Going out for a meal can be a very special moment when we travel. Rio caters to all tastes, and exploring the city's restaurants is definitely to be included on your list of things to do. Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, and Leme concentrate many of the best restaurants, cafes, and snack bars.
Our guide will help you find the right options by cuisine and by area, with capsule reviews of the most popular venues. Feel free to print and bring along the pages you may need.
About Prices Ranges
Eating out in Rio does not have but can be an expensive experience. Yet even at the sophisticated restaurants there are dishes such as saladas or pasta priced US$25. Seafood, especially lobster and shrimp is expensivish. The country specialty is steak, proudly served in large portions. Mineral water and sodas are usually twice supermarket prices. When it comes to drinks... you know the sky is the limit. On the bright side Brazilian wines can be of excellent quality - ask your maitre d' for advice. Luxury restaurants sometimes offer a fixed price executive lunch that is more affordable.
Rio also has a lot of more affordable restaurants, and we listed them by cuisine and location to make your life easier. Vegans, for instance, can make themselves a huge salad at that charges food by weight, and save a lot. There are also rodizio steakhouses (all-you-can-eat) accompanied by the side dishes you choose for a fixed price (drinks not included). And if you need food on the go you can check out the local snack bars that offer specialties such as a sandwich made to order and a large cup of açai juice. Or go to the places that make you feel back home like KFC, McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks.
Tipping, etiquette and extras
Most restaurants today take plastic, but to avoid any embarrasments ask them if they work with the card you intend to use. Acoording to the law, all restaurants should post outside a copy of the menu with prices so that patrons know what they are getting into. If you don't find one ask the hostess for assistance. Once you ask for the check you will see an additional 10% which is the service tax. You may round up, or give a little extra if service was outstanding. If the tip is not included (it usually is), add at least 10%. Locals double-check the bill, and ask when they do not understand or agree with some detail. Proceed likewise.
Restaurants used filtered ice, so you do not have to fish the cubes out with your spoon (yikes!). Do not be paranoid, indulge. Be wary of steakhouse waiters that insist on pushing a pink fruit cocktail or liqueur from a tray. They are not complimentary! Better restaurants have a bilingual staff, if you are allergic to anything bring along a note in Portuguese (google translate).
Couverts are charged per person
Most restaurants start with a couvert (coo-vert). It usually consists of a basket with bread, rolls, and assorted spreads. At better restaurants expect real treats (see Italian). The couvert is not complimentary, and it's charged per person. If you're trying to save, you could try asking for a single couvert and share. Cariocas will not leave without a cup of coffee or expresso. Brazilian coffee is very strong, very black, and very good. Do give it a try. Enjoy the caffeine buzz, and go for a walk along the beach to help digestion.
We are open for suggestions!
Use the menus on top or on left of the page to choose the kind of restaurant you have in mind. They are sorted by areas and accompanied by maps and reviews. We are currently updating our lists of suggestions with lots of novelties and links. We value your input and you are more than welcome to send suggestions or comments! Word of mouth is still one of the the best ways to learn about lovely places we never even heard of. We do not get freebies for adding venues to our lists, and reserve the right to remove them at any time.