Founded in 1903, Nova Capela moved to its current location in Lapa at the end of the 1960s and has been serving up classic Carioca food ever since. This simple restaurant is renowned for having some of the best waiters in Rio – these old guys are just great: friendly, professional and full of character.

And so to the food itself. I have previously stated that Pavão Azul serves the best Bolinhos de Bacalhau in Rio, but based on a recent tasting, I think perhaps Nova Capela should take the crown. The picture above should show you what I’m talking about – a crisp, golden shell surrounds a delicious salt-cod, potato and herb centre that melts in your mouth.

For your main course, try one of the luscious roast meat dishes. We were blown away on our last visit by the sumptuous leitão (suckling pig – see photo). Other hightlights include the javali assado (roast wild boar) and cabrito (the word means goat, but in fact this dish is lamb – and it’s delicious!). If you want a taste of great Brazilian food with classic Carioca service, this is a great choice. One of my favourite restaurants in Rio.

Pros: Wonderful service, incredible bolinhos de bacalhau, amazing roast meats.

Cons: Not a great deal of choice for vegetarians.

Expensive: 3.5/5

Address: Avenida Mem de Sá, 96 – Lapa

Telephone: +55 (21) 2252-6228