The Best Spots for Take-Out Treats in Rio

Rio de Janeiro is a city that offers boundless opportunities for new culinary experiences, and a good way to sample the true taste of Brazil is to grab food on the hoof from an inexpensive juice bar or street stand. Two absolute must-tries for the culinarily curious are pao de queijo and acai. The former is a delicious little bread roll made from cheese and manioc flour (meaning it is naturally gluten free), and the version served at Santa Teresa's organic haven Cultivar Brazil is truly a thing of joy when served piping hot from the oven. The latter is a Brazilian power berry sourced from the Amazon, which is classed as a 'super fruit' and has made its way into super-expensive juices and smoothies in the USA and Europe. Here, it is served crushed and frozen as a kind of sorbet, whose intriguing taste somehow calls to mind nuts, ice cream and bubble gum. Acai is considered a potent energy booster but is often served so stiff with added sugar that any extra energy may simply be a sufr rush - try the version at Amazonia Soul, where the berry is served at its pure, antioxidant-packed best. 

Also keep an eye out for acaraje - a northeastern Brazilian speciality that can be grabbed to go at several spots including a great one in Santa Teresa

The deliciousl toasted sandwiches at Cafecito and Cafeina can be ordered 'pra viagem' (to go), while Rio's buffet restaurants also offer take away options.  

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



Budget travelers can feast on all manner of treats at this downtown lunch restaurant. The self-service buffet includes everything from sushi and rice noodles to hot meat, fish and chicken dishes, alongside staples like rice and beans, fries, and...  Read More



High on a hillside in the boho, historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa, each weekend sees Nega Teresa set up her chandelier-lit stall selling authentic Bahian acaraje (pronouced ah-kah-rah-gay). To the uninitiated, these savoury treats are bean...  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

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Made from nothing but specially-sieved manioc flour, tapioca is one of the real joys of Rio de Janeiro's street food scene. The flour (which is naturally gluten-free) is tipped into a hot pan where it forms a kind of pancake to be loaded with...  Read More



The down-town branch of Pampa Grill (the original branch, in Barra, has been in business some 30 years) is a popular choice among local business people, who head here for the excellent cuts of meat on offer, along with the vast range of hot and...  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



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



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,...  Read More

Cultivar Brazil
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


This little gem of a lunch spot at the heart of Santa Teresa is a real treasure trove of tastiness for anybody with an aversion to gluten or a preference for natural, organic ingredients. Alongside a range of wholemeal sweet and savory tarts and...  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.