For those of you who know and love the ‘Marvellous City’, it may come as no surprise that it was recently voted the world’s happiest city in a survey conducted for and published by Forbes.com. Rio has an infectious energy, a buzz that imbues you with a feel-good vibe for weeks after you leave. Music and dancing plays a good part in that but happiness also comes from eating and drinking well, and Rio certainly has no shortages of fantastic eateries and bars that enable you to lead the good life. Discover the best that Rio has to offer and eat, drink and be merry!
One of Rio’s more affluent neighbourhoods, Leblon is home to some of Rio’s best restaurants and bars. This area is a foodie’s heaven but if your wallet doesn’t quite match your taste buds, most restaurants offer a lunchtime three-course, pre-fix menu for a fraction of the price that you will be charged at dinner. One of the best, both for the quality of the Italian/Brazilian fusion food and the stunning decor, not to mention the great people-watching potential (the patrons are made up of Rio’s young and beautiful), is Zuka. Either pre- or post-dinner, head on down to the Academia da Cachaça, a Leblon institution which sells 500 types of cachaça, a Brazillian rum made from sugar cane.
The beach is lined with some of the best hotels in Rio de Janeiro and sun-worshippers and surfers flock to Ipanema at the weekend. There are plenty of eating and drinking options on the beach itself but you can’t visit Ipanema without having a drink in Bar Garota de Ipanema. In its previous incarnation as Vellosa Bar, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ was penned here, hence the reason for its change of name. Once you’ve had a drink or two and hummed along to the classic bossa nova song, indulge in a Brazilian feast at Porcão, a traditional churrascaria where you can eat as much barbecued meat as you can fit in!
This district in the Centro neighbourhood houses some architecturally beautiful buildings dating back to the emergence of the republic but it’s when the sun goes down that the area really comes to life, for Lapa is also known for its nightlife. Clubs, bars and restaurants fill with the sounds of samba music but one of the best is surely Café Sacrilégio. Samba, choro, maxixe, waltz and polka beats are all played by the brilliant live band in this cafe housed in a renovated heritage building. Line your stomach and fuel up in preparation for all that dancing at Nova Capela, for some typical Carioca cuisine.
Rio is bursting with excellent places to chow down and drink up, whether you’re after something upmarket at a a Michelin star restaurant in a Rio de Janeiro hotel, or a simple salad and a Caipirinha at a beachfront cafe. Eat like a king, have a few drinks and pull on your dancing shoes to end the perfect Rio night with a spot of salsa.