Foreigners demand for international food is big in Rio. The local cuisine is very bland and most visitors miss a bit of spice or taste. I have put together a list with some recommendations of restaurants that could satisfy your craving. Note that not all of these restaurants are to my regard particularly good, but they might cool your craving. I have also put down some shops that sell spices and food stuffs if you want to do it yourself.
International Food Restaurants
R. General Polidoro 29, Botafogo map, tel 2542-6242
Comment: Like a pricey lunch restaurant with the aim to have an Indian profile.
Av. Atlântica 1936, Copacabana map, tel 2235-6698
Comment: The Middle Eastern food is actually quite good in Rio. An explanation to that is probably the large portion of people with Lebanese heritage here.
– R. Vinicius de Moraes 121, Ipanema map, tel 2523-7026
– R. Dias Ferreira 116, Leblon map, tel 2511-1476
Comment: If you want a sushi bar with high quality for reasonable prices Minimok is the place.
Av. Atlantica 1702, Copacabana map, tel 2548-7070
Comment: High level, high prices. Nicely located in the luxurious hotel Copacabana Palace. Venezian food.
The standard of the pizzas in Rio has to be mentioned. For some reason most pizzas often do not contain tomato sauce, instead you are provided with little satchets of ketchup and mustard you are supposed to add afterwards. Yikes! A good and affordable option is to have a pizza in any of the Zona Sul super markets that has a restaurant part. A more exclusive pizzarias is:
– R. Vinicius de Moraes 134, Ipanema map, tel 2523-3394
– R. Domingos Ferreira 187, Copacabana map, tel 2255-2598
Comment: High level, high prices. Several times voted the best pizza in Rio.
Av. Atlântica 3880 2nd floor, Copacabana map, tel 2287-3956
Comment: Chinese food in that environment we all recognize.
Spices and Food Stuff
You may not have the money or you just want to cook it yourself. Walking in to your standard supermarket here in Rio you’ll notice how they lack many things that are important for cooking international food. If you want to cook basic Italian, Arabian or Japanese you just have to check out your nearest Zona Sul supermarket, you should be able to find everything you need right there. It’s worse if you want to cook Asian food since you can’t find food stuffs almost anywhere.
For Indian food you can find real curry powder on the Tuesday market, Tuesday mornings on the square General Osório in Ipanema map. This is also a great place to buy rarer fresh herbs like dill. The best is probably to mix the powder yourself, getting the spices for that is actually quite cheap, the place to go is any of the stores of:
– R. Barata Ribeiro 370, Copacabana map
– Av. N.S. de Copacabana 1066, Copacabana map
– R. da Alfândega 104, Centro map
– R. Senhor dos Passos 110 map and 240 map, Centro
– R. Buenes Aires 346, Centro map
Site: Casas Pedro
Here you will find a lot of the dry spices necessary, you probably have to buy them ground rather than whole since finding a decent pestel is extremely hard. They also have a good selection of Arabian food stuff.
For East Asian food the best places to go are:
R. Marques de Abrantes 219, Flamengo map, tel 2551-2824
Comment: Here you have a lot of stuff for the Oriental kitchens. They have real curry paste and fish sauce, unfortunately not everything you´d want like kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass.
R. das Laranjeiras 43, Laranjeiras map, tel 2285-6739
Comment: A store specialized in macrobiotic and organic food stuffs that also has quite a lot for the Japanese kitchen.
Lemon grass is one of those products that is really hard to find, then I got this tip from Liam from Ireland: “You can get lemongrass at the feiras (like the Tuesday one in Ipanema) the Brazilians use the green leafy part for tea and chuck away the good base part! All you have to do is find an ‘ervas’ vendor with the green part and ask them to bring the base next week and while they may think you are nuts they will happily sell you something they throw away !” Problem solved.