Insider's Guide | Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro


As with all cities, street food in Rio offers a great way to experience the culture,  From the vibrant street corner juice bars, to the beach side cafes, there is a veritable feast of flavours to get a taste of Brazil.  The Rio de Janeiro restaurant scene is also growing, with some talented chefs taking over interesting venues.  Here are some of our personal favourites.

The Cave

The secret is to arrive early, or expect a long queue!  The rock inspired soundtrack and decor are reflected throughout and in the red neon sign showcasing AC/DC’s lyric Highway to Hell on arrival.  Whether within the busy restaurant, or out on the terrace, the cocktail menu deserves special attention.  The Manager’s special includes cane sugar brandy aged in umburana (a Brazilian tree), cocoa liqueur, Angostura, orange peel and cinnamon sticks!  There is also a great twist on a Kir Royal.  The Kir Tiver blends pineapple, almond syrup, cassis, Sicilian lemon and sparkling wine.  Chef Aline Tavares and his Team produce an eclectic selection of appetizers, but are know most for their amazing hamburgers.  New varieties are added to the menu each week.

Crazy Cats Bistro

Compulsive hoarders, Tuca Sodre and Tony Rocker accumulated an eclectic collection of antiques from their many trips around the world, which shared their home with four agitated cats.  Items now decorate this memorable bistro and you will also find tables, chairs and assorted homeware for sale.  Neon signs and a classic rock soundtrack complete the setting.  Chef Lucas Borges’s menu offers comforting favourites, including a sandwich of ribs, purple cabbage and local pickles.  The cocktail menu is as eccentric as the owners and includes original creations such as a Mata Hari and Lollobrigida.

La Villa

After the departure of French Chef Damien Montecer, the two remaining partners have continued the strong reputation of offering good food at reasonable prices.  Most items on the menu change daily, to take advantage of the seasons.  Favourites include Roasted Tarragon Spring Chicken, a Chilled Cucumber and Mint Soup, Grilled Octopus, served with Moroccan Couscous and a classic Creme Brule.  Whilst the lunch menu is simple set menu, dinner offers an a la carte selection.


Carioca (a person from Rio) Chef, Rafael Costa e Silva worked for five years at the famed Mugaritz Restaurant in Spain.  He opened Lasai in 2014 and within a year had been listed within the top fifty restaurants in Latin America by Restaurant Magazine.  The stunning dining room offers a choice of two Tasting Menus, which combine originality with expert technique.  Vegetables coming from the kitchen’s garden create masterpieces including Chard Leaf Tempura with Oyster Sauce, Wild Pig with Purple and Yellow Baby Carrots and Beetroot Cake, with Meringues.  The dish called Breakfast, has become a classic and combines dried meats, eggs, and a sauce of yam cream and coconut milk.

Iraja Gastro

With the recent award of Best Sommelier in 2015 for Julieta Carrizo, guests are in for a real treat of some of the best wines and cuisine in the city.  Dishes centre around seafood, with the squid garnished with mash potatoes and aioli and spaghetti with a mushroom and cashew nut sauce, showcasing the simplicity in the Chef’s approach.  Artagao ensures the desserts are masterpieces, with dishes such as the pumpkin puree with peanut and seed brittle and a corriander sauce.  But the chocolate cake is the real show stopper and impossible to resist.


Originating in Botafogo, this popular tapas bar now also has a branch in Botanical Garden.  Head Chef Jan Santos has created a relaxed environment, with references to Spanish culture.  Popular dishes include the Croqueta de Jamon and Blue Cheese with Dates.  There is also a robust Paella Marinera, with squid, monkfish, shrimp and mussels.  The wine list has an excellent choice, including a wonderful rose cava.  And in true Spanish tradition, there is a large selection of gins, to enjoy with tonic.

Oui Oui

One of the original trailblazers on Botafogo’s popular Iraja Conde Street.  Specialising in smaller plates, meant for sharing in the two distinct dining rooms.  One inspired by the 1920’s art deco style and the other leaning towards the 1970’s.  Dishes include shrimp with pupunha gratins palm and zabaione, tomato stuffed with goats cheese fruit and served with a tapenade.  Desserts take their influence from The Caribbean and include tapioca with vanilla, strawberry and a balsamic and crispy pistachio topping.


Under the guidance of acclaimed Spanish Chef, Paco Morales, Alacena offers memorable cuisine, set in a minimalist setting.  Spanish cuisine is given a Brazilian twist and include Pil-Pil Grilled Shrimp and Pork Loin with a mushroom and tomato sauce.


A charming address in Botafogo, serving a great selection of Brazilian favourites.  These include Breaded Shrimp with Arugula Salad and Saffrom Sauce, Aubergine Cannelloni, Roasted Pork with a Smoked Saffrom Rice.  Desserts include the spectacular Mille Feuille with Crumbly Pistachio.  Open for both lunch and dinner.

Caravelas do Visconde

Queues often form to get a table at this popular restaurant and bar.  Lunchtimes attract the local workers and it is full of families at the weekend.  Specialties are around the Grill and there is an extensive choice of Steaks.  Dishes are large and meant to be shared.  A stand out is the Chicken with Garlic, Parsley and Barbecue Sausage, which is perfect when washed down with a cold, draft Brahma Beer.