Travel Intel: Rio de Janeiro

Popular and off-the-beaten-path travel tips to make your visit unique and memorable. 

EAT: Bar do Beto R. Farme de Amoedo 51 Ipanema. Elegant, decently priced restaurant specializing in steaks and seafood. Hard to miss a good meal here with many entrées serving two people. Exceptional service.

Prawns with saffron rice.

STAY: Marina Palace, Av Delfim Moreira 630 Leblon. In the New Year’s holiday season when rooms were still available at hotels, Marina Palace was sold out. Why? Other than its prime beachfront location in swanky Leblon, major kudos go to the familiar faces of the sometimes decade-long staff that has become family to its returning guests.

Rooftop at the Marina Palace.

EXPERIENCE: Samba at Salgueiro Rua Silva Téles, 104  If you can’t make it to Carnaval or would rather avoid the chaos, here’s your chance to dance along at the rehearsals held every week.  Go on a Thursday when the event takes place outdoors and it’s cooler and free!

The “Queen” of Salgueiro rehearsing.

DRINK: Riba Leblon Beach Casual yet chic on-the-beach bar and restaurant where you can watch the beautiful people and views while relishing delicious shrimp pastels and passionfruit caipirinhas. This is a new, popular spot between Leblon and Ipanema so come early or be prepared to wait a little.

Riba on the beach.

DISCOVER: Sub-Astor Avenida Vieira Souto 110 Because it’s a temple to mixology and so well hidden in the recesses of the popular Bar Astor, that even most locals don’t know it exists. A secret door opens up to an intimate room from where you can see the others, but they can’t see you.  Here you can enjoy creative cocktails by a team headed by Plínio Joaquim.

Plínio Joaquim presents his creations.

— Ghalib Dhalla