What to eat in Rio de Janeiro

Last Updated on February 10, 2022


A fresh cut of beef, Picanha is located on the backside of the animal, above its butt. It’s mostly used in Brazilian cuisine, because it contains less fat than other cuts. Churrasco is the name given to the process of cooking this cut of beef. Every churrasco has Picanha, and all the best restaurants serve it. So it is considered the national dish.

Black beans

Brazilian black beans are very different from American ones. They have a much stronger flavor, and they’re not as sweet. The most common way to cook them is with garlic, onions and cilantro.


Farofa is a traditional Brazilian side dish. It’s usually served with meat or fish. It’s made by mixing cooked manioc flour with salt, oil, garlic, and other spices. It’s often used as an ingredient in other recipes. Some people sprinkle it on top of rice or beans before serving. Farofa comes in many different varieties. This recipe uses banana and onion.


Moqueca is a seafood-based stew (sometimes fish stew) made primarily from coconut milk and palm oil. This dish was originally created by the Portuguese because they had imported coconuts into Brazil. The dish was later influenced by African slaves who were making this dish using palm oil instead of coconut milk. Nowadays, there are many different types of moquecas, but the most popular version is moqueca baiana.


Açaí is a fruit native to Brazil, but it is also found in other countries such as Peru. It is known as an antioxidant-rich superfood and is used as a natural remedy for skin problems. It is also commonly consumed by people who enjoy healthy living.


Tapioca is made from the starch of the Cassava root. It is usually sold at mobile stalls in the south zone and central of the city. However, you can buy it at supermarkets and it’s easy to make at home! Tapioca is usually cooked like a pancake and wrapped around a choice of fillings, such as ham and Cheese. For a sweet version try the Nutella and Strawberry or the Banana with Condensed Milk and Coconut.

Pastel from the street market

A more healthy choice than deep fried foods is a fresh fruit or vegetable. Go to the market to buy your favorite fruits and vegetables. Enjoy them with a cup of ice-cold sugar cane juice.


Brazilians love feijoada because it combines many different types of meats into one dish. Feijoada is popular throughout the whole country. It is usually served with farofa, kale, rice, and orange juice.

Fried sardines with lime

Sardine is an oily fish that tastes great when cooked. It is served with a pinch of salt, and a dash of lime. Best eaten by waiting for a vendor to pass by and grabbing a few fresh ones. Restaurants and bars throughout Rio serve sardines, especially those that specialize in serving the smallest, traditional botecos.

Chicken hearts

Chicken Hearts are very tasty. You can eat them raw or cooked. They are made out of chicken hearts, and are grilled on sticks. They are sold at restaurants and you can buy them at markets.

Pao de Queijo

In Brazil, people usually eat a light and simple breakfasts, choosing something like toast with jam, butter, cheese, and coffee. A favorite breakfast is the pão de queijo (aka cheese rolls), which is a bread roll with melted cheese inside. This bread rolls are sold everywhere, but the most famous place is Casa de Pão de Queijo, where you’ll find this delicious bread rolls every morning. But, Americans and Europeans often prefer a more hearty breakfast, leading some Brazilian restaurants to open up American-style bakeries, or even brunch options.


Padaria means bakery. Breads include white, whole wheat, and rye. Sweet pastries include cakes, cookies, and tarts. Brigadeiros are small balls filled with chocolate. The brigadeiro is Brazilian’s most popular dessert.

Biscoito Globo

Biscoitos Globo are crispy snacks made from manioc flour. They are crunchy, airier than other snacks, and have a distinctive taste. They are sold by street vendors along the beaches of Copacabana,Ipanema,and Leblon.


Empadas are mini pies with filling such as dried meat, shrimp and hearts of palm. They come served with a chilled choppy on a balmy Rio night. My favorite empadas are at the Belmont where they come with a smaller pastry base and heaps piles of carne seca. Every time I go to there, whether I’m starving or not, I can’t resist ordering one of these guys.


A coxinha is an easy snack to make at home. You need a few ingredients such as shredded chicken, breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, milk, oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, baking soda, and powdered sugar. Mix everything together until you get a thick batter. Then roll it into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Put them in a pan with hot oil, and fry them until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

The most common cow meat cuts are:

Brazilian beef is considered to be among the best in the world. Beef is sold by weight, so if you want to know how much a steak costs, just ask for a “chope” (pronounced chupé). Chopes are steaks cut from the shoulder area of the cow. They weigh between 30 and 50 grams each, depending on their size.

File – File Mignon

Costela – Ribs
Bisteca- Sliced rib eye steak

Picanha- Top round steak

Bife do chorizo – Tenderloin steak

Cupim – Hump (not rump)… a marbled fatty meat… very similar to Wagyu

Fraldinha – Rump steak

 Different types of Brazilian drinks

1)Cachaça: Cachaça is a type of alcohol produced in Brazil. It has a strong taste and is best drunk straight.

2)Guaraná: Guaraná is a tropical berry that grows in South America. It is available bottled or canned. When mixed with water, guaraná becomes a refreshing drink.

3)Caipirinha: Caipirinhas are cocktails made with cachaça, sugar, and limes.

4)Chope: Chopes are alcoholic beverages similar to caipirinhas.

Where to eat

These are the different types of Brazilian restaurants:

  1. Botequim – Smaller versions of bistro restaurants found all over Europe. Usually have a menu full of international dishes, including pasta, pizza, hamburgers, etc.
  2. Churrascarias – These are typical Brazilian restaurants. They offer a variety of dishes, including appetizers, soups, sandwiches, snacks, main courses, desserts, etc.
  3. Cafeteria – Cafeterias are common in Brazil. They are inexpensive, fast, and easy to access. They sell basic meals such as sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, ice cream, drinks, etc.
  4. Coffee Shop – Upper-scale coffee shops are growing in Brazil. Many of them sell sweets, sandwiches, coffees, juices, etc. Some coffee shops also offer lunch menus.
  5. Delicatessen – Delicatessens are common in Brazil. In addition to selling meats, they also sell cheeses, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  6. Fast Food – Lanchonetes are extremely popular in Brazil, especially among young people and those on the go. They are cheap, quick, and accessible.
  7. Juice Bars – Juices bars are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. They are inexpensive, healthy, and convenient.
  8. Food by the pound – Restaurant Por Kilo A restaurant with a massive buffet serving up delicious churrasco and a huge array of soup and vegetable dishes. You serve your plate then weigh it before going back to your table, then pay accordingly.

Favorite Brazilian desserts.

I’m a huge fan of the “desserts are for dessert” mentality, and I think that it is one of the reasons why Brazilians have such an affinity with sweets. They don’t see them as a meal but rather as something to be enjoyed after a big meal. This is probably because most of their food is heavy and rich (think beef stew, pork ribs, and fried chicken). So when they do indulge themselves with a sweet treat, they feel like they deserve it! And since they aren’t eating a lot of meat, they can afford to enjoy some more decadent treats.

Here are my favorites

Pastel de nata – Pastel de nata is a dessert that consists of layers of egg custard, whipped cream, chocolate mousse, and sponge cake. This dessert is often served after dinner.

Açai – Açai is a fruit native to the Amazon region of Brazil. It is used to flavor cakes, candies, cookies, pastries, ice creams, milkshakes, smoothies, and other products.

Tapioca dourada – Tapioca dourada is a pudding made with tapioca starch and coconut milk. It is one of the most popular desserts in Brazil.

Meringue – Meringues are light and airy baked goods made with egg whites and sweetened condensed milk.