Brazil has incredible variety when it comes to cuisine. Every region has its own specialties, from delectable freshwater fish from the Amazon and the Pantanal, to the unique African-influenced dishes in Bahia. You'll find European influences in the south (German, Italian) and down-home comfort classics (beans, pork) from Minas Gerais. If you're a foodie, São Paulo, which has 14 Michelin-starred restaurants, should figure high on your itinerary. Rio de Janeiro also has many standout dining rooms.

Essential Food & Drink

Feijoada Rich stew of black beans and pork traditionally served on Saturday or Sunday.

Petiscos (appetizers) The perfect match to a cold cerveja (beer).

Agua de coco (coconut water) Sometimes served straight from the nut.

Sucos (juices) Available in myriad flavors at the corner juice bar.

The Basics

Brazil has plenty of variety when it comes to dining. Reservations aren't necessary for casual places, but are recommended for midrange and top-end restaurants. Reserve several weeks in advance for the award winners.

  • Boteco or Botequim Brazilian-style pub where friends gather over beer, petiscos (appetizers) and traditional Brazilian fare.
  • Churrascaria Restaurant specializing in grilled meats.
  • Lanchonete Snack bar or diner-style eatery for a casual meal.
  • Por kilo restaurante The pay-by-weight restaurant typically charges from R$45 to R$80 per kilogram (though top places can reach R$100). Variety is generally superb, and it's a great spot for vegetarians.

Glossary

Menu Decoder

Menu Basics

almoço ow·mo·so – lunch

arrozhoz – rice

aves a·ves – poultry

azeitezay·te – olive oil

bebida be·bee·da – drink

café da manha ka·fe da ma·nyang – breakfast

carne kar·ne – meat (usually beef)

churrasco shoo·has·ko – barbecue

comida caseira ko·mee·da ka·zay·ra – home-style cooking

comida por kilo ko·mee·da porr kee·lo – pay-by-weight buffet

dendê deng·de – reddish palm oil

entrada eng·tra·da – first course, appetizer

farofa fa·ro·fa – garnish of manioc flour sautéed with butter

feijão fay·zhowng – bean

frutos do mar froo·tos do marr – seafood

grelhadas gre·lya·das – grilled meat or fish

lanche lang·she – hearty, late-afternoon snack

lanchonete lang·sho·ne·te – snack bar

molho mo·lyo – sauce

peixe pay·she – fish

por kilo porr·kee·lo – per kilogram; used for self-serve restaurants

prato pra·to – main course

prato feito pra·to fay·to – literally ‘made plate’; plate of the day; typically, an enormous and cheap meal

pratos típicos pra·tos tee·pee·kos – local dishes

refeição he·fay·sowng – meal

refeição comercial he·fay·sowng ko·merr·syow meal/serving of various dishes (normally comes with enough food for two to share)

rodízio ho·dee·zyo – smorgasbord, usually with lots of meat

sobremesa so·bre·me·za – dessert

Main Dishes

barreado(ba·rre·a·do)a mixture of meats and spices cooked in a sealed clay pot for 24 hours and served with banana and farofa (garnish of manioc flour sautéed with butter); the state dish of Paraná
bobó de camarão(bo·bo de ka·ma·rowng)manioc paste flavored with dried shrimp, coconut milk and cashew nuts
carne de sol(kar·ne de sol)tasty, salted meat, grilled and served with beans, rice and vegetables
casquinha de siri(kas·kee·nya de see·ree)stuffed crab
cozido(ko·zee·do)a meat stew heavy on vegetables
feijoada(fay·zho·a·da)bean-and-meat stew served with rice and orange slices, traditionally eaten for Saturday lunch
feijão tropeiro(fay·zowng troh·peh·ro)beans mixed with toasted manioc flour, crunchy pork rind, sausage, eggs, kale, garlic and onions
moqueca(mo·ke·ka)Bahian fish stew cooked in a clay pot with dendê (palm) oil, coconut milk and spicy peppers
pato no tucupí(pa·to no too·koo·pee)roast duck flavored with garlic, juice of the manioc plant and jambú leaves; a favorite in Pará
picanha(pee·kah-nya)Brazil’s favorite cut of beef comes from the cow’s rump
pirarucu ao forno(pee·ra·oo·koo ow forr·no)delicious Amazonian fish, oven cooked with lemon and other seasonings
tutu á mineira(too·too a mee·nay·ra)savory black-bean mash typical of Minas Gerais
vatapá(va·ta·pa a)seafood dish of African origins with a thick sauce of manioc paste, coconut and dendê oil

Food Glossary

Fruit & Vegetables

abacate a·ba·ka·te – avocado

abacaxí a·ba·ka·shee – pineapple

açaí a·sa·ee – gritty, deep-purple forest berry

acerola a·se·ro·la – acidic, cherry-flavored fruit; a megasource of vitamin C

alface ow·fa·se – lettuce

alho a·lyo – garlic

batata ba·ta·ta – potato

beterraba be·te·ha·ba – beetroot

caju ka·zhoo – fruit of the cashew plant

carambola ka·rang·bo·la – starfruit

cenoura se·no·ra – carrot

cupuaçu koo·poo·a·soo – acidic, slightly pearlike fruit

fruta do conde froo·ta do kong·de – sugar-apple fruit

goiaba go·ya·ba – guava

graviola gra·vee·la – custard apple

jaca zha·ka – jackfruit

laranja la·rang·zha – orange

limão lee·mowng – lime or lemon

maçã ma·sang – apple

mamão ma·mowng – papaya

mandioca mang·dee·o·ka – manioc, cassava (also known as aipim)

manga mang·ga – mango

maracujá ma·ra·koo·zha – passion fruit

melancia me·lang·see·a – watermelon

melão me·lowng – honeydew melon

morango mo·rang·go – strawberry

uva oo·va – grape

Snacks

acarajé a·ka·ra·zhe – Bahian fritters made of brown beans and dried shrimp fried in dendê (palm) oil

empadão eng·pa·downg – a tasty pie, typical of Goiás, made from meat, vegetables, olives and eggs

quibe kee·be – cracked wheat stuffed with spiced meat then deep-fried

pão de queijo powng de kay·zho – balls of cheese-stuffed tapioca bread

pastel pas·tel – thin square of dough stuffed with meat, cheese or fish, then fried

Meat, Fish & Dairy

camarão ka·ma·rowng – shrimp

carne kar·ne – meat in general, also beef (also known as bife and carne de vaca)

carneiro karr·nay·ro – lamb

dourado do·ra·do – meaty freshwater fish

frango frang·go – chicken

leite lay·te – milk

ovos o·vos – eggs

porco porr·ko – pork

queijo kay·zho – cheese

requeijão he·kay·zhowng – cream cheese

siri see·ree – crab

tainha tai·nya – a meaty but tender local fish

Dessert

arroz docehoz do·se – rice pudding

bolo bo·lo – cake

brigadeiro bree·ga·day·ro – doce de leite covered with chocolate

cocada ko·ka·da – baked coconut treat

doce de leite do·se de lay·te – creamy milk-and-sugar concoction

goiabada go·ya·ba·da – sweet guava paste

pavé pa·ve – creamy cake

quindim keen·deem – egg-based sweet

sorvete sorr·ve·te – ice cream

Drinks

agua a·gwa – water

aguardente a·gwarr·deng·te – firewater, rotgut; any strong drink, but usually cachaça

batida ba·tee·da – blended drink

cachaça ka·sha·sa – sugarcane spirit

café ka·fe – coffee

caipirinha kai·pee·ree·nya – drink made from cachaça and crushed citrus fruit, such as lemon, orange or maracujá

cerveja serr·ve·zha – beer

chope sho·pe – draft beer

erva maté err·va ma·te – popular tea of southern Brazil

guaraná gwa·ra·na – soft drink made from Amazonian berry

pinga peen·ga – another name for cachaça

refrigerante he·free·zhe·rang·te – soft drink

suco soo·ko – juice

vitamina vee·ta·mee·na – juice with milk