Famous for carnival and samba, Copacabana and Ipanema, Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant city where people know how to have a good time. That lust for life is reflected in Rio’s food and drink scene, where the bars are buzzing, the music is loud, the choppes are ice cold, the meat is juicy and the shellfish is fresh AF. If you’re heading over to Rio, these are the bars and restaurants you need to get on your hit list.


Only open a couple of years, Chanchada already feels like an institution and, when you look at the menu, you can see the food is a step above the more trad bars. The torresmo crunchy pork belly is a must-order with a punchy caipirinha, and the pickled aubergine with labneh is so good you’ll order it twice. Our only regret was that we didn’t eat here more!


The most famous restaurant in Rio, Oteque is the only World’s 50 Best-stamped venue in the city. It’s a trendy spot, located in an old factory where chef Alberto Landgraf serves up an inventive menu with modern takes on classic dishes alongside an interesting wine list. The restaurant wouldn’t be out of place in London – and it just so happens that Alberto is opening Bossa in London in 2023.

O Caranguejo

This seafood spot is handily located just a couple of blocks back from Copacabana beach. It serves up super fresh crabs and fish, with lots of typical Brazilian dishes on the menu. The stuffed spider crab was delicious, served with farofa (toasted cassava flour) whilst sardines were grilled to perfection. It’s also a great place to try that broccoli rice that features on nearly every menu in Brazil – because if, like us, you find it a little flat, you can load on the house-made chilli oil to liven it up. There’s also a bar connected to the restaurant if you prefer to stand and graze.

Boteco Rainha

This place gets really busy and it’s easy to see why when you read the menu. The highlight for us was the seafood soup, a rich tomato bisque-style broth packed with seafood. Then there’s the shrimp sandwich, freshly cut potato chips, sardine escabeche and ice-cold beers, or choppe as they’re known in Brazil. Packed full of locals in the lively Leblon neighbourhood, this is a great spot for a late dinner out.

Porco Amigo

This small Rio chain specialises in pork dishes though there’s a fair amount of other options on the menu too. Pair ice-cold choppes with the crunchy pork belly, pickles, local cheeses, and charcuterie. There’s a location in Leblon very close to Rainha so you could easily do them both in one night for an epic double dinner.


Located on the first floor of an old building in Centro, Lilia is a beautiful spot from chef Phil Fonseca who also has hipster bar Labuta just down the street. The set lunch menu is created daily based off what’s available at the markets, with four different options for each course. It’s clever, modern cooking using local ingredients with an emphasis on vegetables. We ate dishes like grilled cabbage with bagna cauda, and grilled sea bass with smoked mushroom, and each dish we tried was super well balanced when it came to flavours and textures. Go early if you don’t have a reservation as it gets super busy and is lunch only!

Bar Botica

This place comes with loud Brazilian beats, punchy caipirinhas and a very, very good snack menu. It’s a great stop pre-dinner though post-dinner is when it really gets going.

Slow Bakery

The Slow Bakery now has four sites across Rio so it’s worth marking them all on your map. It has an emphasis on slow and has what we’re calling the best bread in the city – insanely good sourdough. There’s a ton of natural wine here too and they even have Brazilian naturals on tap. Whilst people go for breakfast and brunch, we swung by for a couple of glasses one evening and the kind people knocked us up a Brazilian cheeseboard with toasted sourdough to enjoy with it.

Galeto Sat’s

Made famous because of Anthony Bourdain, Galeto Sat’s now has two sites in the city, but it’s best to visit the original near Copacabana beach. Sometimes fame can ruin a place, but Galeto Sat’s hasn’t let that happen – there’s still no English menus and it’s rammed with locals having a good time. The chicken with Galeto Sat’s sauce is the one – juicy and marinated in a finger-licking sauce, it’ll leave you wanting to go back again and again. It’s also open until 4am so it would be an incredible late-night stop after a few too many choppes.