Nov 20

Eat Rio Food Tours!

I hinted recently that I had some big news to reveal. Well the time has come, here it is. There’s a new activity to add to your list of things to do in Rio: Eat Rio Food Tours!


Tell your friends!


The idea was hatched in a bar (naturally) many months ago. I was chatting with Diana, my US/Colombian friend who moved to Rio earlier this year. Diana is as food-obsessed as me, but she actually knows what she’s talking about! She has a degree in Restaurant Business and a Masters in Gastronomy (pretty fancy right?).

So there we were, discussing all our favourite Brazilian dishes and ingredients and lamenting the fact that so many visitors come to Rio but miss out on the best stuff. Well, we chatted away, drank some beers, ate some bolinhos and by the end of the night our plan was decided: we would take people out of the comfort zone of Ipanema, away from the mediocrity of Devassa and show them the best food in Rio!



Of course we were going to have to be selective – there are lots of great places to eat in Rio and we would need days to visit them all. So we started our research – we went from bar to restaurant to market to street vendor and we ate and drank at every opportunity (it was a tough job, but we were dedicated to our task).

Finally we decided on a route. I won’t tell you the details (wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!), but in 3 hours it takes in some of Rio’s best eating establishments, gives people a great introduction to Brazilian cuisine and shows off some of Rio’s most interesting sights. Plus there’s music, cool graffiti and plenty of chit-chat along the way!




We think these tours are good for everyone. Tourists spend an afternoon discovering parts of Rio they might otherwise never have seen, they eat delicious food and they learn about many aspects of Brazil’s culinary traditions. At the same time we are bringing new clients to some of Rio’s most deserving small business owners.

Last weekend we took our first group of tourists on the inaugural tour and it was a huge success! One of our guests described the experience as “supernaturally good”!



So where do we go from here? In the coming weeks you will see a new page appear on the Eat Rio blog which will give more details of the Eat Rio Food Tours and how you can get involved. Currently we have a single route which runs every Sunday, but we are planning to expand and extend this to other days and other parts of town.

For those of you not interested in the tours, Eat Rio will continue as normal, with all my usual ideas for things to do in Rio and other cultural discoveries I make during my daily life in the Cidade Maravilhosa.


As mentioned above, we will soon have a new page here on the blog to promote the food tours, but in the meantime, if you would like to come on the Eat Rio Food Tours, or would like further details, contact us at: eatriofoodtours@gmail.com. If you know someone who might be interested in going on a food tour, why not pass them our details?


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  1. Jorge

    Hi Tom. Great idea! Good luck on this new “challenge”!

    1. tomlemes

      Oi Jorge – thanks! It feels great to be starting something that I really believe in: showing people that Rio is more than Cristo, Pão de Açúcar and Ipanema! ;)

  2. marcos

    Hi Tom, This is a very good idea and I also think that we lack restaurants’ reviews writen in English language. I think that it will help native English speakers who want to find a good restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. I would like to make a suggestion. You should ask the restaurant owner a permission to visit the kitchen because many restaurants here in Brazil have a bad reputation when it comes to hygiene in the kitchen. I know that there are inspectors at prefeitura do rio that do this job and sometimes they close the restaurant for its bad hygiene standards but I think that you can do it too as you are assessing the quality of a place where we go to have a meal. Thanks.

    1. tomlemes

      Thanks Marcos – that’s a nice idea. I think people who are interested in food are often very interested to see how it is actually made. Maybe they can pick up some dicas from the chefs :)

      1. The Gritty Poet

        Humm, an inventive and subtle way of inspecting the kitchen without stepping on local sensibilities (I see the brief yet intensive “Gritty Course of Diplomacy Applied in a South American Context” you took last summer is paying off). Congrats on the new venture, and yes I do expect profit sharing :-)

        1. tomlemes

          Thanks Gritty – I couldn’t have done it without you! ;)

  3. Chris Wright

    Nice one Tom! Sounds a great idea and natural fit for the eatrio blog and you as a born foodie ;) Good luck!

    1. tomlemes

      Thanks Chris! We’ve taken a couple of ‘prototype’ tours out and one official one and they all went really well. Seems I’ve finally found my calling :D

  4. Eleanor

    Congratulations Tom – sounds a great idea.
    Wish we were in Rio to try it out!

    1. tomlemes

      Thanks Eleanor! :)

  5. Brae

    Amazing idea!! Congrats to you, this sounds like so much fun. Wish I had a trip planned to Rio :)

    1. tomlemes

      Plan one Brae, plan one! ;) We’ll be waiting for you – would cool to meet and say hi after all these years

      1. Brae

        Seriously! If I din’t have an 8-wk old baby to look after I’d be on a plane. When’s she’s 2 – game on!

        1. tomlemes

          Ahhhh, parabéns!! :D

  6. Bruno

    I think the natives may show up as big clients!…

    1. tomlemes

      That would add a bit of pressure, but all natives 100% welcome! :D

  7. Andrew Francis

    Fantastic, great idea! I hope it really catches on.

    1. tomlemes

      Thanks Andrew – we’re just in the early start-up phase right now, but we’re hoping to really expand this in the near future! Fingers crossed! :)

  8. The Gritty Poet

    Btw when I take my first tour this is how I’ll be placing my orders in most venues. Please inform your staff.

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha! Awesome link! :D

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