Restaurant Recommendations for Brazil
Churrascarias are the traditional barbeque places with an All-You-Can-Meat idea. Just put some salad on your plate, sit down and wait for the meat to be brought to you and carved onto your plate from huge skewers. There are lots of them throughout the country, but you do need to be prepared! Best not to plan anything much for afterwards. Pizzas are very easy to find across the country, although traditional street foods tend to be limited to the north-east, while hot dogs and hamburgers are popular elsewhere. Kilo Buffets are a great idea, lots of options and you pay for what your food weighs, or you pay a fixed price for all you can eat. Feijoada is the traditional Saturday Lunch option, while a family churrasco is the Sunday Lunch barbeque.
Rio de Janeiro
Porcao (the Big Pig) - three options of the best quality, and some of the finest evening people-watching in Brazil!
- Porcao Rio - Av. Infante Dom Henrique; Aterro do Flamengo; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 3461 9020
- Porcao Ipanema - Rua Barão da Torre; 218, Ipanema; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 3202 9158
- Porcao Barra - Av. Armando Lombardi, 591; Barra da Tijuca; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 3154 9250/3521 2814
Carretao - slightly cheaper option but still excellent quality.
Carretao Ipanema - Rua Visconde de Pirajá 112; Ipanema; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (
21) 2267 3965
Carretao Copacabana - Rua Siqueira Campos 23;Copacabana; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (
21) 2236 3435
Carretao Lido - Rua Ronald de Carvalho 55; Copacabana; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (
21) 2543 2666
Frontera - a good mix of buffet cuisine, barbeque meat, Brazilian dishes, salads, sushi, either priced by weight
(sushi is a different price) or a fixed price free buffet.
Frontera Ipanema - Rua Visconde de Pirajá 128; Ipanema; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: ( 21) 3289 2350
Frontera Copacabana - Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 1144; Copacabana, RJ. Phone: (21) 3202 9050
- Frontera Leblon - Av Ataulfo de Paiva 630; Leblon; Rio de Janeiro RJ. Phone: (21) 2540 0606
- Frontera Jardim Botanico - Rua Maria Angélica 183; Jardim Botanico, RJ. Phone: (21) 2266 9800
Frontera Barra - Av. Armando Lombardi 295; Barra da Tijuca; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone:
(21) 3154 8400
a range of beers to try and good people-watching.
Devassa Ipanema - Rua Prudente de Morais 416; Ipanema; Rio de Janeiro RJ. Phone: (21) 2522 0627
Devass Piraja -Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 539 - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 2540 8380
- Devassa Leblon - Rua Rainha Guilhermina 48; Leblon; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 2512 3578
- Devassa Copacabana - Rua Bolivar 8; Copacabana; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 2236 0667
Devassa Barra - Av Lúcio Costa 3460; Barra da Tijuca; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone:
(21) 2496 8887
Azul Marinho - Outdoor dining in Arpoador with a view all the way down Ipanema Beach.
Avenida Francisco Bhering, Arpoado; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone:
inside the Victorian tea-room,
Confeitaria Colombo Centro - Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ.Phone: (21) 2505 1500
Colombo do Forte Copacabana - Praça Cel Eugênio Franco nº1; Posto 6 Copacabana; Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Phone: (21) 3201 4049/3201 4060.
A payment of R$6pp is required to enter the Fort Museum in which the cafe is located.
Leblon - The Dias Ferreira street in Leblon is known as the Restaurant Row, with some of the best dining in Rio de Janeiro. Reservations are recommended at any restaurant.
Lagoon - this reasonably new upmarket development overlooking the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Leblon and with views up to Cristo has a number of restaurants and a central bar sharing space and excellent views. It also has a cinema. The restaurants are as follows:
- Guiseppe Grill for grilled meats. Phone: (21) 2239 1503
- Gula Gula for salads and hot dishes. Phone: (21) 2239 0881
- Pax Delicia for contemporary cuisine. Phone: (21) 2249 8762
- Quadrifoglio for Italian cuisine. Phone: (21) 2244 0536
- San Remo. Phone: (21) 2244 9628
- Emporio Gourmet Show. Phone: (21) 2249 1279
Buzios - Buzios has many excellent restaurants in the centre, some overlooking the bay, some on the cobbled streets, and some on the pedestrian precinct. The pier at Manguinhos also has great seafood options, and so do most beaches for the daytime. Price varies greatly, with sophisticated seafront restaurants having decor and views of the highest quality, while cheaper, simpler foods can also be found a little further back. In the busy periods of high season, it can be a case of seeing which both suits your budget and has space for you. Buzios has excellent clubs too of course, and is a particularly good place for a sundown cocktail while watching the boats come and go, or on Orla Bardot for a pre-dinner cocktail or two.
Paraty - Paraty can boast the best selection of restaurants in Brazil, especially as they are all so close together. Dining in the historic town, inside or on the cobbles, is a pleasure, and a cosmopolitan outlook is reflected in the menus. Seafood is popular of course, but being Brazil then excellent meat dishes are always on the menu. Possibly the finest place to dine in Brazil, with excellent food and ambience to match. The first two places stand out for us, although many more are excellent. Paraty is easy enough to wander around until you find a place that appeals to you.
Casa do Fogo - excellent Brazilian cuisine made with the freshest ingredients, with flambé being a speciality at the House of Fire.
Rua José Vieira Ramos 390; Centro Histórico; Paraty, RJ. Phone: (
Le Castellet - French chef Yves Lepide uses Provence herbs and fresh Brazilian ingredients for home-made bread, crepes and much more in an atmospheric little old town bistro. Even better than it sounds. Rua Dona Geralda 44, Centro Historico; Paraty, RJ. Phone: (24) 3371 7461.
Bartholomeu - varied cuisine in nice hidden courtyard with live music. Rua Samuel Costa 176; Centro Historico; Paraty, RJ. Phone: (24) 3371 5032.
Casa Coupe - deserves a mention for the best caipirinhas in Brazil! The bar is in the main square, with tables outside and also has a decent menu.
Balacobaco - excellent lunch-on-the-beach option over the hill on Praia Jabaquara, especially after a morning's kayaking or stand-up paddle. You may find yourselves still there come the end of the afternoon.
Academia de Cozinha e Outras Prazeres - you can cook your own food in Paraty, with the help of a course in Brazilian cuisine at this excellent establishment.
Ilha Grande being an island is mostly about seafood. The main town, Vila do Abraao, has many decent seafood restaurants on the beach and under the trees, some of which have barbeque options, all of which are a pleasure for dining under the stars with the sound of gentle waves in front of you. All can be very busy in high season. Cafe do Mar halfway down the main beach is a good little bar/restaurant option especially on Barbeque Saturdays. For other places, food is generally simple seafood options. The boat trip or hike to Lopes Mendes might be better with lunch before arriving on the beach, under the trees at Praia do Pouso. There are not many options on at Lopes Mendes, and the beach is much better for it!
Where to start with restaurants in Sao Paulo? The finest in Brazil, the most cosmopolitan cuisine reflecting the inhabitants... a case of local knowledge when in the city. Liberdade is the district famous for its Japanese heritage.
Iguazu Falls is in the interior of South America, the old gaucho lands. Meat is generally the main part of meals here, with barbeque restaurants on both sides of the border. The restaurants inside the national parks, Porto Canoas on the Brazil side, and La Selva or El Fortin on the Argentina side, have large buffets for lunch which make an excellent break while touring. The Sheraton and Das Cataratas Hotels have a la carte options. Outside for evening include:
Aqva (Arg) - meat and seafood dishes, highly recommended. Av Cordoba y Av Thays, Puerto Iguazu. Phone: (3757) 422 064.
Chef Lopes (Bra) - very popular for buffet lunch, a la carte dinner, very popular. Rua Almirante Barroso 1713; Foz do Iguazu. Phone: (45) 3025 3334.
Rafain Show (Bra) - for a Latin American Dance Show with Dinner in the evenings. This can make part of your itinerary, with transfers included.
Churrascaria do Gaucho (Bra) - classic gaucho barbeque, can also be hired privately for a spectacular evening for large groups.
La Aripuca (Arg) - stunning setting built from local natural materials, with no extra cost for the rainforest and also to give an idea of the native culture around
Iguazu. Also an excellent option for large, private groups in the evening.
La Rueda (Arg) - steaks and more. Av Cordoba 28; Puerto Iguazu. Phone: (3757) 422 531.
Minas Gerais - Ouro Preto/Tiradentes/Diamantina
The distinctive cuisine of Minas Gerais is renowned throughout Brazil and has its basis in the early colonial culture of the gold-rush regions. It is also less salty than food in most parts of Brazil. Tropeiro food used to be carried long distances on the mule trains that crossed the state and headed to Rio and Sao Paulo. All these small, mountain towns have cosy little restaurants with warming fires at night, and a place that appeals is easy to find. Huge lunch buffets with many typical dishes are great fun, beans, pork, spring greens and many chicken and beef dishes cooked in the ovens. You can even eat ants in Minas Gerais if you like - farofa de iça is made from the abdomen of flying ants...
One thing not to miss in Minas are the chocolate fountains in ice-cream shop windows, which pour down in irresistible waves, magnetising your eyes and pulling you inside against your will.
Florianopolis & Santa Catarina
With the island of Florianopolis and the mainland of Santa Catarina having fishing communities that still work the sea in much the same way as they have for centuries, then you can expect seafood to be the highlight of any trip here. Florianopolis is famous for its Sequencia de Camarao, an almost endless supply of huge prawn dishes arriving on your table as a starter! The tainha (mullet) period of May to July brings huge amounts of the fish to the coast, and you can even help pull in the huge nets that every local community casts out from the beach. Everybody who helps wins a fish for large catches.
Bar do Arante - an island classic, with seafood dishes, seaview, free shots of cachaça and thousands of notes hanging from the ceiling and walls from previous visitors. Rua Abelardo Otacílio Gomes, 254; Pântano do Sul; Florianópolis SC. Phone
Bokas - a mix of seafood, meat and plenty more options. Enormous plates of prawns are enough reason to eat there. There are three branches, one in Canasvieiras, one in Estreito and one in Balneario Camboriu.
Avenida das Rendeiras - this road backed by dunes and fronting the Lagoa da Conceiçao is lined with traditional seafood restaurants.
Salvador has much to recommend it for foodies. Bahian cuisine is possibly the most famous in Brazil, with the African influence in spices, sauces, stews and more. Moqueca is a Must Try for seafood, perhaps the finest traditional Brazilian dish. Acarajé is also traditional and can be tried on any street of the historic centre, served by the Baianas in their impressive hooped dresses and headscarves.
Mao Dupla - our favourite. Small, street restaurant using the freshest ingredients to make great Bahiana food. Sandra's Mariscada is even better than a great moqueca, and possibly the finest Brazilian cuisine that we have encountered around the country!
Rua Santa Isabel 10; Pelourinho; Salvador. Phone: (71) 9916 0217.
Jardim das Delicias - recommended for the garden setting and live music. Rua Maciel de Cima 12; Pelourinho; Salvador. Phone:(71) 3321 1449
Cafelier - cosy cafe with excellent views of the bay. Rua do Carmo 50; Carmo; Salvador. Phone: (71) 3241 5095.
Bahia - Praia do Forte/Morro de Sao Paulo/Lençois
Small towns, decent restaurants are easy to find, especially for seafood by the beach. Huge breakfasts, tapioca pancakes and lots of fruit. You will eat very well in Bahia!
North-East - Recife/Olinda/Natal/Pipa/Jericoacoara
Nordestinos (people from north-east Brazil) are very proud of their cuisine. Lots of buffets or a la carte menus with prawns, seafood and especially carne seca or carne do sol (dried beef) as the principal ingredient. Cashew nuts and cachaça aplenty as well, always served with Nordestino hospitality. You'll feel like part of the family before you have finished eating in most places.
The most interesting part of Manaus for foodies is possibly the Adolfo Lisboa Market. Fish, fruit and all kinds of other produce from all over the Amazon region is sold here in huge quantities. The city has some good kilo restaurants and you can try foods that you have never seen or tasted before. It is a wonderful new experience for the visitor, and with many more powders, palm fruits and energetic berries to consume, you won't get bored of trying them. Undoubtedly you will also enounter the Amazon Viagra during your stay! Piranha fish also make up part of the staple Amazon diet, and soups made from them are perhaps the most typical regional dish, and also reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
Amazon & Pantanal
Amazon and Pantanal stays in Brazil tend to be at the lodges, on cruises or on longer trekking and kayaking expeditions. In such cases, your meals are already included, and will be made from local ingredients, with piranha to the fore of course. Many exotic Brazilian mammals and animals are now protected by law, so don't expect to find jaguar, sloth, monkey, anteater, turtle or caiman on the menu. You can be thankful for that! Many types of other meat, fish and fruit are used in the cuisine, and in the places that we like to recommend for your stay then you are sure to find a great deal of pleasure and interest in your meals. Capybara, caiman and peccary sourced legally may make part of your Pantaneiro menu. Pacu, dourado and pintado come from the waters.
Bonito is only a small town but with plenty of options for dinner at night. Lunch can usually be included during the different tours, with buffets meaning that you don't have to make any tough decisions. At night, the main street of Bonito has some good choices, with cuisine similar to the pantaneiro food, including the rich bush-meats.
Casa do Joao - the House of John is two blocks off the main strip, behind the giant dourados in the square. Well worth the 'trek' for special fish dishes and service at least as good. It also has a pleasing old-style decoration, with the old house itself still being open as a little store. As one of the Brazil Adventure Tours team had a surprise birthday meal there, with the restaurant staff pulling out all the stops in terms of food, service and table decoration, then we can happily say that Casa do Joao is one of our very favourite restaurants in the whole of Brazil. We don't just recommend it to our visitors to Bonito, we insist that they go there!