Manoella Buffara on the Restaurants Not to Miss in Rio de Janeiro

Lasai Restaurante best restaurants Rio

Rio de Janeiro’s dining scene has undergone a significant transformation in the last five years. The value placed on using local ingredients and sustainable culinary practices has strengthened, and the city’s cuisine has become more experimental and diverse.

This is how chef and restauranteur Manoella ‘Manu’ Buffara describes Rio’s culinary scene. Buffara is best known for putting the Brazilian town of Curitiba where she opened her restaurant Manu in 2012, on the global culinary map. She will grace Peter Conistis’ waterfront venue at Circular Quay, Ploós, on Vivid Sydney Light Walk this year as part of the Vivid Residence program.

“There is a growing emphasis on sustainability and the origin of food, with many chefs opting for modern techniques and local ingredients,” Buffara says of the dining scene in Rio, an 11-hour drive from Curitiba and a city where she’s spent significant time.

“Spaces that blend high-end culinary art with Rio’s typically relaxed environment are becoming more common, popularising concepts like ‘farm-to-table’. Moreover, Rio continues to preserve its rich culinary heritage through bars and restaurants that celebrate the culture of street food and snacks.”

The city’s cuisine has also become more experimental and diverse, she says. Chefs are integrating global influences, skilfully blending them with local flavours to enrich Rio’s culinary offerings.

Ahead, Buffara shares some of her favourite places to eat in Rio. From a traditional Brazilian bar-restaurant with great live music, to a high-end venue with a menu that highlights its chef’s exceptional sauces, this is her edit of the best restaurants in Rio right now.

Lasai Restaurante

Lasai is renowned for its kitchen that uses ingredients from its own garden. The tasting menu is highly recommended for a full flavour experience.”


Oseille is Ideal for an elegant evening. It offers tasting menus that highlight the chef’s exceptional sauces. The lobster with beurre blanc is a standout dish.”

Oseille best restaurants Rio
Image: Instagram @oseillerestaurante

Sud – The Green Bird Café

“Roberta Sudbrack’s cuisine at Sud – The Green Bird Café is a must-try, especially the land fruit rice and grilled octopus.”


Chanchada is known for its cool atmosphere and typical boteco dishes,” Buffara says. “Try the cheek meat croquettes and pork belly cracklings.”


Toto is great for a casual dinner, with tasty dishes such as chorizo steak with aligot [cheese blended into mashed potatoes].”

Toto best restaurants RIo
Image: Instagram @toto.ipanema

Chez Claude

“At Chez Claude, don’t miss the fish served with banana and lemon butter sauce. It’s a reinvented classic.”


Ocya is located on an island accessible only by boat. This restaurant offers a unique atmosphere. Be sure to try the grilled octopus with rustic potatoes and shrimp rice.”

Boteco Rainha

“Boteco Rainha is inspired by traditional bar-restaurants. There’s cold draft beer, great Brazilian music and incredible appetizers in a very relaxed atmosphere. I recommend starting with the lobster croquettes and be sure to try the octopus rice, which is brothy, hearty, and has a truly Brazilian.”

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