Rio de Janeiro is an incredible city – exciting, beautiful and passionate. It is a world-class tourist destination and will be a spectacular host to the 2016 Summer Games.
In regards to food, Rio has it all: casual, neighborhood botecos for a quick petisco through to outstanding Michelin-starred restaurants serving the finest of cuisine. Every taste and palate can be accommodated in this energetic, coastal city. Dining out is a way of life for the Carioca, and there is no shortage of options here for true foodies.
Listed by area, here is a selection of our favorite establishments. These are the restaurants we frequented many times over during the 2014 World Cup. We’re excited to share our findings with those visiting Rio in 2016 for what promises to be a truly memorable Summer Games. Bon appétit!
As one of our choice locations for guests travelling with us to the Summer Games, Iconic Ipanema is beautiful and spirited. It inspired the song “The Girl from Ipanema” and is the birthplace of the Bossa Nova. Ipanema boasts a spectacular beach, sophisticated shopping and a host of great restaurants. Its cultural scene is vibrant, as displayed through its many art galleries, theatres, markets and clubs.
Our restaurant recommendations are within walking distance or a quick taxi ride from our 2016 Summer Games Ipanema Hotels.
A popular Carioca restaurant featuring large cuts of fine, local beef. Try the traditional Brazilian cut picanha cooked to perfection and served by butcher-coated waiters. Esplanada Grill provides a cozy atmosphere, personal service and a great location in a charming neighborhood.
Venga is the first Spanish tapas bar in Rio, focusing on one of the most social ways to dine – sharing a variety of small portions accompanied by a glass of wine or cold beer. Sample traditional plates of chorizo, Iberico ham and Manchego cheese in a fun, dynamic atmosphere.
Alessandro E Frederico Café
The initial location was so successful that they opened up a second, slightly more casual one across the street. Now there are more in upscale suburban areas, but at the original Ipanema restaurant you’ll find a more authentic feel, great alfresco dining with great Brazilian meat, wood-fired pizza and excellent pasta dishes.
The Fasano brothers are serious about luxury hotels, fine wine and top quality restaurants. The original Gero is in São Paulo and is vibey, classy, expensive and delicious, not to mention widely popular. The brothers figured that their template for fine Italian cuisine would work in Rio, too. So they replicated the São Paulo restaurant to the finest details and have since done it again in Barra and in Belo Horizonte.
Balada Mix is a colorful and cheerful place for fresh juices, a variety of sandwiches and great salads. Close to the beach, it’s ideal for a quick, tasty lunch or early dinner. There is an outdoor verandah as well as indoor seating. Casual, delicious and great for people watching!
Garota de Ipanema
The composers of the “The Girl from Ipanema” were dining at this landmark restaurant when they were inspired to write the world-renowned song. It is a great place for a cerveja and picanha (beer and steak) that serves late into the night and attracts visitors from all over the globe. It’s a fun atmosphere with delicious codfish and fried crab.
L’Entrecote de Paris
Known for its famed entrecote dishes, this is the Rio outlet of the traditional “Steak Frites” restaurant. It’s just as delicious here as it is in New York with the same authentic, housemade sauce, quality, tender cuts of meat, attentive service and a welcome greeting.
Actually located in Arpoador (just outside Ipanema) but well worth the walk, T.T. Burger is arguably the best burger in Rio. Rio’s most famous restaurateur, Claude Troisgros, has joined forces with his son to open a simple hamburger stand. Simple might define the basic premises and short menu (just burgers, fries, drinks and milkshakes) but less so is the fifty-year-old Troisgros family secret burger recipe. Although some of us prefer it without the housemade smoky sweet ketchup, this is still easily our favorite burger in Brazil.
Located in the Caesar Park Sofitel, Galani produces sophisticated French cuisine fused with Brazilian ingredients. Focusing on international culinary trends, it’s constantly evolving its menu and creating delicious, high-quality contemporary cuisine. Meals are complemented with beautiful views overlooking Ipanema beach.
Known as one of the best seafood restaurants in Rio, Satyricon is elegant and charming with an extensive wine list and pretty garden area. Expect great service and fresh, flavorful Mediterranean cuisine. Superb.
Affluent and scenic, Leblon is adjacent to Ipanema and has a quieter, more relaxed vibe. As one of the more sophisticated and exclusive neighborhoods in Rio, it is home to the wealthy upper class and is framed by a spectacular beach, stunning mountains and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, site of the Rowing and Canoe Sprints venue for the 2016 Summer Games.
Some of the best restaurants in Rio are located in Leblon. Our chosen ones are a quick cab ride or leisurely stroll along the coast, west of Ipanema, where some of our top hotels are located.
Rua Dias Ferreira in Leblon is probably the best restaurant street in Rio and its anchor is Zuka. This buzzing little contemporary restaurant may be a little tightly sat but it is also both trendy and delicious. You’ll find something for all here including excellent beef, fresh fish, king prawn risotto and creamy cannelloni. It’s a top spot on the beautiful people circuit.
A sister restaurant to Zuka, Brigite’s interesting dishes include duck confit with manioc gratin (heavenly), many vegetarian options and an experimental cocktail menu. Brigite’s bright white interiors, inviting bar and delicious food never disappoints. A solid spot for great food in a hip atmosphere.
Across the street from Zuka, this is the current “it” place in Rio for sushi. Rio de Janeiro is surprising in many ways and a Japanese restaurant serving exquisite sushi is one of the most pleasant surprises of all. It’s one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in the region benefiting from acclaimed Sushiman Jun Sakamoto, a famous Sao Paolo sushi expert.
Excellent steak and seafood grill that features top quality meats, fresh seafood and shellfish (displayed a la Milos in New York or Miami on a large table of ice) in an elegant setting. To start, the house specialty pao de quiejo sticks are a delicious appetizer. There’s an extensive wine cellar and a beautiful private room for up to 40 guests on the lower level.
Chic and vibrant, Quadrucci serves fantastic Italian dishes on one of the best-known foodie streets in the city. Headed by chef Ronaldo Canha, it is won the attention of critics and Cariocas with expertly prepared Italian dishes such as decadent pastas, creamy risottos and cooked to perfection meats.
Reserva TT Burger
Another branch from our local burger heroes, and worth mentioning twice! Delicious, flavorful and immensely satisfying burgers. This Leblon location is recently opened.
Claude Troisgros is a French kid who left his home to run away to Brazil. A couple more parts to that story: Dad Pierre, and Uncle Jean are the founders of French nouvelle cuisine. Brother, Michel is multi-Michelin star awarded. Lucky for Rio, the runaway has done fine, too. He’s now a television personality in Brazil and operates a mini restaurant empire in the city. CT Boucherie is a deliciously unique concept where your main, once served, is accompanied by a parade of servers each with a different hot side for your consideration. This is a great place to eat fine meats and sample a wide variety of traditional Brazilian dishes under the supervision of a talented and steady French hand. CT also has a CT Trattoria in Jardim Botanico, a CT Brasserie in Sao Conrado and Olympe, a fine dining restaurant. Claude is the star of the Rio restaurant scene.
The “Botanical Gardens” neighborhood is a picturesque, residential area tucked away behind the Lagao. Fairly equidistant between our Ipanema, Copacabana and Santa Teresa hotels, many of our favorite restaurants can be found in this tranquil yet lively part of Rio.
Pizza is taken to a higher level here with silver service and butcher-coated waiters serving fabulous wood-fired fare in a big, fun, upscale yet comfortable atmosphere. One of our staff favorites for a casual bite and delicious food!
Mr. Lam is hailed as the best Chinese restaurant in Rio and fronted by a skilled team of chefs handpicked from Hong Kong. With a nod to feng shui design, the entrance is marked by authentic terracotta warriors and the furnishings combine traditional décor with a modern touch. Each dish is freshly and expertly prepared. Outstanding Peking Duck, spectacular views and some of the best Chinese cuisine in Rio.
Claude Troisgros’s gourmet restaurant is considered to be one of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. Expect evolutionary cuisine with a Brazilian flare, such as heart of palm carpaccio and roasted quail with farofa. It is Michelin star awarded and offers a fantastic tasting menu.
Fine dining from one of Rio’s hottest chefs. Sudbrack was previously the personal chef to the former president of Brazil and also chef to the Brazilian athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The menu varies based on the freshest ingredients of the day. Unique, outstanding and winner of a Michelin star.
Claude Troisgros’s Italian outpost – authentic, signature dishes with a Brazilian touch including antipasti, seafood risotto and the house specialty Polpettone – meat loaf with cream cheese and homemade tomato sauce. Complete with a large wine cellar and a great atmosphere.
Rubaiyat is a popular steakhouse on the Rio scene with fantastic picanha, juicy Kobe beef and expertly cooked fish. The food is rivaled by the breathtaking views of the Jockey Club and an extensive wine list. A place to see and be seen.
Book Your Trip to the Summer Games
Call a Sports Travel Specialist at 1-800-465-1765 or