Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
Petisco da Vila
“Rendezvous for old-school samba stars like Paulinho da Viola, Martino da Vila, and Dona Ivone Lara.”—Carlos Kober, program director, Globo TV. By-the-kilo lunch buffet; Saturday feijoada (meat and bean stew); 74 types of petisco (finger food). Near Maracanã Stadium. Avenida 28 de Setembro 238, Vila Isabel; tel. 55 (21) 2576 6321. www.petiscodavila.com.br
Bar do Mineiro
“The Saturday feijoada is dished up in helpings big enough for two.”—Livia de Almeida, editor, Veja Rio magazine. Old-style tavern in Santa Teresa; black and white photos of Rio line walls. Good selection of Minas Gerais cachaça (sugar cane brandy). Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno 99, Santa Teresa; tel. 55 (21) 2221 9227.
“Go in the late afternoon to see the sunset”—Livia de Almeida. Art deco building dates to 1934; menu includes everything from sandwiches to pizza, steak tartare to German kassler. Famous for thick-collared draft beer and rude waiters. On Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas; views from porch. Avenida Epitácio Pessoa 1674, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2523 1135. www.barlagoa.com.br
“Grilled chicken with polenta or French fries for hungry beachgoers; come here to mingle, flirt, and have fun.”—Carlos Kober. Meat, salmon, and side orders also on menu. Farme de Amoedo 62, Lojas B and C, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2287 7864. www.galitos.com.br
Mercado do Peixe
Over 20 types of fish and seafood on ice, prepared as you wait; fresh, never frozen. Pay by weight; side orders available. 1636 Estrada Barra da Tijuca, Bloco A, Loja A, (Itanhangá Center), Barra da Tijuca; tel. 55 (21) 2493 3922.
Lunchtime buffet (load up and weigh your plate), dinnertime à la carte menu. Run by Antiquarius owners (see below); best food for the price. Two locations: 187 Rua Graça Aranha, fourth floor, Centro; tel. 55 21 2524 1010; 340 Rua Barão da Torre, Ipanema; 55 (21) 2521 1289.
“The restaurant’s pizzas are prepared with peeled tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, pear slices, walnuts, and leeks sautéed in white wine, butter, and oregano.”—Livia de Almeida. Brazilian-style thin-crust pizza; wood-burning oven. Rua Maria Quitéria 132, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2523 2391. www.stravaganze.com.br
“The most civilized way to try Rio’s famous feijoada (black bean and pork stew).”—Livia de Almeida. Breakfast and lunch only served 23 floors above Ipanema Beach, inside Caesar Park hotel; panoramic views, wading pool, English-speaking waiters. Feijoada Saturdays only. Avenida Vieira Souto 460, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2525 2525. www.caesarpark-rio.com
Country home setting in the hills of Santa Teresa; views of downtown Rio and Guanabara Bay. Selected “Best Brazilian Cuisine, 2007-08”—Veja Rio magazine. Wine list by Jonathan Nossiter, director of Mondovino. Tip: For romance, reserve the palafita table, inside a gazebo. Rua Aprazível 62, Santa Teresa; tel. 55 (21) 2508 9174. www.aprazivel.com.br
“Delicious baked mallard with seasonal fruit jelly, caramelized sweet potato, red cabbage, and apple and mango chutney.”—Ricardo Castanho, restaurant editor, Guia Quatro Rodas travel guide. Comfortable tree-surrounded house, 45 minutes from Copacabana. Watch for sagüis (small monkeys) and exotic birds from porch; peaceful beaches close by. Rua Luciano Gallet 150, Vargem Grande; tel. 55 (21) 2428 1396. www.quinta.net
“Chef Neide Santos shows religious respect for the food she prepares.”—Livia de Almeida. African-Brazilian cuisine; main entrées serve two. Bahian moqueca (fish or mussels simmered in oil and pepper); African ebubu fulô (fish stewed in coconut milk; served with smoked shrimp and mashed banana). Rustic yet elegant ambiance. Rua Arnaldo Quintela 94, Botafogo; tel. 55 (21) 2541 9387.
All-you-can-eat meat or seafood in two magical environments. Decorated with nautical gear and farmhouse antiques; eucalyptus leaves carpet seafood-environment floor; endless salad bar. Tip: Take a peek at the rock-strewn floors in the restrooms upstairs. Avenida Atlântica 290, Copacabana; tel. 55 (21) 2104 9000. www.marius.com.br
“Inventive dishes prepared with tapioca, sorrel, yam, Amazonian fish, and other native Brazilian products.”—Ricardo Castanho. French chef Claude Troisgros pioneered refined recipes with tropical ingredients in Rio. Rua Custódio Serrão 62, Jardim Botânico; tel. 55 (21) 2539 4542. www.claudetroisgros.com.br
“Cap off Brazil’s best codfish with a delectable Portuguese pastry.”—Ricardo Castanho. Ranked one of Brazil’s five best restaurants by Guia Quatro Rodas. Old Country decor, well-stocked wine cellar. Rua Aristides Espínola 19, Leblon; tel. 55 (21) 2294 1049. www.antiquarius.com.br
“Some of Roberta’s set dinners have no less than ten courses.”—Livia de Almeida. Named “Best Contemporary Cuisine, 2007-08”—Veja Rio magazine. Experimental Brazilian food. Tip: Friday lunch try Presidente FHC Diced Filet Mignon. Rua Lineu de Paula Machado 916, Jardim Botânico; tel. 55 (21) 3874 0139. www.robertasudbrack.com.br
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