Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:03 pm
The best Rio de Janeiro restaurants are very hard to find, if you are looking to eat like a local. Cariocas, as Rio de Janeiro residents are called, do not have a very sophisticated taste, some say. They prefer small, local restaurants serving seafood or simple carioca-style dishes, where regular patrons are greeted like old friends and the chefs and waiters call them “amigos da casa.” So this article is about the Best Local Rio de Janeiro Restaurants, the perfect apertif while on a Rio Brazil tour.
The best local Rio de Janeiro restaurants are not the 5 star, sophisticated waterfront restaurants, serving a long list of wines you’ve never heard of. Many of these focus too much on presentation rather than on quality for the dollar (or real), and you won’t find too many local cariocas in these types of restaurants.
Instead, the best local Rio de Janeiro restaurants have humble storefronts, a few tables overlooking the sea, and local cariocas enjoying dinner out on the town. Many locals like to dine out for dinner, and they often go to the same place each time. So just look for the hotspots where the locals are – it’s a good sign that the food is excellent.
In the Amarelinho Bar & Restaurant, located next to the National Library in the central district, serves simple plates like rodizho, mixed grill, and pizza.
The Bar & Restaurant Urca is adjacent to the seawall on the Botafogo Bay, and diners can enjoy a good beer, seafood plate, and view of the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado mountain. Try the shrimp bobo (spiced manioc with shrimp).
[Locals eating at the seawall across from Bar Urca. Photo courtesy Bar Urca.]
One type of Rio Brazil food that you shouldn’t miss (unless you’re vegetarian, that is!) is the churrascaria de rodízio, also called an all-you-can-eat barbecue. This typical carioca-style meal is a grilled meat-lover’s dream come true.
Also try feijoada, a soup made of black beans and pork or beef, if you are in town on Saturday. This Portuguese meal is slow-cooked in clay pots and served usually just once a week. Pair it with a cold chopp, the local draft beer, or a caipirinha, the sweet Brazilian rum & lime cocktail.
View Best Seafood Cities in South America for more great restaurant recommendations.