Churrascaria Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão is one of the oldest Churrascarias of the whole Brasil. Its activity originally began in the 1979 in Porto Alegre and São Paulo, getting an unexpected success which encouraged the owners to expand their activity across the country and open new branches in other cities.
In Rio de Janeiro Fogo de Chão is located near the Botafogo beach and it offers a fantastic view over the Baia de Guanabara. If it’s not too hot, you can sit outside and enjoy an incredible selection of meat in front of the Pão de Azucar.
We went to the Fogo de Chão on Sunday, in the middle of a lazy afternoon where families and groups of friends had met hours before to have a long lunch together and enjoy the day off. We weren’t yet sit, when two Caipirinhas and a first slide of fine Brazilian churro were already on our table. Once you take place, you don’t need to order anything but the drinks, a group of waitress keeps coming and serving you every kind of incredibly tasty and high quality meat. They come right straight out from the kitchen with a churro on their hands and cut as much slides as you want, let them gently fall on your dish.
I’ve never had a better selection of meat in my whole life. I was about to cry! Fogo de Chão offers also a big buffet (ideal for vegetarians and vegans) with every sort of vegetables, tropical fruits, hams, mozzarellas, a selection of cheese, bread and fresh salads. If you can resist to taste every kind of meat and you happen to have a little space left in your stomach, I would recommend to enjoy something from the buffet too. It is really worth it.
Where: Av. Repórter Nestor Moreira, s/n – Botafogo, 22290-210
How to reach it: Botafogo Station (Metro Rio) or Bus Station Avenida das Nações Unidas próximo ao N/D.
Average cost: $$$ – All-you-can-eat price (drinks not included) is around 138 R$ (ca. 35€).
If you’re going to visit the beautiful Jardim Botânico of Rio de Janeiro, I would recommend to have a break at the Emporio Jardim. It is a small, cozy bistrot in a side street along the Rua do Jardim Botanico. This small restaurant is perfect to eat and drink something before a long walk in the Jardim Botânico.
If you are missing the typical Hip-European aesthetic, the Emporio Jardim will not only fulfil your expectations but even go beyond. The radical chic style of the interns meets a more exotic touch given by the architecture of the place – which reminds a hut – surrounded by botanical decorations. Chairs and table are made by wood, the atmosphere is unusually calm (Rio de Janeiro is generally a loud city!) and the food is delicious. From fresh salads with local vegetables and fruits, typical Brazilian finger food or apetizers (bolinhos and pasteis) to hamburgers filled with goat cheese and avocado and delightful meat, there is plenty of options to indulge your palate. Fresh juices, good coffee and an amazing cake’s assortment make the Emporio Jardim a perfect location for a mid afternoon break too.
Where: R. Visc. da Graça, 51 – Jardim Botânico
How to reach it: Station Jardim Botanico (Metro na Superficie)
Average cost: $-$$ – A lunch for two persons, only one course and a coffee is around 130-15o R$ (30€)
JOJO CAFÉ BISTRÔ
If you have decided to enter the Jardim Botânico, there is an area you can access without paying the effective botanical garden’s ticket, right ahead of the protected garden’s zone. Here you can have a first look at the whole location and take something to eat and to drink before to start your visit. The Jojo Café Bistro will surprise you with its white and minimalistic intern space, a post colonial architecture with big windows and high ceilings. If you rather enjoy the view of the Amazonian forest all around, then take your sit outside in the courtyard and let a tropical breakfast cuddle your senses. A fruit salad, cold mango juice, some bread with jam and butter, a strong black coffee is what came after I ordered the breakfast for two. Enjoying this meal in front of the beautiful Brazilian nature was one of the greatest moment of the trip!
Where: Rua Pacheco Leão 812 Horto (Esq Rua Caminhoá) Jardim Botânico
How to reach it: Station Jardim Botanico (Metro na Superficie)
Average cost: $-$$ – A breakfast for two is about 40 R$ (12€ ca.). A lunch for two persons, only one course and a coffee is around 130-15o R$ (30€)
Garota de Ipanema
Garota de Ipanema is one of the most popular restaurants in Rio de Janeiro. It made his fortune not only because of the great variety of meat and fish dishes but also thanks to the Portuguese composer Tom Jombim who seem to have written there his worldwide known song “The girl from Ipanema”. Only two minutes far from the beautiful beach of Ipanema, hidden by the tropical vert of the neighbourhood’s inner side, the restaurant offers one of the best picanha of the city. On Sunday, when the cariocas crowd the city and enjoy their time off, the restaurant get full of a picturesque mix of tourists and local people. The picanha arrives on a little stone grill and not fully cooked yet, so you can keep roasting it by yourself and according to your taste. The meat comes together with a rich side dish from the Brazilian culinary tradition: farofa, beans, fried chips and vegetables.
Where: R. Vinícius de Moraes, 49 – Ipanema
How to reach it: Station Nossa Senhora da Paz (Metro Rio)
Average cost: $$-$$$ – A lunch or dinner for two persons, a picanha dish for two with two to three chopos (small beers): 270 R$ (70€)
The first time we went out for dinner in Rio de Janeiro, we ended up at Rayz, a lovely restaurant with an open air terrace on the street, with live music and smiling waitress. Same as the Garota de Ipanema, Rayz is only two minutes far from the beach, in the middle of the LGBTQ+ Ipanema’s corner. The place is particularly attracting for its familiar atmosphere and cozy environment. It offers typical Brazilian food, meat and fish dishes but also amazing cocktails and Capirinhas. We started with some apetizer (bolinhos and pasteis!) and when it came to choose our dinner, we opted for the pescado do dia (fish dish of the day). Needless to say it was delicious!
During our two weeks stay in Rio de Janeiro we returned to Rayz a couple of times and really enjoyed the local kitchen in a not crowded location, easy to reach and near to Ipanema beach!
Where: R. Prudente de Morais, 416 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
How to reach it: Station General Osorio (Metro Rio)
Average cost: $$-$$$ – A lunch or dinner for two persons, a fish dish for two with some chopos and a round of capirinha: 200 R$ (50€)