Something looks different in the white sands of Rio de Janeiro's beaches and in the way of dining in Rio as well. If vendors and iconic beachside food stands (or kiosks, how they are locally called) used to sell only no-frills, casual snacks and chill bottled beer for hungry bathers wearing nothing but wet swimwear and flip-flops, hip restaurants have gradually dominated the ocean's edge landscape in the city, run by some of the locals bartenders and chefs.
Roasted nuts, shrimp in skewers, frozen fruit smoothies, corn on the cob, oily fritters and plastic glasses of mate iced tea are losing ground to grilled octopuses, oysters, fish crudos, signature cocktails and clericot jars (always made with the fanciest cavas and sparkling wines).
For the good and the bad, beach dining has evolved in Rio, with fancier venues decorated by interior designers betting on an audience that apparently wants to eat and drink better and, by consequence, dramatically changing the original atmosphere of more than 300 stands that has always served city’s beach-goers with no more than fried fish snacks and caipirinhas.
“Our main idea was to create a space where people can enjoy good quality and well-executed food on the beachside”, says Danio Braga, food and beverage director of Fasano Group, a five-star hospitality group with hotels and high-end restaurants throughout Brazil. Their Marea is the new beach spot in one of the most sought-after spaces of the Ipanema beach.
A new generation of new establishments wants to show that eating and drinking on the beach does not necessarily have to be informal. “Bar & Co is the result of the desire to have the experience of a cocktail bar of a high standard on the edge of the beach”, explains Jessica Sanches, a local bartender who runs the cocktail-focused stand in Barra da Tijuca. “I wanted to demystify the idea that you can not drink something with quality on the waterfront”.
Even Fasano group, an icon of luxury hospitality in Brazil, with a Michelin-restaurant in São Paulo, has recently opened an outdoor kiosk at Ipanema Beach with futons and a chef-driven menu serving light dishes and starters to share. Opened all day long, it is a place for breakfast (think about açaí bowls and fresh tapioca) on the weekends and the snack with tap beer for all time. To eat, Marea serves from a grilled snapper to duck rice, from fresh oysters to piadina, all inspired by the European Mediterranean summer. The drinks list encompasses many variations of Gin Tonic and also fancy wine glasses. But the view is even the best part: facing the Arpoador, known for having the best sunset on the whole city coast.
Av. Vieira Souto, 80 - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
One of the pioneer hip bar and restaurant to come to Rio's beach waterfront, Riba is a modern version of a boteco - how locals call no-frills, interchangeable local bars - serving good food and well-chilled glasses of craft beer with good service. The dishes are casual, but with quality ingredients, such as the shrimp sandwich with garlic sauce and Grana Padano, the fish ceviche, and the stuffed crab shells. Besides "gourmet" versions of local caipirinhas, there are classic cocktails to sip (like Mojito or Whiskey sour) to sip feeling the sea breeze.
Av. Delfim Moreira, S / N - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Pesqueiro Gastro Beach
Located in Barra da Tijuca, Pesqueiro is the largest gastronomic complex on the seafront of Rio de Janeiro, a mixture of bar, restaurant and beach club. The menu, carefully prepared by chef Marcus Barreto, has good options, like the assortment of fish and seafood (squid, octopus, prawns, mussels, and crayfish) served with saffron rice and herbs sauce. To drink, refreshing cocktails created by the renowned Mixxing Bar, in Leblon neighborhood, to balance with the high temperatures.
Pesqueiro Gastro Beach
Ilha 25 - Praia da Reserva, Rio de Janeiro
Bar and Co.
One of the most talented bartenders in town, Jessica Sanchez recently decided to take her great signature cocktails to the beach – literally. In her chic rustic and cozy Bar and Co., she serves whimsical creations such as Queen Swizzle Park (Rum, Lemon, Sugar, Mint and Angostura Aromatic Bitters) and the Grasshopper, made with vodka, kiwi, mint, and lemongrass. For the food options, steak tartare, grilled shrimps in citrus sauce and oysters.
Bar and Co.
Avenida Lúcio Costa - Posto 3, Rio de Janeiro
Pedro Artagão is the first acclaimed local chef to dock at the beach. His Azur is the stand for a pleasant meal - and it is not on sight alone. The food ranges from octopus in vinaigrette to seafood spaghetti and the iconic Brazilian moqueca (a fish stew made with coconut milk and manioc flour). The venue also has a bar to serve beers and cocktails in jars, made with wine, fruits, and many ice cubes, of course.
Avenida Delfim Moreira, s / nº - Posto 11, Rio de Janeiro