Time Out Rio de Janeiro

The Rio food and drink 50 - cafés and cocktails

From killer caipirinhas with a tropical twist to the best ways to kick back and enjoy a little café culture, we have ten of the best in town.

Boozy brilliance

Caipirinha de maracujá at Bar dos Descasados

R$22. Santa Teresa

High up in the Santa Teresa hillside, the outdoor terrace of Rio de Janeiro's most romantic bar emits a suave glow. The drinks don't come cheap, but this isn't the sort of place to get involved in a drawn-out session, rather a pre-dinner stop or a chance to charm someone's socks off. In which case the passion fruit caipirinha will work wonders. Tropical, rich, and the perfect sipper with which to take in the stunning view over the city, grab one of the 'beds' and let Rio do the rest.

Caipisake com lichia at Sushi Leblon

R$20. Leblon

Purists from both sides of the planet would probably have a coronary, but taking the humble caipirinha and turning it on its head is the way of chic Japanese haunt Sushi Leblon. Replacing the cachaça with sake and throwing in lychees instead of limes works an absolute charm, especially with a bowl of salty edamame to nibble on by the side.

Bloody Mary at Astor

R$18. Ipanema

Just about edging the best 'Mary in the city award, Astor wins extra points not just for the setting across from the beach (post-sand convenience counts for a lot, after all), but the crucial attention to the details. In other words the addition of genuine Worcester sauce (not the inferior molho inglês substitute), freshly ground pepper, lime juice and a firm stick of celery reaching out of the glass.

  • read the full review of Astor

Caipira Academica at Academia de Cachaça

R$12.90. Leblon

As befits Leblon's home of the national sugar-cane rum, this is a classic caipirinha, make no mistake about it. The use of honey instead of sugar, however, and galego limes instead of the ordinary green guys lifts their signature version far out of the ordinary and into something approaching the sublime, no pun intended.

Côte Roannaise at CT Trattorie

R$92/bottle. Jardim Botânico

A good Italian meal is nearly always deserving of a good red wine to go with it, and Claude Troisgros' new Trattorie by the Lagoa has an absolute cracker in the form of the Côte Roannaise. Such drinkability doesn't come cheap, but grab a glass and enter an exclusive group; grown on the family vineyard in France, it is only available to drink in Troisgros restaurants. Or, no doubt, in the chateaux overlooking the estate.


Chocolate cookie at Besi

R$5. Centro

Lurking in Centro's back streets, the attractive shop-cum-café Besi has one of the most tempting counters of sandwiches, salads and lunch bowls around. Try and pass the shelves of homewares, cushions and furniture without distraction and focus instead on the task in hand; grabbing a table upstairs on the mezzanine or the indoor/outdoor courtyard and devouring one of the soft chocolate-chunk cookies the size of a seven-inch record.

  • read the full review of Besi

Large capuccino at Talho Capixaba

R$5.60. Leblon

Having switched the premises over from butcher to deli some years ago, it seems unlikely the owners of Talho Capixaba are particularly misty-eyed about their previous incarnation. Now commanding top whack for the freshly-made sandwiches, chutneys and breads, the row of chairs and tables around the edge of the shop is permanently packed. A great place from which to watch the Leblon world go by, you are as likely to rub shoulders with an actor learning their lines as an old couple having their morning cafezinho, but grab a large capuccino (and chocolate twist while you are at it) and suck back on a little taste of Italy in Rio.

Carrot cake at Maya Café

R$6.50. Laranjeiras

Café culture is alive and kicking on this corner of Laranjeiras, where weekend mornings are best whiled away with a copy of the newspaper and ready access to the bread counter. Of an afternoon, however, take time for a huge hunk of the carrot cake and pay an extra R$1.50 to have it slathered in chocolate sauce, you won't be disapponted.

Pain au Chocolat at Cafeína

R$4.80. Copacabana

Seriously stuffed with good quality coco, Cafeína's pain au chocolat is hard to beat. The generosity of the filling is everything, making it the go-to pastry for guilty breakfast lovers all over the city, but also eminently shareable for a more romantic, less fat-tastic start to the day.

Croissant at La Bicyclette

R$3.50. Jardim Botânico

The French baguettes at La Bicyclette may have begun life in the owner's garage, but today they draw fans from all over Jardim Botânico and Horto. The French owner Henri Forcelinno was encouraged to open his own bakery once word of his homemade creations got out, and now the croissants are the star turn, selling in their hundreds over the weekend. Suddenly the addition of chocolate seems entirely unnecessary.

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Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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