The kilo restaurant, Brazil's creative take on buffet dining, is well represented in Rio de Janeiro with options for all budgets. Here are some of the city's best.
Opened in 1982, Celeiro is much more than a kilo restaurant: it's a health food store, a meeting point and a reference in Rio de Janeiro lifestyle. The owners, the Herz sisters, started their business selling carrot croquettes on the beach.
With nearly 50 kinds of salad, plus aromatic quiches, vegetarian dishes and healthy desserts, the Celeiro buffet is one of the most colorful and festive lunch experiences in town.Rua Dias Ferreira 199
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
International travelers discover Fellini in no time: the award-winning restaurant is a best-loved point for an introduction to kilo restaurants and Brazil food.
organic salads, yummy takes on superhealthy foods, such as quinoa, and an array of hot dishes ranging from staples such as lasagna to more elaborate recipes made from veal or codfish are highlights in the constantly renewed menu. The homemade dessert buffet is outstanding.
Rua General Urquiza 104
3. Couve Flor
Located next to the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, CouveFlor ("Cauliflower") was a pioneer in that it brought the kilo restaurant concept outside Rio's central area.
The restaurant occupies a building which once was part of Companhia de Fiação e Tecelagem Carioca, a textile mill which was founded in 1890 and later incorporated by América Fabril (more information about the complex, in Portuguese, at Museu do Horto.org.
Rua Pacheco Leão 724
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
An emphasis on demand-based cooking as lunch hour goes on, so that food doesn't sit long at the buffet, is one of the details that make a difference at Nanquim.
With three locations, all pleasantly designed and decorated, the restaurant serves a changing menu with some favorites making frequent comebacks. Rosemary shiitake and shrimp in white wine and filet mignon with funghi are a few of those attractions.
5. Aipo & Aipim
With several branches (in Copacabana, Ipanema and Centro), the restaurant serves many hits of home style Brazil cooking, such as escondidinho (meat and cassava casserole).
The pie buffet is an attraction in itself, with choices such as walnut or chocolate pie as well as cakes and other sweets.
The restaurant with two branches in Copacabana offers you the choice of food by kilo or all-you-can-eat (liberado). Pick up a white or yellow comanda (bill to be marked by staff with your expenses) respectively.
However, the all-you-can system does not include the barbecue, the Japanese dishes or the desserts which are part of the by-kilo choices.
Desserts include Rio's beloved Sorvete Itália.
Rua Barata Ribeiro 303
Av. N. S. de Copacabana 493
7. Papa Fina
Affordable and clean, with a friendly owner, this neighborhood hangout is a great stop for budget food with a home feel. The hot dishes are the hightlight.
The restaurant expanded according to customers' requests.
8. Plana Grill
The small restaurant on the third (and top) floor of a shopping gallery in Ipanema could easily elude you - I might have missed it if it hadn't been for a friend's tip. Under a new name and new ownership, Plana Grill keeps the tradition of serving affordable food to the working people and shoppers of Ipanema.
One of the best ways to find a kilo restaurant in Brazil is to ask those very same people for tips; who knows where else a new, affordable kilo restaurant could be opening on any given day in Rio.