There are not so many cafes in Rio as you might think. In the former capital of coffee producing Brazil it is more common to drink a small glass of pretty average coffee saturated with sugar standing up in a corner bar. However you do have them and I have recommended some of them below, in general I have to say that the coffee you get is not top notch, but the cakes and sweets are! To make it easy I have listed them by neighborhood, as you notice most of them are located in the more affluent areas of the city. None of these are to be considered as budget and some of them are quite expensive. You have a bunch of Starbucks around these days as well, just follow this link and you’ll come to their site where you can locate the one closest to you.
Café com Letras Av. Bartolomeu Mitre 207 map, tel 2249-3079. A typical book cafe that sometimes has live music. Site: Café com Letras
Café Severino R. Dias Ferreira 417 map, tel 2239-5294 A book store luncheon place located inside the bookstore “Livraria Argumento” that was made famous in the 70’s for spreading books forbidden during the dictatorship. These book cafés has traditionally played an important part in Rios cultural life. Site: Livraria Argumento
Café D’Hôtel Av. Delfim Moreira 696 map, tel 2172-1100. The breakfast area for one of the most luxurious hotels in town. The veranda is facing the beach. Have breakfast in style. Not cheap.
Kurt R. General Urquiza 117 map, tel 2294-0599. If heavy German cakes is your thing come here. Kurt Deichman packed his recipe book and came to Rio to open this coffee shop in the 1940´s. This is where calories come to die. A classic among the cafes in Rio. Site: Kurt
Talho Capixaba R. Ataúlfo de Paiva 1022 map, tel 2512-8760. Great selection of sandwiches, snack foods and lots more. Arguably the best breakfast in Rio. Not cheap, but can heal a broken soul a hairy Sunday morning. Site: Talho Capixaba
Armazém do Café R. Visconde de Pirajá 547 map, tel 2259-0209. Good coffee and nice cakes. Located on the main avenue in Ipanema.
Gringo Café R. Barão da Torre 240 map, tel 3813-3972. Good for breakfasts, brunches and lunches. Waffles and meat loaf, if you crave… Site: Gringo Café
Confeitaria Colombo Forte de Copacabana map, Arpoador, tel 2505-1500. Is this is the best place in Rio for an afternoon? Beautiful view of the famous bend of Copacabana. Site: Confeitaria Colombo
The Bakers R. Santa Clara 86 map, tel 3209-1212. A spin off from Kurt in Leblon, in a neighbourhood with few options this one of them. Site: The Bakers
Café du Lage R. Jardim Botânico 414 map, tel 2226-8125 If I have to name a favourite of all the cafes in Rio this is the one. Located in something that resembles an old Roman Vila it has a pool in the middle (which you can´t swim in). The cafeteria offers cakes and light lunch options. The actual building is also an art school. All is in the middle of a park at the foot of Corcovado mountain.
Café Botânica R. Jardim Botânico 1008 map, tel 2512-1848. Is this the most tranquil of all cafes in Rio? Located inside the fantastic and lush botanical gardens they serve coffee, cakes, juices and light lunch options. Well worth a visit!
Botafogo & Humaitá
To start with I can recommend a collection of cafés located on Rua do Catete 266 map. They are located around a little plaza and it is a nice spot.
Vanilla Caffé R. Marquês de Abrantes 127 map, tel 2551-5297. Is part of a chain of coffe shops from São Paulo. Site: Vanilla Caffé
Vanilla Caffé R. Acre 51 map, tel 2206-1150. See above.
Confeitaria Colombo R. Gonçalves Dias 32 map, tel 2505-1500. The most famous of all cafes in Rio. Founded in 1894 it quickly became a favourite hangout for artists and intellectuals. This place has atmosphere, the enormous mirrors give the place a very spacious feeling. Site: Confeitaria Colombo
Cafecito Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno 121 map, tel 2221-9439. Beautiful place with splendid cakes, good coffee and drinks. Site: Cafecito
Jasmin Manga Cyber Café Paschoal Carlos Magno 143 map, tel 2242-2605. Located at the unofficial center of Santa Teresa Largo do Guimarães. Few cafes in Rio have free internet connection, this one does. Good coffee and nice cookies.