There are countless choices for food in Rio de Janeiro. It’s not always cheap, but there are some interesting options. You can try rodízio, “a kilo”, a normal restaurant ordering off the menu, or a cost-effective menu executivo for lunch. Read my entry Eating in Brazil for more info.
Because we rented an apartment with AirBnB, we had a full kitchen and often at in, but we still ate out once in a while.
We tried one of the famous churrascarias, Porcão, at their Ipanema location. There are many locations in the city. The cost was a flat rate of BRA$110, with drinks and dessert extra. A huge salad bar with sushi is also included in the price, but it’s best not to load up on that. It was a good experience overall, but I was a little disappointed in some of the steak that I got. I like my steaks rare and they only had well done pieces for me. Maybe it was a communication problem. The other meats, like sausages, chicken, pork, and chicken hearts, were all excellent. (UPDATE: All branches of Porcão are officially closed.)
One day, we tried a Thai restaurant in Leblon for lunch. Sawasdee had excellent Phad Thai, curry, and rice dishes. The prices were a little high but it was worth it.
In Leme, we had a menu executivo consisting of picanha and feijão at La Fabrique. It was very good.
The iconic Confeitaria Colombo in the city center has excellent desserts and salgados (snack foods) that are worth a try. It’s a great place to sit, relax, and have a drink. There’s also a location at Forte de Copacabana.
One of my favorite things about Rio de Janeiro is the juice bars on just about every corner. You can find a seemingly endless variety of fresh fruit juices and açaí made to order. Expect to pay anywhere between BRA$6-13 depending on ingredients and location. These juice bars also serve snack food like pão de queijo (cheesy bread) and fast food like burgers.