Can we all agree that Brazil is totally underrated by most travelers? For some reason, it just seems to be intimidating – and even Anthony Bourdain felt that way during some of his early trips to this big, beautiful, diverse South American country.
But he didn’t let that stop him – and neither should we. Anthony Bourdain visited Brazil several times in his television career, filming seven episodes across all four of his shows. Through those visits, he discovered different parts of the country from some of the world’s biggest cities to the remote and renowned Amazon jungle. Along the way he tried a variety of foods, showing that (as one would expect) geographic diversity is reflected in cultural and culinary diversity.
If you’re planning a trip to Brazil or just curious about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Brazil, this is the spot to start. Below you’ll find a breakdown of each part of Brazil Tony visited, plus links to more detailed guides for some of those areas. This can be helpful in planning a trip, or if you’re just a curious “enthusiast” and love learning about Tony’s travels. Ready to dig in? Bom appetit!
In Brazil, Bourdain also visits Belém, a sophisticated city of two million people with a skyline rising from the concrete like New York’s. But, what’s truly fabulous about this concrete jungle is that right at its back sits the untamed Amazon. Culinary speaking, it’s Belém’s proximity to the Amazon that gives the city its uniqueness. Tony gets to try food he never even knew existed and discovers that even the flavors he thought knew so well, he doesn’t really.
- Tacacá da Dona Maria (Nazaré) – Like in pretty much all his visits, Tony includes a street food joint to taste what locals grab when there’s no time for a proper meal in a restaurant. That’s when tacacá comes in. Tacacá da Dona Maria has been ladling out the best tacacá in town for thirty years. This dish is a common everyday soup that’s a big local favorite. The base of tacacá is tucupí, a cassava broth to which you add a spoonful of thickening tapioca gum, cherry peppers, and shrimp. But what really sets this soup apart is the addition of analgesic jambú leaves.
- Marajo Park Resort – It’s time for the big Amazonian feast Tony’s been waiting for: the pirarucú. Pirarucú is a fish that is indigenous to the Amazon River. It is an important source of protein for the Ribeirinhos of the Amazon and has been called a living fossil by scientists. After a long day trying to catch a pirarucú – they succeed – the team goes back to the hotel. The hotel’s chef and staff prepare the pirarucú with a wash of onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and olive oil, then grill. To accompany the pirarucu, some vatapá – a traditional stew in Brazil made with shrimp, peanuts, coconut, and palm oil. It doesn’t stop there. They bring more pirarucú simmered in coconut milk and a special treat, pirarucú caviar.
In the state of Minas Gerais, Bourdain primarily spends his time in the city of Belo Horizonte. This provides a great contrast to the two other bigger cities he visits (Rio and São Paulo). Best of all, every restaurant and bar he visited during that trip are still open today. Here’s the list of where he ate:
- Bar da Lora
- Bar do Careca
- Mercado Central de Belo Horizonte
- Nonô – O Rei do Caldo de Mocotó
- Zora Culinária Afro-Mineira
You can find all the details of what he ate in Belo Horizonte in my guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais.
Rio de Janeiro
When people think of Brazil, it’s Rio de Janeiro that comes to mind: sprawling beaches, Christ the Redeemer, and grilled meats in a variety of forms… Not that last one? Okay, maybe it’s just Bourdain. In any case, he spent time in Rio twice and sampled a lot of the dishes unique to this part of the country. Here’s the list of places Tony ate in Rio that are still open today:
- Adega Cesari in Mercado Municipal
- Bar do Mineiro (Santa Teresa)
- Bar Urca
- Barraca Nordestina
- Confeiteira Colombo
- Galeto Sat’s
- Toca do Bonde
- Uruguay Posto 9 (Ipanema Beach)
If you want more details about what he ate at each place, be sure to check out the guide to Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro.
Salvador de Bahia
Bahia is the wellspring for everything African and spicy in Brazil. So, it’s no surprise to Tony that comida baiana is the queen of cuisine in Brazil. The African roots are ever-present in a city where Bourdain notices everyone – and everything – is sexy, including the food.
Here’s a list of all the places Bourdain ate during his two trips to this Northeastern city:
- Acarajé da Dinha
- Barraca Biruta Tehe
- Feira de São Joaquim
- Mercado da Sete Portas
- Praia do Rio Vermelho
- Sorriso da Dada
- Sorveteria da Ribeira
Be sure to check my entire guide to places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Salvador if you’re sold on visiting this destination a bit more off the tourist track.
Last but not least, Anthony Bourdain spent time in São Paulo too – the largest city in Brazil (by population and size). Here he showed off some Brazilian classics, including feijoada, as well as European influences that are an integral part of Brazilian cuisine today.
Here are the places Tony ate in S.P. that you can also visit:
- Bar de Santa
- Bar do Mané (Mercado Municipal)
- Boteco Bar
- D.O.M. Restaurante
- Feijoada de Lana
- Hotel Unique
- Ici Bistro
- Manacá Restaurant
As in Belo Horizonte, all of the spots he visited (even dating back almost two decades) are still open today. Check the full guide to places visited by Anthony Bourdain in São Paulo for details on what he ate at each place.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Brazil and this guide to all the restaurants where he ate? Let me know in the comments below!