Do you know the first thing I research when I choose a new destination? If you guessed “hotel”, which is a totally reasonable answer, you guessed it wrong. Vaccines needed? Nah. Visa procedure? Nope. “I know, I know! Best neighborhood to stay?” Hmm…definitely important. But no.
After deciding on a new city to uncover, I look up local restaurants that could give me the opportunity to have a good meal while enjoying the best views a window can offer. If you are going somewhere that is known for its natural beauty like Rio, chances are this could be the highlight of your trip. I decided to write this list in order to help you collect a few highlights during your stay in this wonderful city!
This is a list of 10 of my favorite restaurants with a view in Rio! But if you wanna check out the list of my ultimate favorite restaurants there, click here. Though one of them well deserved to be on this list as well (Bira de Guaratiba), I decided not to talk about it yet once again. But keep in mind this is an amazing option if you want to have a great meal with wonderful views.
Now, is the camera ready? Follow me!
CHEZ L´AMI BRASSERIE
I try to be the most honest I can in my posts, so I´m going to start by saying that though I feel like this restaurant had always been there, it never really caught my attention. The main reason is that it focuses on French cuisine, one of my least favorites. The second reason is that it is located just by the side of a very good Japanese restaurant, which is always a front-runner for me.
Well, if Chez l´amie brasserie made the cut, you must be wondering what changed. Simple: I tried it. Besides the obvious outstanding view, which, in my opinion, is one of the best a restaurant can have in Rio, it offered us three delicious starters and three yummy main dishes. I can´t say the service is the friendliest, I have had much better. Still, the kitchen has good timing and all of our requests were fulfilled. For example, the waiters secured us a window table as soon as one was available, even though our starters had just arrived.
Chez l´amie brasserie is located at the food court of a shopping mall, something that could be enough for you to skip to the next recommendation. Don´t. Botafogo Praia Shopping Mall is located just across the Botafogo Beach, which, thanks to Rio´s peculiar geography, has a panoramic view to the city´s most photographed landmark…the Sugarloaf. The restaurant faces this amazing sight directly, with its huge glass windows giving you the sensation of being inside the postcard yourself.
Another plus is that they offer really good lunch deals. For around R$ 50, you can order a starter and a main dish. Or for the same price, you can try their lunch buffet, where you also have some choices of dessert.
If French cuisine is also not your favorite and you are not willing to try it, you can still go to Kotobuki, the Japanese restaurant just by the side of Chez l´amie brasserie. It will give you the same views, in addition to very good fresh sushi.
Address: Praia de Botafogo, 400 (7th floor) – Botafogo.
Terra Brasilis is a restaurant located at the foot of the Sugarloaf, giving you a perspective of the landmark you don´t usually have (it is located on the opposite side than the one the mountain is usually recognized by). The restaurant is a great option for lunch after ticking the box of your tourist list by visiting one of the world´s most known sights. After lunch, you can just relax at Praia Vermelha, the beach located literally under the restaurant (and one of the smallest and coziest in Rio).
The restaurant definitely hits the bulls´eye in terms of complementing its amazing backdrop with authentic Brazilian cuisine. In the menu you will find classic dishes Brazilians love, like codfish gratin, shrimp with cream cheese and mashed baroa potato, feijoada (bean stew), seafood stew, and tenderloin cubes with mashed yam, to name a few. You also have a very nice choice of house drinks, which pay a beautiful tribute to some of Rio´s famous sightseeing points, like the Corcovado (Cachaça, açaí berry liqueur, lemon juice, tonic water) and Urca (Gin, acerola syrup, tonic water and rosemary). I absolutely love how they celebrate tropical flavors in this drink menu.
But, how much does a view with a very local menu costs? In this case, luckily, not much. The starters cost an average of R$34, while some traditional stews to share (between 2 people) vary from R$ 90 to R$ 160. There are other meat dishes to share for R$ 112. To take a look at the whole menu, click here.
Address: Praça General Tiburcio, S/N – Praia Vermelha.
Xian is that kind of restaurant you take your foreign friends who are visiting the city to. I´m still to find somebody that has been and has not liked it. Besides offering delicious contemporary Asian culinary, this restaurant is carefully designed for everybody to be able to enjoy its amazing views, being built in an amphitheater style. This basically means that the restaurant has tables in different levels, so that the view of the people who are sitting more in the back is not blocked. Genius.
I don´t know how to put this in any other way without sucking up to them: this restaurant is designed to please everybody. As you can infer from their Trip Advisor reviews, they are doing a pretty good job at it. Though the restaurant is huge, they get booked out quite easily, but while you wait for a table, you can enjoy their lounge, bar or balcony areas, all offering amazing views to the Sugarloaf, the Christ, the Second War Memorial, the Guanabara bay, the marina…It´s actually one of the few places I really do not mind waiting for a table.
While being amazed by the city´s topography, you can enjoy a vast menu offering choices inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, and Vietnamese culinary. Is this too much of a mix? Maybe. If I knew this before I went there, I would also have said no restaurant can be very good when mixing in so many influences. But I did bite my tongue, while I was biting many other more delicious delicacies at Xian. Though you do find classic starter options like edamame, sunomono and salmon tartar, you can delve into the more interesting and modern choices like the sushi donut (sushi with fish eggs, salmon and cucumber slices) or the pop pig (breaded pork loin with sweet sauce, pineapple and almonds). There´s also a nice choice of dumplings and classic dishes from Asian countries like Korean barbecue, Pad Thai, poke and yakissoba. You can take a look at the whole menu here (unfortunately only available in Portuguese).
Xian is considered a middle range restaurant, so the prices are not as low as some other restaurants mentioned here. Still, there are some very affordable options in the menu, like the Chinese meat noodles for R$ 46, the chicken salad for R$ 46 or the breaded chicken with wok noodles for R$ 46.
Address: Rua Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365 (Bossa Nova Shopping Mall, rooftop)
Bar Urca is a small bar that exists since 1939 and offers cold drinks and Brazilian style appetizers, like pastel (crispy crusted tapa with assorted fillings), empada (a small pot pie with savory fillings), codfish balls and so on. Its existence itself is what I would call an ode to the carioca lifestyle, celebrating what Rio-born citizens love the most: simple but delicious traditional food, a cold beer in hand, small talk with friends at the streets and a sunset by the calm waters of the Guanabara Bay. That´s the recipe for an unrivaled afternoon in Rio.
Wait, did you say “small talk at the streets”? Yes, for us, cariocas, roofless beers taste better. Go figure. The thing is, when you are visiting a city that has such natural beauty to offer, who wants to be stuck inside somewhere? In Rio, is all about being out and about. And Bar Urca gives you that opportunity.
Though the bar is too small for you to even eat standing, what most of the people do is to cross the street and sit on the low wall by the Guanabara Bay, where you can admire the views to the city´s coastline. Depending on the day, some waiters even take orders there.
The menu is simple but very local. You can eat appetizers like the ones mentioned above, and sandwiches. The prices are also an advantage. A big plate of pepperoni sausage with onions costs R$ 26, the one of fried manioc, R$ 20, a portion of fried pieces of fish with tartar sauce (Gurjão) to share, R$ 48. Sandwiches cost from R$8 to R$23. Click here to take a look at their menu.
If you do not like the unconventional style of Bar Urca, you can go more traditional and take the stairs to their restaurant. Don´t worry, here you will find chairs and tables. Besides serving the usual appetizers the bar does, it also offers main dishes like shrimp risotto (R$ 60), filet mignon served with rice and french fries (R$ 110) and the fish stew (R$ 145) to name a few from different price ranges.
Address: Rua Candido Gaffree, 205 – Urca.
CAFÉ 18 DO FORTE (FORTE DE COPACABANA)
The Café 18 do Forte is a restaurant located inside the Copacabana Fort. Its name pays homage to those who played a part in Rio´s history, right there where the Café stands. The “18” alludes to those 17 soldiers and one civilian who, in 1922, during a rebellion, left the fort to march at the streets and fight those who stood for the political oligarchy in power.
Today things are much calmer there, making the Café a safe haven for those wanting to appreciate the view of one of the most famous beaches in the world: the Copacabana Beach. From there, you can see the extension of the whole beach with the sugarloaf far away in the backdrop. The best part is that you can sit in the outside area, by the low wall that separates the fort from the water. I´m telling you: best place for an early pre-beach breakfast!
Talking about breakfast, they offer two choices of combo (individual or to share) with things like eggs, bread, cold cuts, yogurt, cake, among other items. You can also make your own breakfast combo with waffles, tartines and many choices of coffee (which they roast themselves, by the way). Other options available throughout the day are typical Brazilian appetizers, like coxinha (fried dough filled with shredded chicken) and brisket balls (fried dough balls filled with slow cooked meat, served with black mustard). There are also salads, sandwiches, burgers and dishes like fish stew and seafood risotto.
When it comes to prices, though I was a bit on the fence, I´m leaning towards finding it pricey, though everything is very tasty. I will let you decide for yourself. The breakfast for two costs R$88, while the individual one costs R$ 44, the sweet waffle with Nutella and roasted bananas costs R$ 30, while the toast Petrópolis (a kind of a chunky toast) with jam and butter costs R$ 16.
Address: Praça Coronel Eugenio Franco 1 – Forte de Copacabana
CLASSICO BEACH CLUB URCA
What could be better than a view of the Sugarloaf? A view from the Sugarloaf! The Classico Beach Club is located in the highest mountain, providing its guests the most amazing view of the city, in my humble opinion. From there, you can see many neighborhoods (Botafogo, Humaitá, Urca, Leme, Copacabana, Flamengo…), beaches (Leme, Copacabana, Red, Arpoador, Leblon…), and other sightseeing attractions like the Christ and the Guanabara Bay, which will look the most dazzling from this point of view. Throw a sunset into this mix, and you will have one of the most instagrammable pics you can come up with. Ever.
Spending some time at this restaurant will give you an opportunity to see how complex and unique the topography of this city is. It will also give you an idea of how it grew around lakes, mountains and along beaches. It´s not for nothing that it is called the Wonderful City, my friend. Here, you can understand why.
The food offered is simple and tasty. The menu is very concise (which is a good thing!), offering burgers, breaded shrimp and fish, French fries, ceviche and meat stripes in sauce, to name a few. The price is not so bad, if you consider that this restaurant gives you a very privileged view of Rio. The grilled salmon dish costs R$ 59, the chicken poke bowl R$ 53, the chef´s burger, R$ 46. You can take a look at the whole menu here.
Though the drinks´menu is also very succinct, it has interesting options, like the Açaí mojito (R$ 37), and the Downwind, a mix of vodka, strawberry, grapes, pineapple and Sicilian lemon (R$ 37). I highly recommend going there for an appetizer and a drink, while watching the sun kiss the city goodbye.
Address: Avenida Pasteur, 520 – Pão de Açúcar
Ancoramar is a low profile restaurant, which specializes in seafood. These two reasons alone should be enough for this place to get your deserved attention. But the view is definitely one reason more! The establishment gives you an ample sight of the Guanabara Bay and the Rio-Niterói bridge. Bonus scene: airplanes arriving to land on the regional airport, Santos Dumont, which is located just by the side of the restaurant.
Though from the outside Ancoramar may not look like the most inviting place on Earth, and may be indeed in need of a revitalization, don´t let it fool you. The food here is delicious and very authentic in the sense of committing to elevate the seafood´s taste with simple seasoning. The dishes cost from around R$ 64 to R$ 148. For example, the traditional squid rice with broccoli is priced at R$ 64, the codfish plate with roasted potatoes, broccoli and white rice at R$ 92, the jumbo shrimp with remoulade sauce and shitaki risotto at R$ 139. To take a look at the whole menu, click here.
You can also enjoy their executive menu for R$ 55, which encompasses a starter and a main dish. Their drink menu is satisfying, offering many classic drinks like Margarita and Dry Martini (both R$ 35), traditional ones like the Caipirinha (R$ 24,50), and several choices of wines.
Address: Praça Marechal Ancora, 186 – Praça XV, Centro.
The Espaco 7zero6 is a classy rooftop restaurant located inside the Praia Ipanema Hotel. It is an excellent place to have a nice meal looking at the Christ, the Lagoon, the Sugarloaf and the beaches of Ipanema, Leblon and Arpoador. The height and panoramic windows allow that some sightseeing points, which are positioned in different directions in Rio, are still visible from the same spot. The decoration of the restaurant was also thought out to complement the beauty of the city: the light colors used inside definitely enhance the strong colors of the nature outside.
The Espaco 7zero6 serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, being most famous for the former, called the Café Boulanger. This breakfast combo offers, for R$ 110/pp, various types of bread (sweet and savory), yogurt, fruits, a juice, a glass of champagne, and a plate of cold cuts, to name a few items. Though the quantity and variety is good, you are definitely paying for the view here as well. I would leave this one to visit on special occasions.
The food menu is an eclectic one, offering burgers, pasta, meat dishes, poke, salads and vegetarian options. It´s the kind of place that has an option for everybody. Though the food is really good quality, the drinks take the cake: here you can count on the premium quality of the liquor and an elegant presentation (yes, I´m a girl, this counts for me!).
As stated before, the prices are not low, but the menu is so varied you can find affordable options. The seafood ceviche costs R$55, the asparagus risotto R$ 75, the steak with potatoes and salad, R$ 100, but the pasta dish with grilled shrimps goes up to R$ 140. There is also a meat sandwich for R$ 45, while the burger costs R$ 55.
I don´t know about you, but this place makes me hear Fergie singing “Glamorous” in my head.
Address: Avenida Vieira Souto, 706 – Praia Ipanema Hotel, Ipanema.
I will start by saying that this is not my favorite view of Rio, but I also understand that not everybody has the same taste. Besides, I´m also trying to give you variety here, and though it´s hard to admit, I think you would like to see something different than the Christ or the Sugarloaf for at least a day. And this, combined with amazing food, of course.
So, what can you see from Aprazível? From there, you have a view of different neighborhoods like Santa Teresa itself, where the restaurant is located, and the downtown area. Additionally, you can see the Guanabara Bay and the Rio-Niterói bridge. What actually makes the view here really worth it is the mixture of nature and city. This restaurant transports you to a tropical paradise, where the whole structure is made out of wood. You actually feel like you are dining in the Amazon while, through the image of downtown down below, you can imagine the city is pulsating on mute – you are too high above to hear the horns.
The food is by far my favorite in all of this list. The menu is full of interesting options using organic items, highlighting the Brazilian culinary. Here you will find the Galinhada Caipira (a kind of chicken risotto), fish stew, pepper-pineapple roasted pork loin with parsnip purée, and the carnival octopus (grilled octopus with rosemary potatoes, braised tomatoes and grilled eggplants). You can also choose your starter by Brazilian region (Minas, Amazonia or Rio de Janeiro).
Whatever you choose to eat, don´t leave without trying their drinks. The Tangemahall is one of the best I ever had, featuring one of my favorite fruits, the cashew! The Caipibella is also very tasty, being made with passion fruit and star fruit.
If you are guessing that all of this comes with a price, you guessed it right. Aprazível is definitely not a cheap restaurant. The roasted palm heart starter costs R$ 48, same price as the scallops. The main dishes cost from R$ 59 to R$ 117. For example, the spinach ravioli costs R$ 68, the carnival octopus R$ 103, the tropical fish with banana purée, R$ 81.
Aprazível is a great option to celebrate an important date with a loved one. In this case, reserve a table around sunset hours. Please.
Address: Rua Aprazível, 62 – Santa Teresa
CABANA DA PRAIA
Cabana da Praia is a simple restaurant that serves yummy seafood by the Grumari Beach. It is located in the northern part of town, meaning the not-so-touristic part of Rio. Translation: it´s where the locals go.
The restaurant was built in an elevated place, enabling the guests to have a really nice view of the beach at their feet. What makes the beach views really special and different from the other ones, is that there are no constructions around: it´s pure nature and fresh air. This region is actually full of protected reserves, not being allowed to be sold for building purposes.
For the same reason, the whole structure of the restaurant is very rustic: no paved floor, only simple wooden tables and benches. This is the homey food you would probably be served at a Brazilian´s house: it´s all about the flavor of the fish and uncomplicated seasoning. In the menu you will find roasted fish, which is served with limes and a side of rice and salad, seafood stew and breaded shrimp, to name a few.
The prices are moderate for the food served. Though the seafood is fresh and the quantity is definitely generous, some dishes can be pricey, while others have a great value. In the starters´part of the menu, you will find the stuffed crab shells for R$ 20, shrimp empanada for R$ 8, fried cassava for R$ 19 and a big portion of breaded shrimp for R$ 83 (serves around 3 people). As main dish, you can order a grilled salmon with rice and fried cassava for R$ 65, the roasted fish mentioned above for R$ 223 (for 3 people), and the seafood stew for R$ 249 (also serves 3).
Don´t expect anything fancy from the drinks menu. Still, if you want to try a real caipirinha, like we make it at home, this is the place! Also give a chance to the fresh-squeezed seasonal juices.
Address: Avenida Estado da Guanabara, 6889 – Recreio.
Honorable Mention: LAGOON GOURMET
The Lagoon Gourmet is actually a complex of really good restaurants. Whichever restaurant you pick, you will probably leave happy. But the icing of the cake here is to sit at the building´s balcony (there you can order from any of the restaurants), where you get a great sight of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
Address: Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 1424 – Lagoa