From the exquisite landscape to its unique spectrum of cultures, Brazil has earned the title of “Marvelous City” (or ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ as they say!). In our travels, we were amazed by Brazilians’ ingenious creativity. They possess a cultural identity entirely of their own. It is a city that does not fall short in giving you an unforgettable experience. In this modern era, Brazil has evolved into a tourist-friendly destination that allows visitors to safely experience its infamous culture.
The restaurant is located on what seemed a hotspot of activity. The menu has a variety of meat and fish options. The wine selection is quite extensive. The food is delicious but the prices are a bit high.
Av. Érico Veríssimo, 690 – Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22621-180, Brésil, +55 21 2484 4547
ZAZA BISTRO TROPICAL
Zaza Bistro Tropical is a popular (and quirky) restaurant that has been in Ipanema since 1999. The restaurant is in a charming two storey building with a terrace. They specialize in fusion cuisine and try to use the healthiest ingredients possible. The crowd is always lively and getting a table may not always be easy, so make a reservation before arriving (you’ll thank yourself for it). It’s a fun atmosphere at Zaza Bistro and it translates to the restaurant’s eccentric, gaudy decor.
On our visit, we sat in the inner room off the ground floor, where we had to take our shoes off to make ourselves comfortable. There is something for everyone in the menu and the service is excellent. The food at Zaza Bistro is superb with hints of Brazilian cuisine. We discovered tapiocas with cheese and tomato rolls. These taste memories linger – delicious!
Rua Joana Angélica, 40 – Ipanema – Rio de Janeiro, +55 21 2247 9101, send email, view website
Leblon’s first Japanese restaurant has garnered plenty of praise over the years and has become incredibly famous. It is the place to see and be seen! The celebrated Sushi Leblon has established itself as one of the trendiest places in Rio.
It’s been a long time hit in Leblon, attracting a variety of diners. Don’t be surprised to see paparazzi hanging around the door. We’ve observed that it is a common occurrence at Sushi Leblon.
As expected of a hugely famous eatery; the food is delicious. They serve authentic Japanese food with a hint of contemporary cuisine. It’s a tiny restaurant with a big name so a prior reservation is absolutely mandatory.
Rua Dias Ferreira, 256, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, +55 21 2512 7830, send email, view website
Zuka is a contemporary restaurant in the Leblon locale (near Sushi Leblon). We found that the quality of both food and service is good. The restaurant is large and spacious with windows looking onto the busy street, which makes you feel you are in one of the main arteries of the city.
It’s a great place to stop if you want to grab a bite in this urban area. For dinner, Zuka is ideal if you do not want to dine in a restaurant that is too ostentatious, but still want the satisfaction of good cuisine and a pleasant ambience.
Rua Dias Ferreira, 233 loja b, Leblon, Rio, +55 3205 7154, send email, view website
This restaurant is only open for lunch – which is what makes Celeiro truly unique!
This is a restaurant that pays great attention to their ingredients, only choosing the best organic and seasonal vegetables. Celeiro is a an upscale restaurant that is suitable for even the most health-conscious eater. We particularly loved their fresh salads. There are tables outside with a view of the street, but we found sitting at the terrace to be the coolest spot. Overall, we loved their food and Celeiro is the place to be for lunch at Leblon. Style tip: don’t forget your sunglasses and Goyard bag!
Dias Ferreira, 199, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, +55 2122747843, send email, view website
Lorenzo Bistro is located in a quiet residential area. The food is rich with the full bodied taste of authentic Italian cuisine.
One of its best features is the open terrace, though the simplicity of the decor can be underwhelming. Lorenzo Bistro’s conviction is that it is more about the gastronomy than its surroundings. It goes to show that the heart of the restaurant is in the authenticity of their dishes. For the perfect itinerary, one can visit Lorenzo Bistro after a walk in Jardim Botânico, then shop at Rua Lopes Quintas (before or after dining).
Rua Visconde de Carandai, 2 (corner with Lopes Quintas), Jardim Botanico, Rio de Janeiro, CEP 22460 010, +55 2122947830, send email ; send email; send email, view website
Situated in the heights of Santa Teresa, the restaurant consists of several rooms and terraces, on various levels, each offering a magnificent view over the city at night. Service is professional and every dish that leaves the kitchen is to a high standard. The area is not well served by taxis, so the restaurant proposes a driver service to go into the center – a thoughful addition.
Rua Aprazivel 62, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, CEP 20241 – 270, +552125089174, send email, view website
Situated in the bourgeois, south zone of Sao Conrado, lies unquestionably the best hotel in Rio – La Suite. This guesthouse sits on the edge of the Jaotinga cliffs and overlooks the ocean and opulent city. The hotel is a good mix of Brasilian and French influences – just like its owners.
Everything about La Suite is geared towards their guest’s timetable; breakfast is flexible as are other meals with no restrictions. One can enjoy the scenery from its own private patio or take a dip in the infinity pool, all in the ambience of a private villa. It is truly a unique experience that is almost too good to be true. La Suite is the epitome of luxury and its unsurpassable service is what separates it from others.
There are only seven rooms, so a prior reservation must be done before arriving to this very exclusive inn.
R. Jackson de Figueiredo, 501, Joá Rio de Janeiro, 22611-000, Brazil +55 21 24 84 – 1962, +55 21 8187 6123, +55 2484 1962, send email, view website
Located near Ipanema and Leblon is La Maison, a sister guest house to La Suite. Like La Suite, they have imaginatively decorated their rooms with character and concept. It is nearer to the city and a pleasant place to stay, but it does not have a view as spectacular as its counterpart La Suite.
Since La Maison and La Suite share the same owner, you can find that this entire establishment has a French touch to it.
We found this hotel quite comfortable and cozy. The vibe was chilled out. It seems the owner finds their breakfast very important, because like La Suite – breakfast is at your own time.
Rua Sérgio Porto 58, Gávea – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, +55 (21) 3205-3585, +55 (21) 9423-2636, send email, view website
Fasano Hotel was envisioned by French designer, Philippe Starck, who gave Fasano its distinct Brazilian soul. Its gorgeous panoramic view of the sea can be enjoyed in every room. The hotel was designed with Starck’s flawless elegance observable everywhere.
The rooms are very comfortable, emphasizing a sense of space; it was once a large private residence before it was turned into a hotel. A private pool with bar is located on the top floor, ideal for sundowners. This is the finest hotel to stay in if you’re looking for the perfect beach front holiday.
For those who are just visiting Fasano, we still recommend you to visit their private pool bar. Inconspicuously of course! If asked, pretend you are a hotel guest, do not say ‘no’. Otherwise you might be denied access to the pool area.
Av. Vieira Souto, 80 Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22420-000 Brazil, +55 21 3202 4000, send email, view website
SANTA TERESA HOTEL
A brilliant place to call a temporary home, Hotel Santa Teresa unites the charm of old Rio and the excellence of a Relais Chateaux. The earthy decor meanwhile gives it an organic atmosphere that is relaxing and charming.
Santa Teresa has a terrific bar that plays great music while you look out into the Rio sunset. There is also an extensive cocktail menu, so you can sip on a drink whilst enjoying the city views. After 6pm, the crowd becomes vibrant.
Santa Teresa is a popular hotel in the South Zone and is a stellar venue if you’re looking for a night in or a night out.
Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20241-260, Brazil (Santa Teresa),
+55 21 3380-0200, send email, view website
Great location, the rooms here are beautifully decorated and also emphasise comfort.This property really felt like we were staying at a chic friend’s place. The breakfast is fresh, delicious and abundant.The roof top ambiance is very cool and they serve the best capirinha in town.
Rua Saint Roman, 222 – Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22071-060, Brésil +55 21 3586-5042, send email, view website
Making your way up to this hotel is a delight in itself. Mama Ruisa was built on top of a hill so the ascent will be a feast for the eyes. Whether you decide to take your time traveling by foot or by cab, you will get a blissful view of the city and the sea en route to your destination.
Mama Ruisa has only eight rooms, giving you a more private experience. The hotel resembles a large house which contributes to the laid back vibe of a bohemian home. It contains a sizable pool for all guests. The living rooms are spacious and airy, furnished with comfortable sofas that are perfect for lounging in the afternoon. The interiors are attractive, decorated with a French touch. Mama Ruisa has used revamped, vintage pieces that adds to its homely atmosphere.
Overall, we enjoyed our experience in Mama Ruisa, thanks to the warm and friendly staff that made us feel very at ease.
Rua Santa Cristina, 132, Rio, Brasil, 20241-250 +55 21 2242 1281, send email; send email, view website
RUA DIAS FERREIRA
In Rua Dias Ferreira 417, stands a modest building with a distinctively large bookstore on street level. This humble venue is home to a handful of studios belonging to various designers. It is also the occasional site for designer gatherings.
You can peruse the studios where you’ll find items ranging from leather goods, to jewelry and even handmade shoes. Make sure you’re wearing your walking shoes because there is no elevator!
We recommend you visit ‘XXXX’ on 401; they create leather goods, as well as Manuela Noronho on 402, for fashion and accessories, Odara in 302 for fine jewelry and last but not least, Marcelo Basto on ‘405. Marcela is a Brazilian shoe and accessories designer whose production site is in Italy; the ideal combination of craft, creativity and savoir faire. She has a fantastic store and sells great items.
Rua Dias Ferreira, 417, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, +55 21 2249 1613
If you intend to do a little shopping in Rio, Donna Coisa is not to be missed! Located next to Jardim Botânico is Donna Coisa’s ultra-trendy concept store.
They sell a plethora of cool items; you can find fashion, gadgets, decorative accessories, perfumes, soaps and candles – all in this petite store. It’s a mini paradise for the avid shopper hoping to find an interesting selection. They also carry items from Brazilian designers. Additionally, the awesome staff are friendly folk who are eager to assist you. To top it off, we loved the small courtyard inside, where you can be served tea or coffee. This is THE concept store in Rio.
Rua Lopes Quintas, 153 – Botanical Garden Rio de Janeiro – RJ CEP 22460-010, +55 21 2249 2336, send email, view website
GABINETE DUILIO SARTORIR.
Gabinete Duilio Sartori is a famous art and design store located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood. Their store predominantly showcases the works of numerous Brazilian designers. The outlet occupies an entire floor and goes deep within the building, where you can easily get lost in the countless art collections.
Lopes Quintas, 87, Jardim Botanico, CEP 22.460-010, +55 21 3173 8828, send email, view website
Stuzzi is a sophisticated restaurant that is a fun tapas place! The name derives from the Italian word ‘Stuzzichini’, meaning appetizer.
We discovered an amusing combination at Stuzzi. It has s Spanish themed menu inspired by Brazilian cuisine and a chef from an Italian background.
It’s a popular choice on the weekends when it gets especially crowded. Stuzzi is packed most evenings and Sunday is their busiest day. It leans toward a more chilled atmosphere rather than elegant, making it the right place to unwind and have a drink. It is conveniently located on the same street as Sushi Leblon.
Rua Dias Ferreira, 48 – Leblon, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22431-050, Brazil, +55 21 2274 4017, send email, view website
ARua Lavradio is a well-known street that is Rio’s hub of all things vintage and antique. We highly recommend you explore all the nooks and crannies of this charming downtown area. They have a huge stock of interesting goods ranging from revamped furniture, decor items, to cutlery and glass pieces.
do Lavrádio – Centro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Casa Franca is a historical tourist attraction that is one of the oldest in Rio. Built in the 1800’s for the King of Portugal, it was designed by French architect Grandjean de Montigny. At that time, Casa Franca was dedicated to the culture and arts. Today, it is still a functioning venue, where many concerts, theatrical plays, exhibitions and conventions are held. Inside the complex, you can relax in the serene garden or lunch at the bistro. It is located in the former customs house built in 1890.
Rua Visconde de Itaboraí, 78 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20010-060, +55 21 2332 5120, send email, view website
CENTRO CULTURAL BANCO BRASILR.
Beside Casa Franca stands Centro Cultural Banco Brasil (CCBB), it is one of the three branches in the country. Founded in 1986, Banco do Brasil (or Bank of Brazil) is the nation’s official cultural organization. It focuses on the realm’s corporate culture and is one of the most visited museums in the world. The art-deco structure is the largest of the three institutions and was designed by Francisco Joaquim Bethencourt da Silva.
The Brasilia division is the smallest but is otherwise an impressive building. It houses a theatre, cinema and numerous art galleries. The building and surrounding gardens are worth the visit in themselves. They frequently hold interesting exhibitions which are usually free of charge. Moreover, there is also a café and bookstore where you can catch up on your reading.
Álvares Penteado, 112 – Sé, São Paulo, 01012-000, Brazil, +55 11 3491 4655, view website
The highly esteemed Rio Scenarium is one of the top ten bars in the world, and definitely merits a place in the top ten according to us too! It is one of the essential places to visit in Rio and we insist you do not miss out on this amazing bar. The energy from the Brazilian music show is electric with throngs of people coming to Rio Scenarium to dance samba and enjoy the music. It’s the place to be for tourists and locals to mingle and fun is guaranteed.
Situated in Rua Lavradio, the bar occupies three floors of an old building. It transports you to a time in Brazilian history. The first impression we got from the bar was its eccentric decoration. The owner is a passionate art collector and you can expect to see this from the eclectic collage of fascinating art hanging on the walls.
do Lavrádio, 20 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, 20230-070, Brazil, +55 21 3147 9000, view website
It is believed that the creator Henrique Lage (a Brazilian industrialist) was so moved by his love for Italian opera singer – Gabriella Besanzoni – that he built this palatial park as a symbol of his devotion. Located in the same area as Jardim Botânico, the Parque Lage has become more than a park but a symbol of life, love, art and culture! As such, it is one of Rio’s most popular attractions and home to a visual arts school.
There is a café that has a simple menu, but you may also choose to have your own picnic in the shade of the courtyard. Since it is a small place, areas for picnics can become crowded on weekends. The service isn’t amazing but you come here for the atmosphere, while the neighbourhood is stunning.
The Parque Lage continues to inspire all who visit with its beauty and we highly recommend this place.
Jardim Botânico, 414 – Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, 22461-000, Brazil, +55 21 3257 1821, send email; send email, view website
Jardim Botânico is a large scale botanical garden in the affluent South Zone area. The garden was inaugurated by the royal family and was built in the outskirts of Rio, where nature flourishes. It is close to the hills and the garden melts into the landscape, making it at one with the ecosystem. The slopes and waterfalls sustain the garden – you must experience this peacefully balanced biome for yourself.
This sheltered reserve cuts you off from Rio’s concrete jungle and is a great place to recharge and relax. The best ways to do that in Jardim Botânico is by taking a walk along the foot paths or going for a run; an ideal setting amongst the beautiful trees and green foliage. It is gated and safe.
Rua Jardim Botanico 1008, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 3874-1214, send email, view website
FUNDACAO MOREIRA SALLESR.
Instituto Moreira Salles is an art center with thousands of catalogued photos, literature, libraries, visual art and digitized Brazilian music. Located in the Gaeva area of Rio, this iconic institution will immerse you in Brazilian art and culture.
It was once the residence of Walter Moreira Salles (a Brazilian banker, politician and philanthropist) in the fifties, until it was renovated and generously opened to the public. The Salles’ currently run this non-profit organization with the sole intent of promoting and developing cultural artistry.
Today, it is a well maintained, modern site, with a lush garden and an area to sit. We definitely recommend you visit this place as it is a great background guide and starting point to Brazilian art and culture. You can check their website for the latest events and programs at http://ims.uol.com.br/.
Marques de São Vicente, 476 – Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, 22451-040, Brazil, +55 21 3284 7400, +55 21 3206 2500, view website
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
The building’s clean grey façade and large glass panels are the image of modernism; minimalist with an edge. The base is surrounded by placid pools of water that provide a soft balance to the concrete lines of the museum. These pools are regarded as the building’s special feature, said to mimic the shape of a flower. But enough about the outside. Inside, you will be equally in awe. Its art exhibits are the best and delightfully thought provoking – it even includes Picasso! Located 5mins away from the airport.
Acesso para Av Inf-d. Henrique, 85 – Parque do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, 20021-140, Brazil / +55 21 3883 5600, view website
The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói or MAC) is an architectural feat and its iconic structure was built by Brazilian designer Oscar Niemeyer. He states that the building was created as a work of art – to be viewed and appreciated from every angle. It has been a national landmark since it’s completion in 1996. This museum is highly recommended across the board from many cultural sources. A trip to Rio just won’t be complete without visiting The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum!
Mirante de Boa Viagem, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 212 620 2400, view website
One of the best spots in Rio. With an amazing view – it is worth the walk and takes between 30 and 40 minutes on a slow incline. You should definitely bungee jump and do the paragliding to enjoy the beautiful view over the beaches, the city, favelas and more. Just go to Sao Conrado Beach and choose one of the guides. Our top tip is to only go only on a sunny day to enjoy the experience fully. ARPOAVADOR the area between Copacabana and IpanemaThe “pedra do arpoador” is a quick little hike in between Ipanema and Copacobana beach. You get a great view of Ipanema/Leblon/Vidigal when you get to the top. After climbing that, go back down to the north side where there is a small beach that locals tend to go to more than tourists. The sunset is unforgettable.Try to go as early as you can and watch out for pickpockets.
Rio de Janeiro – State of Rio de Janeiro, Brésil