Rio is a city with a diverse culinary scene, and anyone looking to impress guests from out of town can take their pick from some seriously sophisticated dining options that include top rate French, Italian and Japanese restaurants. However, while there is a wealth of international cuisine to be enjoyed in Rio de Janeiro, it would be a shame to overlook the many delicious dishes that are native to Brazil itself.
Brazilian cuisine itself is a culinary melting pot of influences from across the world, with those from Africa and Continental Europe being the most pronounced. As you would expect from such a vast country, culinary styles vary across the Brazilian states. Dishes from the Northeast of Brazil have a heavy African influence and tend to be spicy, for example, while Minas Gerais cuisine is milder with a tradition of good meat dishes and delicious cheeses. There are abundant opportunities to try food from across Brazil during a stay in Rio, with Santa Teresa’s Bar do Arnaudo being an excellent, affordable spot for Northeastern cuisine and the nearby Bar do Mineiro
serving good Minas Gerais dishes.
Rio de Janeiro itself is not particularly famous for one given style of food, having been populated by settlers from across the globe, but its coastal location makes it a great place to enjoy seafood at restaurants such as Siri Mole & Cia, which has a branch on Copacabana Beach, and Alba Mar in Centro, which has great views over Guanabara Bay.
For many people, the quintessential Rio de Janeiro dining experience is to be found at the city’s famous churrascarias – grilled meat restaurants where cut after cut of meat is brought to your plate until you can eat no more. If that sounds like a carnivore’s dream and a vegetarian’s nightmare, non meat eaters can take heart from the fact that also included in the price is unlimited access to the buffet, which at the better churrascarias in Rio will include more variety of salad than you could ever imagine, plus sushi, risottos, pasta dishes, fruits, and a whole lot more besides.
Among the most respected of Rio’s churrascarias is Porca0, where a fixed price of less than R$100 per person (half price for children) buys access to limitless top quality meats, an enormous buffet, smart air conditioned surroundings and attentive service. There are branches in Ipanema and Copacabana, but it’s worth paying a few reais more to dine at the branch in Flamengo, known as Porcao Rio’s. Here, the floor to ceiling windows offer a picture perfect view of Sugar Loaf mountain.