We didn’t want to spend a lot of money in fancy restaurants in Rio (having done that in Sao Paulo. Our Sao Paulo reviews are at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/515321).
So we posted a request for suggestions on Chow’s South America Board and got lots of excellent recommendations at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/515794 Too bad we weren’t in Rio long enough to try them all! Exchange Rate R$1.66 = US$1
1 Our Favorites
1.1 Restaurante Aprazivel, Rua Aprazivel 62, Santa Teresa, tel 2508-9174, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.aprazivel.com.br (Open Wed. to Sun. for lunch and Thursday to Saturday for lunch and dinner). We spent R$163, including an automatically added 12% tip. The setting is lovely and the service was good. The food was a bit unusual and tasty but a little over-priced. Rating: 7.5/10.
We ordered the Starter Basket (for 2 R$24) that came with bread, white pizza (which was a cracker in the shape of a slice of pizza and had rosemary on it), a shellfish vinaigrette and a sweet & sour eggplant. We ordered a Casa Valduga Gewurztraminer from Brasil 2007 (Vale dos Vinhedos) and we liked it. Then we shared the Little Secret in Tribute to the Northeast (R$19) which was a sweet potato purée, shredded sun-dried beef, melted cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. It was good but a bit too cheesy. We also shared the Little Secret in Tribute to Minas Gerais (R$19) which was mashed pumpkin, white bean and homemade sausage ragout, covered by raw collard greens and garlic-flavored olive oil. We had one Marvelous Mango dessert and one Paradise Guava dessert followed by 2 coffees that came with a tiny cookie.
1.2 Celeiro, Dias Ferreira 199, Leblon, Tel: (55-21) 2272-7843, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.celeiroculinaria.com.br It is only open for lunch, unfortunately. The space is small, crowded but pleasant. The staff is nice and helpful. This a quillo/per kilo restaurant is expensive at about R$76 a kilo but it is very, very good. It’s not vegetarian but has mostly salads and some hot pasta/rice specials. Rating: 8/10
Our two salads, 1 hot lunch special of rice pilaf with cauliflower, 1 dessert, 1 water and 1 juice cost R$103. It was all very good and each item had a distinctive taste. We went twice and each time had a lovely luncheon experience.
1.3 New Natural, Rua Barao de Torre 173, Ipanema, tel 2287-0301, e-mail: email@example.com The selection at this a quillo/per kilo restaurant is very interesting and unique. The food is tasty and the space is homey. We spent R$26.and it was good a value. Rating: 7/10
We had 2 salad buffets, 1 water, 1 juice, 1 dessert and one coffee.
1.4 Restaurant O Caranguejo, Rua Barata Ribeiro 771, Copacabana, tel 2235-1249, web: www.restauranteocaranguejo.com.br. This is a very neighborhoody restaurant with no pretentions. We really liked it. The service was good and the food was very good. The bill was R$103 plus 10% tip. Rating: 8/10
We really wanted to try the caranguejo/crab at R$6.50 per unit but they were out. We had 1 empada de camerao ($R 2.50), which was a shrimp in a delicious pastery shell. The sopa Leao Veloso (R$29.90) was full of mariscos and was quite good. While the taste of the sopa de siri/crab was quite good the stringy texture of the crab was not (R$23.90). The order of trilhas/red mullet was huge—6 trilhas (R$23.90) and delicious. The 1/2 jarra de viinho branco R$21, was surprisingly good. For dessert we had 1 pastel de santa clara (R$4.90) was good. We also had 1 trocincho de ceu (R$4.90) and 1 water (R$2).
1.5 Produce Markets/Feiras One of our favorite things to do is to graze through produce markets. The ones in Ipanema on Tuesdayss at Praça General Osório and on Fridays at Praça NS de Paz were wonderful and un.
2 Good Restaurants
2.1 Arab, Av. Borges de Medeiros, Queque 7 Logoa Rodrigo de Freias, tel 2540-0747, firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.restaurantearab.com.br
The food was good but over-priced. We had 1 sandwich falafel and 1 lemonade for R$26 . Rating: 6/10
2.2 Frontera, Rua Visconde de Piraja 128, Ipanema, tel 3289-2350, e-mail email@example.com, web: www.frontera.com.br. They do a good job at this Buffet a quilo/buffet per kilo. The space is nice and the people who serve the driinks are friendly. Rating: 7/10
We exercised portion control and our 2 buffet plates, totalled a reasonable R$35.60. With 1 agua (R$2.80),and Vinho taca Concha y Toro (R$12.90) our total bill came to R$51.31.
2.2 Fazendola Impanema, Praca Gal Osorio, Rua Jangeriros 14, Ipanema tel 2247-9600. The space is a bit cramped but fine and the buffet was good. Rating: 6/10
Exercising portion control we were able to keep the calories and the price down. We spent R$37 for 2 buffets.
2.3 Galitos Grill, esquina Rua Farme de Ameda & Visconte de Pirajá, Ipanema, For chicken, this sidewalk eatery is the place. We had one chicken, polenta chips and spent R$37. Rating: 6/10
2.4 Opium (asian contemporanean cuisine), Rua Farme de Amoedo 34 Ipanema, Rio (55-21)3687-2000 (in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel), www.ipanemaplazahotel.com.br We spent R$144.50 for a simple dinner. The food was good, not great. The restaurant is nice looking and the service was good. A little over-priced. Rating: 6.5/10
We had 1 agua (R$4.50) and 1 Vinho Santa Julia Viognier Argentina (R$45). We ordered 1 Viet Roll (R$16) which was in fact one roll cut in two (most restaurants serve 2 rolls in an order so we thought that this was skimpy. In our 1 order of Din Sun (R$8) 2 dumplings were served. Both the roll and the dumplings were good., The Phad Thai with shrimp (R$34) was good and the Green Papaya Salad (R$14) had cucumbers; not green papaya. The dessert of Rubis de castanhas chinesas (R$16) was unusual and good. We also had 2 decaffeinated coffees (R$7).
2.5 Via Ferme, Rua Farme de Amoeda 47, Ipanema, tel. 2513-4358 R$85, including 10% automatically added tip. This is a good, honest neighorbood restaurant with no pretentions and good food. We spent R$77 plus 10% service automatically added. Rating: 7/10
We ordered a 1/2 bottle of Miolo Selecao Chardonnay '06 Brasil (R$17) and it was good. We had one Gnocchi Diet made with ricotta + spinach with sauce Genovesa (azeite, alho, manjencao (basil), noz moscada e nozes) $$20, and one Camarao/shrimp grelhado com spaguetti al alho e oleo for R$33, and one water. We were happy.
3. Restaurants We Wouldn’t Recommend
3.1 Alesandro & Frederico, R. Garcia D’Avila 151, Ipanema, tel: 2522-5415. We didn’t have pizza at this restaurant which was probably a mistake since it’s supposed to be very good. We had one overpriced soup that was good. One soup, 1 water, plus tip was R$26. Rating: 5.5/10.
3.2 Forneria, Rua Anibal de Mondonca 112, Ipanema, tel 2540-8045. This restaurant was a total disappointment. The Guia Quatro Rodas 2008 gives it one “star” and only 2 dollar signs. It was much more expensive than it was worth and the food was not good. Rating: 5/10.
We had 1 pizza vegtariana (R$28), that was uninspired 1 Namorado, a type of fish (R$33) that was tough, 1 agua (R$4), and 1 Carmenere Isla Negra (R$40), plus a 12% tip = R$117.60.
3.3 Sobrenatural (frutos do mar), R. Almirante Alexandrino 432, Santa Teresa, tel (21) 2224-1003. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We had one executive lunch of a muquequinha and black beans, with one beer. It was good. We spent R$28. Rating: 6/10.
3.4 Vegetarian Social Club, Rua Conde de Bernadotte 26L, Leblon, tel 2540-6499. The food was not good at this simple eatery. We had 1 carrot, ginger and coconut soup that was tasty, 1 soba noodles with vegetables that was tasteless and 2 juices that were odd. We spent R$26. Rating: 5/10.
Everyone seems to have his/her favorite juice bar. We loved the juice at Cia de Fruta, on the corner of Rua Farme de Amoeda and Visconte de Pirajá. There are stools to sit on and the people are helpful.