Dining in Rio de Janeiro is a phenom pleasing experience that will make your tongue dance. If you are an edonist, like we are, then you’re in the right spot, since we have picked the best eateries this town has to offer, depending on your taste, flavor, mood and time of the day.
Sunset Dishes at Aprazível
Rua Aprazivel 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2508 9174; www.aprazivel.com.br
Located at the very top of the hill in the borough of Santa Teresa, Aprazível is an absolute don’t-miss dining experience in la Cidade Maravilhosa. The views from here are spectacular, and it’s best to make a reservation requesting an outdoor table just before sunset.
As the word aprazível in Portuguese means pleasant, so many things do its name justice. The view of the Guanabara Bay, the poetic sunset, the patterned trees that provide cooler days in the summer and protection from the cold in wintertime, the cozy ambiance, the background music… Coming to Aprazível is a true sensory experience.
As for the food, the cuisine of chef Ana Casthilo blends Brazilian and international cuisines, and many of the ingredients come from sustainable farming. Grab a cocktail, watch the sunset, and then indulge.
Pasteis at Bar do Mineiro
Paschal Carlos Magno 99, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2221 9227; www.bardomineiro.net
For a light lunch, we were very pleased to discover Bar do Mineiro, an old-school cafe in the very heart of Santa Teresa. Best thing to order on their simple menu: pasteis. They’re a popular finger food across Brazil — fried empanadas stuffed with meat, cheese, or fish. Pasteis are served inside small baskets and ordered by the dozen or half-dozen. Try all of them, and accompany with a cold beer.
Phenom Japanese at Sushi Leblon
Rua Dias Ferreira, 256, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2512 7830; www.sushileblon.com
If you are a sushi-lover, then you cannot miss Sushi Leblon, probably the best sushi in the world. Bare in mind that the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan is – believe it or not – in Brazil, and that the one-million-plus Japanese people living here are called Japones. So it’s not surprising to find a top-notch sushi restaurant over here.
Sushi Leblon is located in the borough of Leblon, the most affluent neighborhood in Rio, and located in the southern side of the city, just next to Ipanema.
The cuisine could be described as an impeccable mix of sushi and samba that will certainly make your tongue dance. This is a very busy restaurant, quiet fancy, and loved by celebrities. So you will definitely need to make a reservation ahead of time. Book a table outdoors (they have a nice patio), especially if you tend to feel cold with air-conditioning (which tends to be very high inside the restaurant).
Fresh Fish at Satyricon
Rua Barão da Torre, 192, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2521-062t; www.satyricon.com.br
If you’re in the mood for fish, but cooked in a simple Mediterranean style, your best option is Satyricon, located in the heart of the borough of Ipanema. The fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seafood are all extremely fresh, as you will notice from the huge fresh fish selection counter at the restaurant’s very entrance. The ambience is classic and upscale, and the restaurant is mainly frequented by habitues, couples, and businessmen.
Bossa Nova at La Garota de Ipanema
Vinicius de Morais, 49, Rio de Janerio; +55 21 2267-2806; www.bargarotadeipanema.com.br
Still in Ipanema, for a light lunch and a dive into the history of bossa nova, there is La Garota de Ipanema, an historical landmark for all bossa nova connoisseurs. It is said this is the bar where Vinicius de Moraes, one of the fathers of bossa, wrote the lyrics to the “Girl From Ipanema”, having a caipirina while watching a beautiful, slim girl passing by as she walked towards the beach. On the menu, stay light and order bolinho de bacalheu (cod fritters) and an iced cold beer.