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Best 4 Restaurants in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro for 2024

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2 weeks ago

It’s one thing for a city to have global name recognition, and another for a neighborhood. The name ‘Ipanema’ alone brings to the fore the best of Brazilian culture: tree-lined avenues, fresh coconut and the glorious backdrop of Christ the Redeemer. Ipanema is hands down my favorite area of Rio de Janeiro, with a vibrant beach culture, tasteful Brazilian boutiques and some of Brazil’s best restaurants.

There is no one single Carioca (as people from Rio are called) experience. Whether you’re staying in Copacabana or one of Rio’s unique favela homestays, you’ll want to spend a few special evenings in Ipanema. It’s here, in the bars and restaurants of Ipanema, where Brazilian celebrities and Rio’s wealthiest citizens share streets and tables with visitors. All in search of the magic of the cidade maravilhosa (the marvellous city).

ipanema brazil restaurants beach

With that, here are our 4 favorite restaurants in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro for the perfect Ipanema experience – plus one special restaurant, if your budget allows it. Do keep in mind that Ipanema restaurants tend to be very busy in the evenings. If you are visiting during peak vacation time (Christmas, Carnival), you’ll want to make sure you reserve your dinner bookings well in advance.

4. arp bar

Set in the Hotel Arpoador (a great place to stay in Rio de Janeiro), arp bar is one of my regular spots in Ipanema. In true Brazilian fashion, this restaurant somehow merges being both a trendy brunch spot and one of the best places in Rio to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand.

I’ll be candid: the prices are a little steep for breakfast and you may think you’re walking into a tourist trap. But this is Ipanema, where anything beach-facing will cost you.

If you are coming for a meal, I’m a big fan of their breakfast plates (café da manhã). This full package includes a hot drink, various breads, fresh fruit, granola and Brazilian cakes. Vegetarians and vegans in Rio de Janeiro will be excited to know there is a dedicated café da manhã vegano, a rarity in the Rio dining scene.

If you’re coming for the lunch or dinner menu, don’t miss out on one of their fresh fish options. I personally can never say no to tuna tartare (served with miso mayo and crispy seaweed).

3. Talho Capixaba

Less of a restaurant and more of a deli-bakery combination, I love Talho Capixaba for its vintage Rio heyday vibes. Open since 1958, Talho Capixaba is the perfect spot for some breakfast cakes or a quick sandwich.

Most visitors come to Talho Capixaba for their pão de quejo. However, Cariocas know that the real deal is the quejo canastra pão de quejo. This is not your ordinary cheese bread, but rather a special artisanal cheese made in the region surrounding Ouro Preto. In short, canastra makes for a slightly more decadent pão de quejo experience.

One of my regular Ipanema activities involves a shop up at Talho Capixaba before an afternoon at the beach. With a full deli and fresh bakery, you can stock up on breads, cakes, cheeses, meats and literally anything you could want for the ideal afternoon at Ipanema Beach. All that’s missing is a fresh coconut – but don’t worry, the vendors at Ipanema will find you!  

2. Teva Ipanema

Ipanema’s very own purely vegan restaurant isn’t the vegetarian burger spot it sounds like. Teva is easily one of the most glamorous dining locations in Rio de Janeiro, worthy of any Rio de Janeiro foodie itinerary. With a high-quality cocktail menu, Teva Ipanema is the kind of restaurant you want to begin a big Ipanema night out.

Teva’s organic menu is regularly changing, so you’ll want to check their website for the latest seasonal menu. Keep an eye out for regular favorites including the portobello carpaccio, with roasted mushrooms and a parmesan cheese sauce that tastes too good to be vegan. Their Korean spiced seitan will transport you to East Asia, with a sweet and sour Gochujang sauce and a heavy helping of fresh scallions.

Teva recently opened a second all-vegan deli, Teva Deli, in Copacabana. If you don’t manage to get a table at Teva Ipanema for a dinner, try to stop past Teva Deli for their innovative brunch menu with items like tapioca and tofu scramble, or my favorite: croissant sandwich with tofu scramble and cashew cheese.

1. The best restaurant in Ipanema is…

ZaZa Bistro Tropical. A self-described tropical bistro, ZaZa oozes Rio charm and is one of my favorite restaurants in Latin America and clearly the place to be when eating out in Rio this year.

Where you sit at ZaZa can actually contribute to a very different dining experience – so choose wisely.

I personally prefer the outdoor patio, where you can keep an eye on the streetside dining but still feel the energy of indoors. The upstairs dining room has low, floor-level seating and a bit of a mismatched indie vibe.

The menu here offers an extremely fun and expertly executed Asian, Mediterranean and Brazilian fusion. You’ll want to try go come here with a big group of friends, as there are simply so many excellent dishes on the menu.

As is often the case with high-end restaurants, the appetizers are the star attraction here. I recommend starting with the feta and tapioca croquettes which bring together Brazilian and Greek flavors. The Amazonika gyoza are also a standout with cashew fibre mimicing a meat-like filling (we actually double-checked with the restaurant).

With Rio’s eternal summer vacation atmosphere, I always return for the same main course order: Zaza’s lemon-crusted tuna, with a side of lemon risotto. Zesty, fresh and not too heavy. I recommend you pair this with one of ZaZa’s fun juices. I’m impartial to the pineapple with lemongrass – or, even better, start early with a cocktail.  

The ZaZa menu caters to all diets and highlights which dishes are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. You’ll want to try to reserve ZaZa in advance. If you don’t get a table, don’t worry. Zaza keeps up to 50% of tables for walk-ins (which we love and strongly encourage all restaurants to follow suit).

And if your budget allows it…

Ipanema is, unsurprisingly, home to many of Rio de Janeiro’s fanciest and most expensive Michelin-starred restaurants. My Brazilian friends swear by the sleek menu of Felipe Bronze’s Oro Restaurant. If you are in Rio for a special trip, honeymoon – or simply like to splurge on fine dining – you’ll want to book Oro well in advance.


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