Going to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro? You'll want to know where to eat while attending the competitions during the year's biggest sporting event. First, keep in mind that there will likely be a large selection of snacks available for purchase at the events. Locals love their salgados--inexpensive and tasty Brazilian snacks that can almost make up a meal in themselves--like chicken fritters, mini pot pies and fried balls of cod. But when you're looking for a meal at a cafe or restaurant near the Olympics, try these options:
Where to eat near Barra da Tijuca
One of the areas where the Olympics Games will take place is the area of Barra da Tijuca. This part Rio de Janeiro's west zone is known for its long stretch of clean sandy beach. Surfers come here to test the waves, while beachgoers relax on the sand or take part in one of the popular beach sports in Rio, footvolley (played with the feet!) and beach volleyball.
Barra will be the site of the Barra Olympic Park. Here spectators can view Olympic competitions in gymnastics, badminton, diving, tennis, swimming, and much more. Visitors can enjoy a beach-style snack anytime. Typically beach vendors sell agua de coco (coconut water), which is drunk straight out of the coconut with a straw. This popular drink is a natural, healthy way to hydrate and generally costs a few reais (the real is Brazil's national currency). Other popular beach food in Brazil can include nuts, açaí na tigela (açaí served in a bowl topped with banana and granola), and kabobs of fried shrimp or grilled cheese.
Besides beach snacks, there's plenty of good food to be found in Barra da Tijuca:
Fratelli, Av. Lúcio Costa, 2916: serving traditional Italian cuisine, known for reliable service and food quality. This sophisticated restaurant has A/C, gluten-free options, and wifi, and is open every day.
Restaurante Siri Frutos do Mar, Praça Euvaldo Lodi, 65: This unassuming chain serves up fresh seafood in large portions. Regulars recommend the frutos do mar (mixed seafood) and risotto.
Bráz Pizzaria, Av. Érico Veríssimo, 46: Considered by some to be the best pizza in Rio, this pizzaria makes a convenient and more casual option for dining in Barra da Tijuca.
Photo credit: Leonardo Shinagawa, CC license via Wikimedia Commons
Where to eat in Copacabana
The Olympics venues in Copacabana include Forte de Copacabana on the water and Lagoa Stadium near Rio's well-known Botanical Garden.
Cafe 18 do Forte, Praça Coronel Eugênio França, 1, Forte de Copacabana: Where to eat near Forte de Copacabana, one of the venues of the Olympics. This cafe serves petiscos (small bites), breakfast, hot and cold drinks, and alcoholic beverages, all with a sea view. Open 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Herr Pfeffer, Rua Conde de Bernadotte, 26: Where to eat near Lagoa Stadium. A popular little restaurant that serves German-style food, including sausages, fondue, and apple puff pastry.
La Bicyclette, Espaço Tom Jobim, Rua Jardim Botânico: Another place to eat near Lagoa Stadium, this French cafe is located at the Botanical Garden. The garden is a perfect place to relax during your stay in Rio, and this cafe makes an easy place to grab a bite while there. Serving baked goods, sandwiches, and pastries.
Where to eat in the Maracanã area
This area of Rio de Janeiro is home to the famous Maracanã Stadium. This huge stadium is the site of some of Brazil's most important soccer matches and will be the location of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The area also includes two other Olympic Game venues, the Sambadrome and Olympic Stadium.
Where to eat near Maracanã:
Motinha Bar, R. Prof. Euríco Rabêlo, 105. This unassuming bar/lanchonete right next to the stadium is a good place to pop in for a beer or juice and a snack. Brazilians love their bar snacks, and for good reason--they're cheap and delicious!
Restaurante da Vinci, Rua São Francisco Xavier, 210: Located very close to the stadium, this buffet restaurant is a convenient option for travelers. Expect a lot of choices, including Italian and Brazilian fare, at a reasonable price.
Where to eat near the Sambadrome, home to the archery and end of marathon events:
Restaurante Centro do Libano, R. Sr. dos Passos, 231: A Lebanese restaurant with a history of more than 60 years.
Santo Scenarium, R. do Lavradio, 36: A rustic restaurant in a renovated mansion serving traditional Brazilian dishes along with Brazilian drinks like caipirinhas. There is live Brazilian music at night.