Andrew Zimmern’s Favorite Places to Eat in Rio
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Andrew Zimmern’s Favorite Places to Eat in Rio

Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Places to Eat in Rio
Courtesy of Travel Channel

Andrew Zimmern is best known for traveling the globe in search of the world’s most bizarre dishes. But when he’s not tasting horse rib or rectum sausage, Zimmern enjoys speaking with locals and diving head-first into a destination's cuisine. In fact, it’s this mentality that has shaped his new show, Driven By Food, which premiers on the Travel Channel on August 16.

The show, which lets cab drivers, shikara drivers, and gondoliers dictate Andrew’s itinerary, gives viewers access to neighborhoods and restaurants they’ve likely never heard of before.

The first episode, which airs during the Olympics, conveniently takes place in Rio. We sat down to talk about the experience and, more importantly, places he recommends visitors check out during the Games. Here are his picks:

Cadeg Market

“This market is filled with multiple restaurants as well as hundreds of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, flowers, and spices. It really is an incredible place. Some restaurants even have live music.”

Espírito Santa

Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Places to Eat in Rio

Courtesy of Espirito Santa

“One of my favorite restaurants is Natasha Fink’s Espírito Santa. She does a lot with vegetarian cuisine and also incorporates a lot of Amazonian foods like a variety of fresh water fish. Not to mention it’s housed in a 19th-century mansion.”

Nova Capela

“Nova Capela is in Lapa, Rio’s party neighborhood, and I’ve never been to city and not stopped in. It’s not because the food is the best; it’s because it’s a 110-year-old restaurant serving some really good food until dawn. The experience is incredible at four in the morning.”

Estrela do Sul

“Churrascarias are great, and there are a ton of famous ones in the city. The one that I like the best is Estrela do Sul. It’s 70 years-old and almost looks as if you’re walking into a Braniff Airlines terminal from the 1950s. The churrasco is some of the best in town, and the extras like the salad bar are just unbelievable”

Confeitaria Colombo

Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Places to Eat in Rio
Getty Images/AWL Images RM

“Confeitaria Colombo is a great place to stop for a mid-afternoon cup of coffee and egg tart. It’s right in the center of town.”

Angu do Gomes

“One of my favorite foods is called angu. It’s a cornmeal, polenta-like dish that is topped with braised meat or seafood. You can find it in the Pedro del Sal area of town, which is a really lively place for Samba dancing. I’ll go there and go to this restaurant that has been open since the '50s called Angu do Gomes. I love it.”

Olympe

Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Places to Eat in Rio

Courtesy of Olympe

“Claude Troisgros’ Olympe is on everyone’s best restaurants in Latin America list. The food is delicious and it’s really cool to see the French and Brazilian hybridized, elastic vibe go down.”

Boteco Belmonte

“When I’m over in Copacabana, I always go to Boteca Belmonte. The place is packed and the service is quick. The bean soup with smoked sausage and chicharrón is out of control. There’s also a nice braised octopus and olive oil dish that I love.”

Bira de Guaratiba

“If you want to get outside of the city a little bit, and I’m talking like 10-15 minutes outside the city, just go south and west to Prainha Beach. There’s a place there called Bira de Guaratiba. It has the perfect after-beach vibe and serves cold beer and plenty of fresh fish stewed in coconut milk. People visiting Rio should definitely go check it out.”

Bonus Travel Tip

“If you truly want an authentic dining experience while traveling, don’t talk to the concierge at the hotel, talk to the guy that took the keys to your car. Most employees of a hotel want you to experience a cookie-cutter version of their city. They recommend places that are popular and typically expensive. Once on a trip to Cartagena, my wife and I went to a little fritanga down the street from our hotel that the person parking my car said he frequented. It was great. We ended up going back at least five times during that trip.”

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