit juices. 


Sushi is taken seriously but the atmosphere is lighthearted at this excellent Japanese restaurant at the Leme end of Copacabana. Sushi and sashimi abound in seemingly endless variations, while edamame beans are satisfyingly crunchy and miso soup feels suitably health-giving. Dine at the counter or seated on cushions around ultra-low tables, and sip on a fresh fruit juice, Japanese beer or, to perfectly combine the tastes of Japan and Brazil, a caipisake - a twist on the classic caipirinha cocktail, using Japanese rice wine in place of cachaca rum.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: This hidden Japanese hotspot is just a hop from the beach at Leme

Lucy's expert tip: This is not a spot for formal dining - be prepared to take your shoes off to sit at the low tables

Read more about Azumi →

This chic Italian restaurant is housed within the elegant confines of Copacabana Palace Hotel, and welcomes non-guests with reservations. The service is as impeccable as the renderings of Italian dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients, and the fresh pasta is simply wonderful. This is about as formal as dining gets in Rio, so put on your glad rags if you want to feel at home in a spot that has catered to a range of A-listers that takes in such diverse names as the Obamas, Will Smith, Madonna and Mick Jagger. There´s no need to go for full on black-tie and tux, but smart attire is a must.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: The formal dining restaurant at Copacabana Palace doesn't have beach views, but it does have some of the best food and service in the city.

Lucy's expert tip: Diners are respectfully asked to turn off their phones before entering the dining room, so don´t come here if you are waiting for an urgent call.

Read more about Cipriani →

This retro-chic bar in Arpoador - the point where Copacabana meets Ipanema beach - maintains a jazzy sense of fun while taking its food and drinks seriously. Top foodie picks are the seafood and pasta dishes, while the cocktail list is staggeringly long- there is even a menu entirely dedicated to gin and tonics. Meanwhile, beer drinkers can make themselves comfortable - waitstaff stroll around the bar selling ice-cold, freshly-poured chopp (draught beer) to customers right at their tables. The tables on the sidewalk patio are hotly disputed, and with good reason - the location is perfect for sipping cocktails and watching the sun make its dramatic descent over the sands.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: The great views, good food and fantastic cocktails make this worth the quick stroll to Arpoador.

Lucy's expert tip: Come here for bar snacks and drinks or full meals - the menu caters to all appetite levels.

Read more about Bar Astor →


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 Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: For fine dining without formality, this legendary poolside bar is the place.

Lucy's expert tip: You don't need to be a guest at the hotel to dine at Pergula, but make an effort to look as casually-chic as possible if you want to make it past the doormen.

Read more about Pergula →

Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

There's no danger of going hungry on Copacabana beach. While vendors stroll the sands selling simple snacks and sandwiches, the boardwalk is lined with bars and restaurants that range from cheap and cheerful to seriously sophisticated. Here you can tuck into everything from a plate of fried sardines to smoked salmon washed down with a glass of genuine French Champagne. When it comes to relaxed dining, this is really the way to do it, and the leisurely pace of life here means you can linger as long as you like over your meal and drinks. With some kiosks open into the small hours, this is a great place to start or end a night out.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: Strolling along the beachfront until you come to a kiosk that takes your fancy is one of the many joys of a visit to Copacabana beach.

Lucy's expert tip: Come in your swimwear - that way you can tan as you eat and drink.

Read more about Copacabana Beach →

Thanks to an enviable location at Copacabana's closest point to Ipanema, Atlantis offers stunning views that take in the length of Copacabana beach. An outdoor seating area makes the most of these sweeping vistas, and the food on offer is just as appetizing as the visual feast. There are some solid renderings of French and European dishes, but locals flock here for the Saturday feijoada, the perfectly grilled picanha steak, and the famous Sunday seafood buffet. With attentive service and a perfectly-crafted caipirinha, this is one of the best spots in the city to enjoy dinner with a sea breeze.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: Atlantis serves food that is as delicious as the extraordinary views over the curving beach

Lucy's expert tip: This hotel restaurant is open to non-guests, but book ahead to secure a table.

Read more about Atlantis →

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 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 Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: Good coffee, cocktails and views that take in the entire length of Copacabana beach make this a good spot for late lunch or early evening meal.

Lucy's expert tip: Head here before a visit to Copacabana Fort Museum followed by a few lazy hours on the beach.

Read more about Cafe 18 do Forte →

This lively and laid back beachfront restaurant in Copacabana is among the best of the many options on tourist-focused Avenida Atlantica. Don't bother with indoor dining here, the main reason to come is the vast covered deck facing the ocean, where sandy-toed sunbathers linger over late lunches in the afternoon, and a dressier clientele gathers to sip caipirinhas after dark. Along with a fixed-price all-you-can-eat buffet (11.30-4.30 Monday-Friday) there's a mix of traditional Brazilian and Portuguese dishes, with sea food being the star of the show. Burgers, mixed grills and rib eye steaks will gladden carnivores' hearts, while the 'Symphony of the Sea' - which includes lobster, octopus and shrimp alongside saffron rice, is a perfect companion to the sea view. Just add caipirinha or ice cold beer for the perfect post-beach meal.

Recommended for Copacabana's Best Beach Restaurants because: This is one of the best of the many tourist-focused restaurants on Copacabana's main restaurant strip

Lucy's expert tip: Go for seafood or meat dishes rather than pizzas, which tend to be disappointing.

Read more about Deck Bar & Restaurante →

Seafood, sea views, ice cold beers and a chilled vibe make this one of the most popular of Copacabana's many beach bars. It's located at Posto 3 - lifeguard post three - making it pretty much midway along the beachfront, so it's a good place to stop and refuel if you're taking a stroll along the five kilometer promenade. You don't need to order a full meal, but you may find yourself tempted by some of the fresh seafood on offer here, as well as decent range of cocktails as well as the standard beers and caipirinhas.

Read more about Gosto de Mar →

This kebab-focused food and drink spot has several branches in Rio, but the one at the Leme end of Copacabana beach is the most appealing, thanks to its stellar location. Tables and chairs are set up in front of the outdoor bar which sits atop a giant rock harboring one end of the beach, allowing drinkers and diners to enjoy a view that takes in the full four-mile sweep of white sand beach. Popular throughout the day and well into the evening, the food focus is mainly on various types of 'meat on a stick', but there are veggie options too - including a tempting palm heart, arugula and sun-dried tomato kebab, and some yummy fruit and chocolate combinations. The drinks list impresses, too - there's a wide range of Brazilian and imported beers, and a cocktail menu that goes way beyond the ubiquitous caipirinhas.

Read more about Espetto Carioca →


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.