Cabana’s Best of Brasil – Best Restaurants in Rio
Our Bahian Coconut Curry, inspired by Espiritu Santo
In the hills of Santa Teresa, the boho neighbourhood just above downtown Rio, this brightly coloured restaurant with a charming terrace is set within a renovated mansion and serves Brasilian dishes from the Amazon with flair.
Seafood is the name of the game here: if you’re brave, try the Tambaqui Ribs: the ribs of a huge Amazonian river fish, served short rib style. But veggie options here are great too: we discovered a great vegetarian moqueca (A Bahian coconut curry) which we recreated in the Cabana Cookbook: and don’t miss the cocktails made with exotic tropical fruits!
We started serving our Picanha Burger after trying the cut of meat at Braseiro da Gavea
Braseiro da Gavea
This casual grill is Rio’s closest equivalent to Cabana. It’s right by the Botanical Gardens – perfect for a pre-meal stroll or post-meal meat coma slump – and specialises in grilled chicken and picanha, Brasil’s favourite cut of meat (also known as cap of rump). It’s reasonably priced, the staff are super friendly and it’s always packed with locals, making it the perfect spot for a relaxed meal with the family.
Find our recipe for Cachaça Grilled Chicken inspired by Galeto Sat’s in our NEW Carnival! Cookbook
We discovered this hole-in-the-wall galeteria (“chicken shop”) late at night: it’s the perfect post-revels pit stop. As the name may suggest, Sat’s specialises in perfectly grilled and seasoned chicken. There’s no menu, and you may struggle with the language barrier if you don’t speak Portuguese, but it’s worth it for a taste of their juicy and tender garlic fried chicken. They also introduced us to cachaça grilled chicken – where the sugars from the Brasilian spirit caramelise and give the chicken a lovely sweetness – and don’t miss the broccoli rice; vibrant green and super tasty.
We introduced our Blueberry & Açai Caipirinha after sampling the super-food at Polis Sucos
One of the many things we love about Brasil are the abundant tropical fruits – many of which we can barely pronounce, let alone have heard of! The best way to enjoy these is at one of the hundreds of juice bars which dot the streets of Rio, but our favourite is Polis Sucos, a local chain of juices bars which have been serving Rio’s Beautiful People since the ‘50s. Juices come in all sorts of imaginative flavours, from the usual (peach, strawberry, apple) to the tropical (watermelon, pineapple) to the exotic (acerola – a cherry-like fruit, guava, papaya). Make sure you try an açai smoothie – the famous Brasilian super food – it inspired our very own Super Suco smoothie!
We were inspired by Fogo de Chão to serve our flame grilled meat on skewers
Fogo de Chão
For a is a true churrascaria (Brasilian barbecue) experience, head to Fogo de Chão, a meat-lover’s paradise with various sites throughout Brasil. This is as traditional Brasilian as it gets: big, bustling restaurants with a ballet of waiters circling the room with freshly grilled meat cooked on huge barbecue skewers (much like the ones you’ll see in Cabana!). They specialise in different cuts of meat cooked in the style of Rio Grande do Sul, the “cowboy state,” and it’s “all-you-can-eat,” so come hungry! In true churrasco style, guests are given a card with red and green cards: green to say “go go go!” to the waiters to keep the meat sweats coming, and red for when they’re finally full. If you need to walk off the, a half an hour stroll through the park takes you to the iconic war memorial Dos Morros (“of the dead”), or you can also take the cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain and enjoy spectacular views over Rio.