Until recently, the culinary scene in Rio was not highly regarded, the oft-repeated joke being that the only way to eat well was to catch a plane to São Paulo. Fortunately, things have improved. Here are some establishments that we enjoyed.
Claude Troisgros, a scion of the famous gastronomic dynasty, employs Brazilian ingredients in recipes informed by classical French technique. Expect dishes such as fillet of grouper with bananas, lime and an herb and raisin sauce; or duck breast with passion fruit, caramelized endive and foie gras.
Olympe Rua Custodio Serrao 62, Lagoa. Tel. (55) 21-2539-4542.
Owned by Rogerio Fasano, a fourth-generation member of the renowned hotelier/restaurateur family, this stylish and fashionable establishment serves classic Italian cuisine.
Gero Ipanema Rua Anibal de Mendonca 157, Ipanema. Tel. (55) 21-2239-8158.
A Rio institution for more than 25 years, this lively restaurant serves a full menu of Japanese cuisine, as well as exemplary sushi and sashimi. Reservations can be hard to come by.
Sushi Leblon Rua Dias Ferreira 256, Leblon. Tel. (55) 21-2512-7830.
This sleek, wood-paneled restaurant, centered on a large coal-fired grill, serves contemporary cuisine with Brazilian inflections. Look for the celebrated charred tuna with tagliatelle and horseradish, and the delicious bife de chorizo with rustic potatoes and truffled cream.
Zuka Rua Dias Ferreira 233B, Leblon. Tel. (55) 21-3205-7154.
This fashionable outdoor bar, set on the shore of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, is where affluent Cariocas (citizens of Rio) come for a caipirinha and a light meal (bruschetta, fondue) in leafy “Amazonian” surroundings. The prices are outrageous, but the views are memorable.
Palaphita Kitch Lagoa Avenida Epitacio Pessoa, Lagoa. Tel. (55) 21-99688-9286.