Time Out Rio de Janeiro

The Rio food and drink 50 - bar snacks

The best things really do come in small packages, and we have ten quick street foods and beer companions for when a full meal just isn't called for.

Fancy finger food

Deep-fried brie straws at Santo Scenarium

R$33 for 8. Lapa

The recipe may be simple enough, but these deep-fried, cheese-tastic straws combined with the tang of an orange sauce are an unexpectedly moreish combination. Next door to the famous music hall Rio Scenarium, the much smaller, jazz-loving sibling Santo Scenarium makes for a relaxed pre-samba spot. Very much in the style of its neighbour with exposed brickwork and a collection of unusual furniture, from the seats out front you can also keep an eye on the queue next door and avoid the worst of the inevitable rush.

Pastel de Queijo Brie & Shiitake at Bar do Adão

R$5.20 eachBotafogo

With over thirty options to choose from, it's a good idea to try as wide a selection of Adão's celebrated snacksome specials as you can manage in the (original and best) Botafogo branch. Seriously no-frills, the beer comes thick and fast and the atmosphere is always lively, with the drinking best partnered by the excellent brie and shiitake mushroom parcels.

Made for beer

Bolinhos de bacalhau at Pavão Azul

R$3.50 each. Copacabana

Bigger, fresher and as such considerably more moist than your average cod ball, you can watch as the cook spoons great lumps of fishy mixture into the pan just behind the bar at this Copacabana favourite. Avoiding the usual boney pitfalls, the bolinhos at this simple Copacabana street bar are best taken with just a sprinkling of molho malagueta (firey homemade chilli sauce) to spice them right up, and a bottle of Antartica Original to cool you back down. The simple pleasures.

Pasteis at Bar Urca

From R$3.50 each. Urca

In much the same way as Pavão Azul make the perfect bolinhos, Bar Urca's crab, shrimp and meat pasteis (small, fried pockets) and empadas (pies) drizzled in lime and chilli sauce take some beating. Fresh as a daisy and with the bay to gawp at from your perch on the sea wall, its a tried-and-tested Rio combination.

Bolinho de feijoada at Aconchego Carioca

R$19 for 4. Praça da Bandeira

Chef Kátia Barbosa, owner of Aconchego Carioca a few blocks from the Maracanã football stadium, famously turned the Brazilian national dish into a bar snack classic. Inside the bean crust of the bolinhos is a juicy feijoada hit, complete with the slithers of kale leaves that will stay in your teeth all night and a taste that is just as hard to shake. The addition of orange slices and even a shot of lime batida to complete the authenticity are a very nice touch, too. 

Croquetes de camarão at Bar du Bom

R$4.50 each. Tijuca

In the heart of Tijuca, the croquette specialists (yes, really), make over 25 different types of the fried rolls, but frankly the clear winner is the tasty shrimp escondinho. A cluster of the little guys in a rich seafood sauce lurk within a crisp manioc crust, and on Tuesdays they're two for one.

Empada de camarão and catupiry at Belmonte

R$5.60 each. Leblon

The Leblon branch of Belmonte has received a serious, São Paulo-esque makeover, complete with pink walls and plenty of mirrors to update the rustic feel of yore. Equally re-booted are the trays of bar snacks that now include such previously unimagineable delights as salmon sushimi skewers and guacamole shots with nachos. The classics, fortunately, are still paraded around though and that, quite simply, means pies. The sun-dried meat is an acquired taste, the chicken a simple filler, but the shrimp with catupiry cream cheese knocks the spots off both.

On the go

Esfihas at Rotisseria Sirio Libanesa

R$4.50. Flamengo

Among several Arabian food specialists in the Condor shopping gallery of Largo do Machado, this simple spot packs them in, grabbing the best esfiha (triangular parcels of meat, cheese, spinach or chicken) award by virtue of the perfect bread outer layer and wide array of sauces to pour on top. If you don't have a date or important meeting to go to, slop on some of the tahine and garlic and eat standing at the counter with a fresh juice for the full, bustling experience. 

Pastel de camarão and catupiry at BB Lanches

R$4.50. Leblon

To most this may just be another not entirely healthy-looking shrimp and cream cheese pasty. The BB Lanches effort makes its way onto our list, however, mainly by virtue of its ability to soak up a night's worth of beer and its ready availability on the streets of Leblon at 2am just when you need it most. By day, altogether healthier juices and salads will provide a considerably more tempting pre-beach stop-off.

Pastel de cenoura and ricotta at Mundo Verde

R$3.80. Copacabana

The Mundo Verde chain of health food stores doesn’t exactly represent a delirious gastronomic jolt to the senses, but the shops are all over town, and beyond the scented candles and homeopathic remedies lie some decent snackable options. The most popular  are the wholewheat pasties, meaning you’re never too far from a slightly healthier hit of cheesy goodness, like the carrot and ricotta parcels.

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Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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