Where to Eat
In Rio de Janeiro, you will find a diverse food milieu from various influences. While it retains its Portuguese flavor, it also hosts many foreign culinary specialties. Asian and European influences can also be sampled from Santa Cruz to Copacabana.
1) Zot Gastrobar
When in Copacabana, never miss the stylish Zot Gastrobar. The restaurant presents contemporary cuisines. It accommodates reservations, and late night dinners can be arranged. A dish can go from USD 20 to USD 40. Their Ceviche with coconut water and Duck Maigret are to die for. It is easily the best restaurant in Rio de Janeiro.
Address: Rua Bolivar,Bairro Copacabana.
2) Barra da Tijuca
Along the quaint waterfront suburb, called Barra da Tijuca, is a restaurant named Rio Brasa. This is the Brazilian rodizio where there’s a long array of forty different kinds of meat. Paying for the food is done, comida a kilo, which is based on every kilogram of food on your plate. The Brazilian seasoned beef, called picanha, is a tourist favorite. The restaurant opens from 11 a.m. t0 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the price drops from USD 25 to USD 20 per kilogram of food ordered. It specializes in grilled meat, and various side dishes, such as salads, sushi, oysters and even ethnic food.
Address: Av. Ayrton Senna, Barra da Tijuca
3) Gula Gula
If an outdoor dinner is what you feel like doing for the night, call for a reservation at Lagoon. It is a commercial complex with 4 restaurants and a couple of cinemas. Gula Gula is one of those restos that boasts of fine food. They serve salads, grilled meat, and luscious fish dishes, such as congro and cherne. Arrive early to get a table on the terrace and revel in the postcard-perfect view of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (or simply, Lagoa). An iced Caipirinha costs USD 8.
Address: L Av. Borges de Medeiros 1424, Leblon
Escape from all red meat and find healthy food at a restaurant named Market. It is set in a lush garden where you can also find your table. Market serves fresh organic food that’s not only healthy but delectable to the palate, too. Zesty fresh lemon juice is priced at USD 4 and seafood quiche is at USD 14. A hearty and healthy meal will be around USD 37 to USD 47 – great for breakfasts and brunch.
Address: Rua Visconde de Piraja
5) Bar do Mineiro
South American food is served in huge portions and great value at Bar do Mineiro. It is ideal for late night dinners and price ranges from USD 5 to USD 15. Tasty stews, mouth-watering fish, and chicken dishes are being served by the resto’s friendly crew. Regulars swear by the authenticity of their feijoada, so be sure to partake of that black bean-beef-pork stew. Be armed, however, with your Portuguese words to get your order through as most of the waiters have limited English.
Address: Rua Pascoal Carlos Magno 99, Santa Teresa
Where to Stay
In all of Brazil, Rio could easily be labeled as having the most expensive hotels. This is particularly true in time for the Carnival and New Year. The fanciest hotels are located in Copacabana and Ipanema where tourists throng, and in the upscale neighborhood of Santa Teresa. But there are also more affordable smaller hotels and apartments.
1) Copacabana Palace Hotel
A business or leisure trip calls for a luxury hotel like the Copacabana Palace Hotel. It offers accommodations in regal proportions with standard rooms and suites and facilities like spas and shops, restaurants and bars, pools, tennis courts, lounges and beach amenities, and fitness centers. A suite with king-sized bed, bath and sitting room costs USD 687 per night. This covers daily Brazilian breakfast, plasma cable TV, stocked mini-bar, WiFi and iPod dock, and traditional Brazilian slippers. Watch out for deals at USD 95 lower the regular displayed rates.
Address: Avenida Atlantica 1702
2) Hotel Santa Teresa – Relais & Chateaux
This is a truly beautiful hotel with a rich history. It used to be a coffee plantation mansion. Its ornate past was retained to blend with its present business function. The laid-back atmosphere and panoramic views of Santa Teresa is ideal for people staying for extended periods in the city. Every room is Santa Teresa is unique, but all rooms have audio isolation, WiFi, high definition TV, and king-sized beds. Room service is available round the clock. Room rates vary from USD 400 to USD 1,475, depending on room type. A Deluxe room costs USD 445 per night.
Address: Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Santa Teresa
3) Hippie Square
This is not the typical living amenity in Rio de Janeiro, but it is one of the most ideal. A modern flat located in Tiffany’s building within Ipanema, it comes complete with facilities similar to those of 4-star hotels. It has 2 bedrooms ideal for a small family or a group of 4, swimming pool and terraces opening to an ocean view. It has 24-hour security and 7-day a week staff and concierge service. In an ordinary day the private property is available at USD288 a night. That price increases by 25% during peak season. It has its own kitchen and dining room.
Address: 7th floor Tiffany’s Building, Ipanema-Leblon.
4) Windsor Plaza Copacabana
This is a great hotel for family and children who intend to be near the beach. Food is available and the rooftop pool allows for a great view. Every room has cable TV, telephone lines, WiFi and cable internet. Room service is available 24 hours. It has a business center, a sauna and fitness facilities. Room rates vary from the Standard Twin room of USD 193 to the Executive Suite King with Jacuzzi of USD 394.
Address: Avenida Princesa Isabel 263, Copacabana
5) Ipanema Inn
Ipanema Inn is a 3-star hotel with simple amenities. Double rooms have views of the interior courtyard. Rooms have internet access, mini-bar, cable TV, air-conditioning, and tub in the bath. Rate is USD 264 to USD 360, depending on the season, per Superior Double Room and comes with free breakfast buffet. Ipanema Inn is ideal for travelers doing business in the city or those who would like to be near the Ipanema-Leblon vicinity. Shopping malls and beaches are close by.
Address: Rua Maria Quiteria 27 Ipanema
Whatever version of fun and excitement you’re after, Rio de Janeiro definitely has it. Tick it off your bucket list. You only live once, so why not make the most out of it?
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