Zazá Bistrô is not like the standard higher-end restaurants in Rio. When I first arrived here in 2010 I wanted to try all the best places in town – time and again I would be sent to places that looked more like airport lounges: exaggerated air-conditioning and a soulless emptiness – both of which left me cold. Well Zazá is nothing like that! The decor oozes style and personality. From the beautiful veranda to the lovely interior decoration to the cushion-strewn room upstairs, Zazá is full of interesting touches and details.

They take the drinks seriously and offer a great cocktail list. The menu is really interesting, combining influences from North Africa, the middle east, south-east Asia and of course Brazil.

The restaurant is located in a fairly fancy part of Ipanema so, unsurprisingly, Zazá is not cheap. It is also very popular – if you show up at 8pm (on any day of the week) you may have to wait 30 or even 60 minutes for a table. They’re used to English speakers (it’s that part of town) so either call to make a booking, or just drop by earlier in the day to reserve a table.

Address: Joana Angélica, 40 – Ipanema (map link)