One of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the world, Italian food, is well represented on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Most Italian restaurants in Rio serve 5 to 6 courses but the portions are usually small so you have plenty of room to eat everything. No matter where you are in the city, there is sure to be a primo Italian restaurant around the corner.
One of the best known restaurants in the Leblon region of Rio is Quadrucci. Chef Maia van Velthem offers some exquisite dishes such as white fish and salmon ceviche with comari pepper and cashews. Her desserts are famous throughout the city, especially her pistachio brittle with pineapples and cupuacu tiramisu.
Try Capricciosa for the best pizza in town. The secret is in the ingredients, all imported from Italy. There is no perception of acidity in the sauce and buffalo mozzarella craft produced will make you feel at Napoli. Besides the pizza you can enjoy bruschetta, antipasti and amazing focaccias. Capricciosa is located in Ipanema, Copacabana and Jardim Botânico.
Satyricon is an Italian restaurant that specializes in seafood. The tuna, salmon and white fish carpaccio are exquisite and the traditional dishes such as spaghetti with sea food are tasty. Gero Rio is known for its fresh pasta made daily. The lamb cutlets with farfalle pasta and the ossobuco come highly recommended. Forneria São Sebastião is known for its traditional Paninis as well as their pizzas cooked in a wood stove.
Located in Copacabana Palace, Cipriani Restaurant is a very elegant and sophisticated establishment that features cuisine from Northern Italy. Begin dinner with the fried calamari with tomatoes, beans and potatoes in squid ink. Follow this with seafood lasagna and finish up your meal with their signature tiramisu or a lemon semifreddo. For a more casual dining experience try La Trattoria. This restaurant has been serving up Italian cuisine for over 30 years. The shrimp dishes are the most popular especially the spaghetti with truffle oil and shrimp.
Other Popular Italian Restaurants
Quadrifoglio in Jardim Botânico is considered by some to be the best Italian restaurant in Rio. Try one of their specialty salads or the spinach ravioli. Fratelli restaurant has a location in Leblon and another in Barra da Tijuca. Their breaded salmon with risotto is quite tasty and their pizzas have the freshest ingredients, especially the veggie pizza.