Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro: 11 Spots Where Tony Ate

How to be a carioca? That’s the common thread guiding Tony Bourdain during his visits to the enticing city of Rio de Janeiro. If he drinks a beer, he does it like a true carioca. If he goes to the beach, he must do it like a carioca. If he eats something, he has to do it like a carioca. Luckily, he gets plenty of chances to learn how cariocas eat. 

Anthony Bourdain visited Rio de Janeiro to film season 2 (episode 4) of A Cook’s Tour, and again to film season 9 (episode 7) of No Reservations. These are his only two visits to the former capital of Brazil, but he explores the rest of the country on several other trips too.

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro Hero

If you’re planning a trip to Rio and want to try your hand at being carioca too, this guide can help – at least when it comes to food and rink. Below, you’ll find a guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro and what he ate and/or drank at each one. Ready to explore all this bustling city has to offer? Bom apetite!

Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Rio de Janeiro?
The A Cook’s Tour episode is available for free on YouTube, and you can find the No Reservations episode on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Tekohá (Guarani) and Purí peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present peoples of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

A Cook’s Tour  (2003)

Bourdain’s first trip to Brazil happens quite early in his career, during the second season of A Cook’s Tour. During this visit, he spends time in both Rio and nearby Niterói.

Confeiteira Colombo

Of all the places Tony could start his journey through Rio, he does at  Confeiteira Colombo. He makes sure to tell his crew in the sarcastic way that defines him, that this is no way of beginning the trip.

This traditional coffee shop has delicious pastries and coffee, but, as Tony puts it: you don’t go to Rio for pastries. After fueling up for the rest of the day, he heads out to explore more of Rio.

Uruguay Posto 9 (Ipanema Beach)

The next stop is the beach, Rio’s iconic Ipanema Beach to be exact.

And what goes great with the beach – at least when you’re visiting Rio? Grilled meat with onion and a beer. When the meats and onions are done grilling, they pile it on the sandwich and then they put a spoonful of cilantro salsa at the top. While you can find this general snack at different stands along Ipanema Beach, Bourdain heads to Uruguay Posto 9.

Bar do Mineiro (Santa Teresa)

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Carne Seca

Bar do Mineiro is where you go when you want extremely good Brazilian food at an affordable price. He starts the meal with a traditional Brazilian appetizer, cachaça, sugar cane liquor. Continuing his meal, toy enjoys a dish of carne seca, which is dry beef and fried manioc.  

How’s the dish made? Fry some onions and garlic in oil, add fresh diced cilantro, then throw in shredded dry beef.  As for the manioc, just throw it in hot grease and voilá. To finish, top with pork rinds, which is fried pork skin in animal fat.

Toca do Bonde

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Angu

While Tony is wandering the halls and stall of San Pedro Market, he meets a Baiana, who invites Tony to her restaurant upstairs. 

What’s on the menu? First is a succulent soup, made of squid, shrimp, octopus, and shredded fish. Then, the waiter comes to the table and leaves a dish of deep-fried roe of corvina fish. Next is fresh shrimp in tomato cilantro sauce. And finally, tender octopus with toasted garlic.

Tony samples angu, a simple dash made of cornmeal and water or milk cooked for hours. He also tries ora-pro-nóbis, a native green very rich in protein known as the poor’s people meat.  (He tries a similar dish in Belo Horizonte on another trip too!

Churrascaria Porcão (CLOSED)

Last but not least, Churrascaria Porcão, one of Rio’s most famous churrascarias. Here, basically, you can get all the meat you want, including meat cuts you didn’t even know existed. The feast included beef, pork, poultry, lamb, steaks, chops, and fillets all served by waiters who walked around with the meat and knives. 

Unfortunately, it appears this restaurant has closed since Tony’s visit.

No Reservations (2012)

In his second visit to Rio, Tony has left behind the goal he had when he first visited the Brazilian city: becoming a true carioca.

Barraca do Uruguay (Ipanema Beach)

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Pork Sandwich with Chimichurri

Tony starts his second visit to Rio at Ipanema Beach, drinking a beer and eating a sandwich. He makes a stop at Barraca do Uruguay – yes, it’s the tent Tony visited in A Cook’s Tour, though it seems to be under a different name at this point.

Here, Bourdain orders a caipirinha and a pork sandwich slathered with chimichurri – a sauce made of garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil, and a touch of vinegar. 

Bar Urca

After a long day at the beach, Tony needs a refill. He heads to Bar Urca, a restaurant that serves fried sardines, a very tasty seafood soup loaded up with sorts of goodness, and the ubiquitous pastels, pastry wrapped around a filling of meat or fish. 

Barraca Nordestina

Barraca Nordestina is a small joint that serves northeast food from the coastal city of Fortaleza. Here, Tony has a dish made of chicken feet, veggies, beans, rice, and yucca. 

Adega Cesari in Mercado Municipal 

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Churrascaria

The Mercado Municipal is a huge market selling all things food-related. Unfortunately, they arrive when sellers are wrapping out the day. But Bourdain manages to find Adega Cesaria, a churrascaria still serving. Churrascarias are the traditional Brazilian temples of all things meat. Needless to say, he eats all the meat he can. 

Galeto Sat’s 

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Galeto

In low Copabacabana, galeto (small chicken) is a pretty popular dish. Galeto Sat’s is a decades-old joint that’s been serving the best galeto in town for all that time. Naturally, this is what Bourdain orders.

The dish is accompanied by rice tinted green in flavor with puréed broccoli, garlic, onion, and farofa. Of course, after too many caipirinhas, Tony has a few shots of fine cachaça to wrap up the day.   

Unnamed Boteco 

Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro - Bolinhos de Bacalhau

The hot day calls for a sweaty beer. Tony heads to a boteco – out of respect for the girl who loves the boteco and brings Tony to this place, he doesn’t disclose the name. They enjoy a few beers and bolinhos de bacalhau, a Portuguese-inspired dish that’s deep-fried balls of cod; it evokes the Portuguese heritage of Brazil without being too overt.

Rio Food Tours to Try

While organized food tours definitely weren’t Bourdain’s style, they can be a great way for travelers like us to sample a lot of flavors and foods – especially since we don’t have a location scout or fixer to arrange everything for us. Here are some tasty-looking ones that don’t lean too hard into Rio’s party scene but still offer a great experience:

Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Rio de Janeiro? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

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