A firm neighbourhood favourite, Braseiro is an old-fashioned Rio restaurant where the waiters wear white shirts and bow ties, and wheel around with laden trays. There’s only one thing to go for here: picanha (a tender cut of beef) served with the house accompaniments, which include banana farofa, broccoli rice and salad.
- Address: Praça Santos Dumont, 116 Gávea
- Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.30am-1.00am, Friday and Saturday 11.30am-3.00am
Michelin-starred Lasai represents the best of fine dining in Rio. Though chef-owner Rafa Costa e Silva has taken influence from his time in Spain’s Basque Country, the restaurant uses only local and indigenous ingredients, many grown in its Lasai own gardens. For the full experience, go for the 15-course ‘festival’ tasting menu with paired wines.
- Address: Rua Donde de Irajá 191, Botafogo
- Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 7.30pm-10.00pm
Brazilians are big on steak, and at CT Boucherie choice cuts are served up with a rotating selection of sumptuous side dishes, including grilled banana, pureed parsnips and farofa (crunchy manioc crumbs). Celebrated chef Claude Troisgros selects his top six wines, which are largely Brazilian and include three sparkling.
- Address: Rua Dias Ferreira, 636 Leblon
- Opening hours: from midday
Small, homely Irajá Gastrô serves only handpicked Brazilian wines, showcasing the best of the country’s bottles together with a concise but adventurous menu of native dishes. The signature deep-fried tapioca balls stuffed with cured cheese sit alongside grilled scallops with yoghurt and passion fruit, and picadinho, a diced beef stew.
- Address: Rua Conde de Irajá, 109 Botafogo
- Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 12noon-11.00pm, Friday, Saturday and holidays 12noon-12midnight
Brazil is home to the world’s largest Japanese diaspora, so it’s no surprise that the sushi here is exceptional. The glitterati get their fill at Sushi Leblon, but for a more authentic experience visit Azumi. The restaurant may be no-frills, but the food is sublime and the choice of sake commendable.
- Address: Rua Ministro Viveiros de Castro, 127 Rio de Janeiro
- Opening hours: 12.00noon-3.00pm and 7.00pm-12midnight
Set in the hilly bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, Aprazível is a must-visit for the views as well as the food. Rustic yet sophisticated, it serves hearty Brazilian dishes, with an extensive, Brazil-heavy wine list. Standout dishes include grilled palm heart with basil and cashew pesto, and octopus ‘carnival’.
- Address: Rua Aprazivel 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
- Opening hours: Wednesday-Saturday 12noon-11.00pm, Sunday 12noon-6.00pm, closed Monday and Tuesday
Bar Urca sits at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain in a secluded spot that looks out over Guanabara Bay. It has a restaurant, but instead choose petiscos from the bar and perch on the sea wall to watch the boats loll and listen to the locals gossiping beside you.
- Address: Rua Cândido Gaffrée, 205, Urca
- Opening hours: Restaurant Monday-Saturday 11.00am-11.00pm, Sundays 11.00am-7.00pm. Bar Monday-Friday 6.30pm-11.00pm, Saturday 8.00pm-11.00pm and Sunday 8.00pm-10.00pm
Capitalising on the success of their nearby WineHouse, Cru Natural Wine Bar is the second opening from Anglo-Brazilian pair Dominic and Selene Parry. It stocks only naturally fermented and organic wines, such as orange Riesling, Faccin Pinot Noir and Cacique Maravilla Pipeño from Chile. Customers can have a chance to meet producers at regular events and tastings.
- Address: 94 Rua Arnaido Quintela, 22280-070 Botafogo
Rio’s must-visit botanical gardens are a wonderland of towering palms, exotic trees, tropical flowers, resident monkeys and birds. You can enjoy breakfast before your visit or lunch afterwards at nearby La Bicyclette, a French café. It serves chunky stuffed sandwiches on homemade bread and also offers a cracking croque monsieur, along with a handful of wines.
- Address: Rua Pacheco Leão, 320 Loja D
- Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 8.30am-9.00pm and Sunday 8.30am-8.00pm
Arguably, some of Brazil’s best food comes from the country’s northern stretches, where African and Caribbean influences infuse the cuisine. Feira do São Cristóvão is a merry melting pot of food stalls serving local delicacies such as acarajé (black-eyed pea and shrimp fritters) or cabrito ensopado (slow-cooked goat) with a soundtrack of live music.
- Address: Campo de São Cristóvão S/N, Pavilhão de São Cristóvão, Bairro de São Cristóvão
- Opening hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10.00am- 6.00pm, weekends and public holidays from 10.00am-8.00pm