Best Places to Enjoy Al Fresco Eating, Drinking in Rio de Janeiro

The year-round hot (often scorching) sunny weather and spectacular natural landscape make outdoor dining in Rio de Janeiro an extremely enticing option.  And there's no shortage of opportunity to enjoy a bite to eat by the beach or a romantic meal under the stars in Rio. 

The beachfronts of Ipanema and Copacabana are lined with eating opportunities that range from smart bar-restaurants to simple kiosks selling sardines, French fries and bargain caipirinhas, while up in the hills of Santa Teresa diners can enjoy a meal in a magical setting at the tropical gardens of Aprazivel or an informal meal on the leafy patios of Cafecito or Rustico.

Sidewalk tables and chairs offer a chance to people-watch, admire the scenery and enjoy a meal at the same time, and even the most simple of establishments in Rio will usually offer a few outdoor tables - these tend to be hotly contested when the weather is fine (yes, it does rain in Rio, so make the most of sunny days and dry evenings) so arrive early to grab one if you have a specific destination in mind. Otherwise, simply stroll along busy drinking and dining strips such as Rua do Lavradio, downtown, or Rua Dias Ferreira, in Leblon, until you come across somewhere that takes your fancy. 



Somewhat glitzier than your average Santa Teresa hangout, Explorer bar harbours one end of the famous Largo do Guimaraes square, but has a terrace with views overlooking the steep cobbled streets of this picturesque neighborhood. The drinks,...  Read More

Largo das Neves
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Framed by a pretty whitewashed church and surrounded by laid back bars and restaurants, this neighborhood hangout feels charmingly like a village square despite being mere minutes from Rio city centre. On Friday nights, the square throngs...  Read More



For a night out among Rio's fashionable elite, make a beeline for Rua Dias Ferreira, at the heart of upmarket Leblon. This tree-lined street is lined with so many fashionable bars and upscale restaurants that it has become the go-to spot for...  Read More



While Copacabana wins out as the most picture-perfect city beach in Rio, Ipanema is easily the more chic of the two neighboring stretches of sand. Less flanked by high rise hotels than its neighbor, Ipanema is the ideal place to while away...  Read More

Bar do Bonde
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Take just a slight detour from Santa Teresa's main tourist trail and you'll find one of the neighborhood's best value bar-restaurants. Located just a few minutes' walk (follow the tram line uphill from the main square at Largo do Guimaraes),...  Read More

Rua do Lavradio
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Visitors looking for the historic heart of Rio won't find it by the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, but in the heart of downtown Lapa. Rua do Lavradio was one of the first streets to be built in Rio de Janeiro back in the 1770s, and its...  Read More



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

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


The team behind Santa Teresa's acclaimed Cafecito cafe-bar have expanded into the floor above their much-loved establishment, transforming the leafy courtyard into a dining space that is arelaxed in ambiance and as rustic in decor as the name...  Read More

Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


There's no danger of going hungry at 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...  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


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.