Foodie visitors to Rio, prepare for some major gluttony. The city offers no end of opportunity for gourmands to try new and delicious foods – thanks in no small part to the abundance of fresh local ingredients. Just wandering around a Rio de Janeiro fruit and vegetable market is a sensory explosion, with brightly colored, fragrant fruits competing with wierd and wonderful vegetables for your attention. Carnivores can feast themselves senseless on top quality Brazilian beef at Rio de Janeiro’s famous all-you-can-eat churrascarias (grilled meat restaurants), seafood lovers can take their pick from more varieties of fish and crustaceans than it is possible to imagine, while vegetarians will find that even the dreaded words ‘we can make you a salad’ hold promise in this land of fabulously varied fruits and vegetables.
Wherever you choose to stay in Rio de Janeiro you will be able to embark on foodie adventures, but a lot depends on taste and budget. Should you be lucky enough to be heading to Rio de Janeiro with a healthy stash of cash to spend, Leblon is the place to head for. One of Rio de Janeiro’s most upscale neighborhoods, this is the place to find gourmet restaurants at every turn. There are several top Japanese restaurants to be found in the neighborhood, while upmarket lunch spot Talho Capixaba is widely considered to offer the best sandwiches in the city.
Nearby Ipanema and Jardim Botanico are also home to excellent formal dining restaurants, including Fasano Al Mar at Fasano Rio hotel in Ipanema, while Botafogo is a good place to find interesting smaller restaurants such as the excellent French-Brazilian Miam Miam.
While the well-heeled neighborhoods of the Zona Sul (South Zone) offer many opportunities to sample international dishes, it would a culinary crime to come to Brazil without trying dishes native to the country.
The hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa is a top spot to head for when looking to try flavors of Brazil, with Bar do Arnaudo offering delicious dishes from the arid Northeast, Bar do Mineiro offering traditional food from the cooler Minas Gerias region (famous for its meat and cheeses), while Espirito Santa makes good use of ingredients from the lush Amazon. Meanwhile, Sobrenatural offers some of the best seafood in Rio. Best of all, these restaurants are all within a 10-minute walk of each other, so foodie visitors to the neighborhood can take a stroll around before deciding which of the many options appeals most to their well-trained tastebuds.