A certified institution and no mistake, this simple pizzaria is a late-night favourite more for its hours of operation than its quality grub, but by this time of night no-one is in the mood to be picky. Open until 7am and thereby just pipping neighbour Vezpa to last orders, the atmosphere is always pretty rowdy as you would expect, though more so at the Lapa restaurant (Avenida Mem de Sá 15) where things are usually even more chaotic by this stage of proceedings.
Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 1228, Leblon (21 2294 0797/pizzariaguanabara.com.br).
Quickly becoming a bit of a hit down this end of Leblon, Vezpa’s location two blocks from the beach and the above-average slices (R$7 upwards) they churn out until 5am on Fridays and Saturdays make it easy to see why. Tables and chairs outside fill up from mid-morning, and nice extras like dried chilli flakes and mixed herbs are pour on-able if you feel the need to beef up the heat of your pepperoni. Success has brought a second outlet in Copacabana on the corner of Rua Djalma Urich and Nossa Senhora de Copacabana.
Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 1063, Leblon (21 2540 0800/vezpa.com.br).
This low-key little Botafogo bar is open 24 hours a day, making it a pretty essential addition to the repertoire of the seriously nocturnal minority, and not least because of the rather tasty food and decent prices that are to be found inside. Deep-fried pasties are made with Parma ham and brie or Shiitake mushrooms instead of the usual shrimp offerings, and the pork sandwiches give that other late-on favourite Cervantes a run for its money.
Rua Paulo Barreto 65, Botafogo (21 2539 8737/botecocabidinho.com.br).
It may be little more than a glorified sandwich shop, but when there is nothing else open Fornalha comes into its own, providing a host of calorific encounters that you’ll still be made aware of when you wake up the next day, whatever time that may be. Being close to both Pista 3 and Casa da Matriz makes the Botafogo branch the king of the late night spots, but there are also shops to be found in Flamengo and Copacabana.
Rua Voluntários da Pátria 236, Botafogo (21 2527 1531/fornalha.com.br).
Copacabana’s famous 24-hour bar and restaurant, Eclipse is close enough to Arpoador to drag a few Ipanema folk away from their dear neighbourhood too. The selection available means that even the most addled of minds will find something to suit them, but when the burger comes with fries for under R$15 you can’t go too far wrong, served any time of day or night, along with pizzas, cakes, tarts, quiches and salads.
Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 1309, Copacabana (21 2287 1788/bareclipse.com.br).
The masters of the late-night sandwich, there’s nothing fancy done at Cervantes, but they know how to satisfy a hungry mob at 4am and no mistake. Go nuts and order a foie gras and pineapple sarnie if you haven’t been romantically successful, or the slightly lighter pork will probably be a better bet for your social life if you do plan on getting closer to someone afterwards. A regular prize-winner in the city’s sandwich and late-night culinary awards and in business for over half a century, you can’t argue with the facts.
Rua Barata Ribeiro 7b, Copacabana (21 2275 6147/restaurantecervantes.com.br).