Did you know that Eat Rio’s food tours are totally adaptable to vegetarians? It’s true! Newcomers to Brazilian food assume that it’s just one never-ending barbecue, but in reality Rio’s food scene offers fantastic options for vegetarians. Rio does not lack high quality, locally grown produce – just take a stroll through one of Rio’s daily street markets to see the beautiful fruits and vegetables that are grown here. And the list of Vegetarian Restaurants in Rio is constantly growing and improving.
Here are some excellent options for vegetarians (or, in fact, for anyone who wants to skip the meat/fish for a change):
Previously located close to the Corcovado train in Cosme Velho, this high-end vegetarian restaurant is now in the leafy Jardim Botânico neighbourhood. This is not one of those places where some rice and beans and slopped onto a plate and accompanied by a limp salad. Each dish is intricately constructed, beautifully plated and full of flavour and texture. Whether you’re a vegetarian looking for something special, or non-vegetarian who wants something light and fresh, this is an excellent option. They also have excellent options for vegans.
Who doesn’t love ice-cream? No one. No one doesn’t love ice-cream. And that includes vegans! Head to Casa Hoba in the funkiest little corner of Botafogo (an area dense with awesome bars and restaurants where the cool kids hang – have a wander, you’ll see what I mean). This bright, colourful ice-cream shop and cafe stocks 100% vegan-friendly ice-cream (made with cashew milk), plus pastries, brownies, coffee and other good things you’d expect in a place like this.
When vegans hear about Brazil’s most iconic dishes, their hearts must sink – feijoada (meat fest -oof!), Moqueca (fish fest – oof!), beans (great!? Erm, sadly no – beans are generally cooked with pork, beef or sausage), pão de queijo (clue’s in the name – mostly cheese), brigadeiro (condensed milk).
Ble Vegan to the rescue! Billed first and foremost as comfort food, there is a distinct lack of that sadness you see in some places where all the joy has been sucked from the food. This is truly delicious food that just happens to be vegan. And you’ll find vegan feijoada, vegan moqueca, vegan baião de dois, vegan sweets and other goodies. All this, plus a great selection of beers and cocktails. A short walk from Casa Hoba and all the other fun things in Botafogo.
OK, we are talking serious high-end here, let’s get that out of the way now. But if you want something absolutely out of this world and don’t eat meat or fish then just let them know and they’ll give you one of the finest dining experiences you could have. I’d recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a sublime dining experience. Chef Rafa Costa e Silva grows much of the produce served in this amazing restaurant in his own gardens and the quality and focus on fresh ingredients works just as well for vegetarians as it does for anyone else. One of the best restaurants in Rio.
Located in Ipanema, not far from the canal that separates Ipanema from Leblon, Teva is a stylish restaurant which is totally vegan. A great example of a restaurant proving that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring or ugly, Teva features beautiful dishes, fantastic cocktails and modern design.
This is a funny one. A restaurant specialising in meat is also one of the most popular places for vegetarians to eat due to their delicious vegetarian rodizio (all you can eat side dishes). You could start with their famous watermelon carpaccio and then proceed to those never-ending vege side dishes – excellent wines and other drinks also feature. Run by one of Brazil’s most famous chefs, Frenchman Claude Troisgros, CT Boucherie never fails to impress.
Marchezinho is not a vegetarian restaurant, but it always has plenty of options for non-meat eaters (and a great selection of cheeses, breads, condiments and other goodies that you can buy to take home). The influence of the French owners is there to see in the menu, but they put a strong focus on local, artisanal producers, so you can be sure that you’re not going to be eating food that has been flown in from Europe, North America, etc.
Their lunches are always really good value and at the time of writing they are running a kind of ‘cheese night’ on Monday where awesome locally made cheeses are showcased. In the evening things get quite lively so it’s a fun place to hang out and enjoy the bustle of Botafogo.