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Where to eat in Rio de Janeiro right now

Rio de Janeiro.

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Where to eat in Rio de Janeiro right now

Discover the best restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, from a boteco to fine dining to an American-style diner, just in time for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023.
07 November, 2023

“Rio de Janeiro is still beautiful,” says the famous song by renowned Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil. But despite being a bucket list city due to its stunning natural beauty, with mountains and paradisiacal beaches, Brazil's second largest is in its best shape when it comes to food as well.

New restaurants are enhancing the city's already rich offer: young chefs run more casual projects focusing on local products, while well-known characters in the gastronomic scene have returned with new concepts.

The city has attracted visitors passionate about dining experiences and food events. On 28 November 2023, Rio will host Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for the first time, bringing chefs, journalists and restaurant industry professionals from all over the continent to the city.

With the announcement of the return of the Michelin Guide to Brazil (which encompasses the restaurants in Rio and São Paulo), the eyes of the world turn to the cidade maravilhosa (‘wonderful city’). Below is a guide to the hottest restaurants to visit in Rio de Janeiro right now.

Boteco Rainha

After opening many different successful venues in the city, chef Pedro de Artagão has turned his attention for the first time to a boteco (no-frills, local bar) preparing popular dishes that go well with a cold beer or a caipirinha. Located in the Leblon neighbourhood, Boteco Rainha serves classic carioca snacks such as pastéis (deep-fried, thin-crusted meat pockets), bolinhos (all kinds of fritters), as well as heartier dishes such as roast beef rib with cheese rice or fried fish with banana puree and broccoli.

Lasai

The counter at Lasai in Rio.

Evandro Manchini

After the pandemic, chef Rafa Costa e Silva decided to embrace a downsized, elevated version of his renowned Michelin-starred Lasai. In the same neighbourhood (Botafogo), the new space now counts only 10 seats, with an omakase-style tasting menu served at a marble counter facing the open kitchen. The menu changes according to the seasonal ingredients the kitchen gets from the chef's own farms as well as small local producers. Expect minimalist dishes, full of flavour.

Oteque

A dish at Oteque in Rio.

Rodrigo Azevedo

Since leaving São Paulo for Rio de Janeiro to open Oteque, chef Alberto Landgraf has raised the bar for food in the city. With two Michelin stars, the restaurant combines a concise and rigorous menu, a welcoming atmosphere, one of the best services in the country, as well as a killer soundtrack — created by the chef himself. Landgraf is a technical, perfectionist cook, and the tasting menu (focused on fish, seafood and vegetables) is a reflection of that.

Ocyá

A dish at Ocyá in Rio.

Rodrigo Azevedo

In a unique location (an island in Barra da Tijuca accessible only by boat), chef and experienced fisherman Gerônimo Athuel has opened a restaurant to serve the best and the most sustainable products the ocean can offer with one of the best views facing Rio's coastline. He prepares dishes such as braised calamari with onion, octopus with creamy tomato rice or homemade fish charcuterie. Athuel just opened a new branch in Leblon.

Toto

A dish at Toto in Rio.

Gabriel Mendes

From the fourth generation of a family who revolutionised gastronomy in France, Thomas Troisgros turns to Parisian bistronomy from the 1990s at his new Toto, an airy and modern restaurant in Ipanema. Casual but with technically elevated recipes, the menu has French roots but with influences from world cuisine, such as the roast beef rib gyoza, catch of the day ceviche, or chicken hearts in beef jus and Brazilian chilli. Troisgros is poised to open a 16-seat, fine-dining restaurant (named Oseille) on the second floor of the same building in November.

Trégua

In the charming Laranjeiras neighbourhood, couple Ana Souza and Victor Lima decided to open this small, relaxed restaurant with a gastrobar atmosphere and bistronomy-inflected menu. They represent a new generation of restaurants run by young cooks in the city who focus on food made with the best raw ingredients while forgoing designer furniture and luxury decor. Look out for dishes like pork loin with cassava and Malabar spinach, or ginger flan with buckwheat and persimmon sorbet. With a small team, they are only open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Elena Horto

In a two-story listed mansion in the green Horto neighbourhood with views of Christ the Redeemer, Elena mixes different spaces (with a restaurant, rooftops and two bars) in the same location. The area has a dream team: chef Itamar Araújo (ex-Mee) runs the menu with dishes with Asian influences (bao, katsu sando, pad Thai, etc.) while award-winning bartender Alex Mesquita puts together the cocktail list, with many homemade spirits. The decoration features projections signed by artist Batman Zavareze, with 360-degree mapping right at the entrance and even in the bathrooms.

Tiara

The dining room at Tiara in Rio.

Victor Faria

After stints in fine-dining restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park in New York, chef Rafa Gomes returned to his hometown. At Tiara, his newest project, he focuses on the quality of the products to create a refined but no-frills menu, which highlights fresh fish to vegetables, to duck – one of the chef’s obsessions (served dry-aged and lacquered). The elegant, airy atmosphere and impeccably plating add to the experience.

Dainer

No, the name is not poorly written: Dainer is a Rio de Janeiro homage to American diners, serving everything from breakfast (with speciality coffees and eggs different ways) to lunch. The striped counter, high stools and the predominance of red are a direct reference to these classic restaurants, something that is also evident on the menu, with pancakes, waffles and sandwiches. The style is “brunch all day”, with light dishes (some of them prepared in the wood-fired oven) for lunch and signature cocktails poured until 8pm.

Babbo Osteria

A dish at Babbo Osteria in Rio.

Rodrigo Azevedo

Swiss-born-chef-turned-carioca Elia Schramm opened this Italian restaurant focusing on local products to serve pasta and other preparations during the pandemic in the hip neighbourhood of Ipanema. Since opening, Babbo Osteria has become a reference in the city, with well-executed pastas (such as tagliatelle with scallops and caviar) and dishes with a Brazilian accent, such as fish (catch of the day) grilled with caramelised cauliflower puree and saffron sauce. The stone-covered building combines the atmosphere of Nonna's house with an upscale decor.