If you've booked a honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, you already know about the city's famed Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, historical landmarks, Carnival festival, and unparalleled mountain views. But honeymoons aren't just about the things you can do or see—they're also about what you can eat (and drink!). The best way to get a true taste of Rio? Eat your way through it, one classic dish at a time. To make things simple, we've compiled a master list of indigenous plates (and even one cocktail) to try, along with the restaurants that serve them best. By the time you and your new spouse leave this bustling city, you'll be able to say that you ate the finest food Brazil has to offer.
This black-bean stew, made with smoked and salted pork; served with rice, collard greens, and orange slices; and topped with toasted cassava flour (farofa), is a staple across Brazil. Cariocas (as locals in Rio are called) typically eat it for lunch on Saturdays, but many restaurants sell it all week. As you'd expect from a restaurant named for its dish, Ipanema's Casa da Feijoada makes one of the city's best—and in generous portions, to boot. Lime or passion-fruit batidas (fruity cocktails made with cachaça, a spirit derived from fermented sugar-cane juice) are included, adding to the already festive vibe.
Bolinhos de Bacalhau
Fried balls made of potatoes, codfish, onions, garlic, eggs, and parsley are the ultimate bar snack. The only drawback: You won't be able to eat just one. You'll find the best interpretation of this dish at Bar Urca, in the pretty residential area of Urca. Order an ice-cold Brahma and cod fritters, and grab a seat outside along the seawall with views of fishing boats.
Condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles are combined to create the Brazilian truffles seen above, a must-try for sweet-toothed travelers. The best place for a taste? Confeitaria Colombo, which has been a go-to for this dessert and other treats for more than a hundred years. The elegant Belle Époque setting—replete with a stained-glass skylight, tall mirrors, and a marble floor—also offers a full chá da tarde (afternoon tea).
The tender cut of beef—less common in the United States—is considered the most flavorful option at churrascarias (Brazilian barbecue steakhouses). Try it at Flamengo's Majórica, a longtime favorite for delicious, perfectly cooked meat served in a charming old-fashioned setting—think arched white tablecloths, dark wood trim, and oil paintings. Start with a palm-heart salad, and be sure to get a side of oil and garlic sauce to top the picanha, which comes with rice, French fries, and farofa.
The hearty whitefish stew is traditionally made with onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro, and coconut milk. Ana Castilho dishes out her version alongside spectacular city vistas at Aprazível, pictured above, a multilevel indoor/outdoor restaurant in the arty Santa Teresa neighborhood.
Brazil's national cocktail, above, is a mix of cachaça, sugar, and lime, served over ice. It's simple and delicious—and nothing is better on a hot Rio day. Get a taste in the art-deco Belmond Copacabana Palace a landmark spot that's reportedly hosted famous names like Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe. Head pool-side for alfresco cocktails at its Pérgula Restaurant, which also offers one of the best Sunday brunches in town.