Food in Rio, restaurant recommendations, food tips, fitness suggestions..
Wheat, meat and acai is a good three word summary of my experience of food in Rio!
I’ve been staying in hostels and the free breakfast consists of cake, toast, paquet cheese and ham BUT also fresh watermelon, papaya and melon. In the main areas like Copacabana and Lapa there are cafes on every corner where you can get a traditional chicken, rice and beans for about 20 reales (£5). Acai and coconut water are in abundance in Rio! When I stayed in Copacabana I genuinely couldn’t go more than 3 minutes without walking past a cafe that sold them.
Feijoada- one of Brazil’s most famous dishes. A hearty stew made with black beans, sausages, cuts of pork, a side portion of crackling and some orange pieces to finish it off. Really tasty!
Delirio Tropical- came recommended from a friend who used to live in Rio. It’s a small Brazilian chain with a salad buffet and gluten free options! (Maize pasta, quinoa..) Also the best chocolate cake I think I have ever had in my life. (£6) for plateful of three different salads. They also do takeaway! 36 Ria da Assembleia, Centro
Carretao- a local recommended this restaurant in Copacabana for Brazilian BBQ- all you can eat meat and salad! Fill your plate with a variation of roasted vegetables, Israeli salad, beetroot and all other kinds of greenery. Waiters come round with all different kinds of tender meats. My favourite meal in Rio so far. (£25) with wine. 23 Ria Siquiera Campos, Copacabana
Acai and coconut water on every corner. Make the most of the (£2) acai and (£1 )coconut water fresh out of a coconut! ** Watch out for the sugary granola toppings and that the Acai doesn’t come with “xarope” syrup as it will be overly sweet.
O Quintal Zen- EVERYTHING wheat and dairy free. It’s a five minute walk from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and the food is delicious. I had a wheat dairy free pesto pasta with complementary lavender water and a brigadeiro (typical Brazialian dessert). The dessert is normally made with dolce de leche and cocoa but this one was refined sugar free made from the banana root and raw cacao.
A refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free brigadeiro
Nutrition? Pimp your meals! Mix up a container of superfoods before you come. You can add extra nutritents to all your meals. Mine is made up of chia seeds, almonds, cocoa nibs (interesting on savoury food), linseeds and sunflower seeds. I sprinkle it on everything, sweet potato omelettes to peanut butter covered bananas!
Avoid refined? White rice comes with most dishes but “arroz integral” (brown rice) is easy to come by in the supermarkets.
No sugar? Watch out for the Caipirinha’s. As delicious (and alcoholic) as they may be, about 5 tablespoons of white sugar goes into them. Vodka and soda is available in most bars but you will pay extra (£7 instead of £4)
Budget? Snack on bananas (20p) with some peanut butter to balance the sugar . I brought Pip and Nut sachets with me but there are plenty of health food shops around which sell a good quality nut butter. Failing this peanuts are (£1) for a bag in the supermarket.
A peanut butter covered banana with my own nutritious toppings
1. Hike up to Christ the Redeemer. Expect a tough 2 hour hike up to the top including parts where you climb up using metal handles built into the rock. I felt like I’d done an hours spin class under hot yoga conditions. Incredibly rewarding when you get to the top.
2. Hire bikes to explore the city. We biked down Copacabana beach, to Ipanema beach, then around Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas stopping off at Parque Lage and the Botanical Garden, back through Leblon (wealthy area of Rio) to Copabacabana. Great work out.
3. There are outdoor gyms at every 50m of Copacabana. Test your press ups, chin ups and sit ups! Most parks around the Copacabana area also have outdoor cross-trainer style machines and arm presses.
My travelling companion Lydia getting in some pull ups on Ipanema beach
***Not all supermarkets take credit card (Revolut/ STA travel card). We found this out the hard way.. Pão de Açúcar takes credit card but others do not!