The all-you-can-eat concept is alive and kicking in Rio, and can mean anything from never-ending budget slices of pizza to the most outrageous plates of lobster and sushi, so long as your eyes aren't bigger than your wallet. The perfect way to while a few hours over a long lunch or boozy dinner, there are a handful of bars that provide a good recipe for some respite from the rain, too.
R$58-$69 buffet. Leblon, Barra and Botafogo
If you have more than just meat on your mind, then the buffet of choice awaits at Ráscal. Found in the carefully controlled environments of Shopping Leblon, Rio Sul and Casa Shopping malls, it is one restaurant that somehow lends itself to these clinical environs. An enormous table of antipasti into which you can delve as little or often as you like, the buffet price also grants access to the pasta bar, with a build-your-own approach to proceedings. The main attraction, however, is filled with carpaccios, huge parmesan cheeses, roasted vegetables, houmous, baked garlic and even the occasional thin-pan pizza.
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R$98 buffet. Flamengo
Rio's authority on all things beef, the Flamengo branch of Porcão is a cavernous space that lends itself to the occasional joy of over-eating. Slow and steady definitely wins the race, though, meaning a whole afternoon indoors is well spent spearing slices of freshly-grilled steak, drinking red wine and, if you time it right, watching the football on one of several big screens. The view across the bay to Sugarloaf may be all or partly obscured by the mist, but the kids won’t mind as they take their protein rush into the fully equipped (and monitored) play area.
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Joe e Leo’s
Barra, Leblon and Botafogo
When things get a little grey, turning to some perfectly unhealthy comfort food is never a bad option for that endorphin rush. Joe e Leo’s do the American diner interpretation better than most, with a hefty choice of burgers ranging from big to very big, and of course the ludicrously chocolatey hit of three different types of brownie and the all-important ice cream sundae. Weekdays between 5-8pm it’s also a two-for-one on draft Heineken.
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Humaitá and Lapa
Pool (taco) in Rio isn’t like like pool in Europe or the US. The pockets are tiny, the cushions unforgiving and the rules flexible, so the no-hurry vibe of a rainy afternoon should be the perfect opportunity to get your hustle on. The once-legendary Boteco Taco (Rua Humaitá 122, Humaitá, 2539 5109) is one of the few 24-hour bars in the neighbourhood and has five good quality tables, but Lapa 40 Graus is the real spot to while away the hours. It doesn’t open until 6pm but the tables are bounteous, the beer excellent, and three floors of music help keep the options open when interest in the game wanes.
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