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Practical A to Z

Eating out

The hot climate is conducive to outdoor dining, preferably on a terrace facing the sea. Lunch, particularly at weekends, is an important meal for Brazilians, but the bars, which serve food and drink, provide a cheaper alternative.

In most establishments, service is included in the bill and tipping is not compulsory.

Cafés and bakeries

Rio de Janeiro has always had a thriving bakery industry, in the style of Portuguese bakeries that sell bread, rolls, cakes and pastries and there is no shortage of bakeries in the town.

Cafés, in the European sense of the word, are a more recent phenomenon in Rio, with the exception of the famous Confeitaria Colombo. They are particularly busy on Sunday mornings, especially at Ipanema.

Churrascarias (steakhouses)

Roast meat is a speciality of southern Brazil that has also been adopted by Rio. It was in Rio for example that the national Porcão chain was founded in 1975 (www.porcao.com.br).

Restaurant by the kilo

This inexpensive formula, which involves paying for your food per kilo, is particularly popular in Rio.


Rio de Janeiro has large shopping malls, popular with the Cariocas on rainy days, and retail chains, particularly along the high streets of the South Zone. The town centre SAARA is home to a popular shopping district. The large museums also have a shop.

Shopping districts

In the centre, SAARA and the Alfândega and Senhor dos Passos streets, as well as those nearby, are very like a giant bazaar and ideal to shop for cheap, colourful and amusing knickknacks and souvenirs, while the Lapa district is home to antique dealers.

The main street of Copacabana, Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, is a long retail strip home to a wide variety of shops with an eclectic mixture of traditional and medium budget shops as well as street hawkers; there is also a sprinkling of shops selling beach fashion.

In the same vein but more upmarket is Visconde de Pirajá Street in Ipanema. The luxury brands, such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton are on Garcia D’Ávila and Nascimento Silva streets.

The retailers on Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva at Leblon are similar to those of Ipanema.

Opening hours

Shops – Most are open Monday-Friday from 9am to 7pm and on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

Shopping malls – Monday to Saturday 10am-10pm. The biggest malls are also open on Sundays from 3-9pm.

Supermarkets – Monday to Saturday 8m-10pm; some are open on Sundays and a few are also open 24 hours a day.

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