Japanese dining is popular in Brazil's southern states, with large populations of Japanese immigrants. While São Paulo is the undisputed sushi capital of the country, Mee in Copacabana is one of a few places in Rio where the raw seafood is top-notch. Chef Kazuo Harada calls the menu pan-Asian, but his sashimi and nigiri are highlights. Ave Atlântica, 1702, Copacabana, +55 21 2548 7070, kenhom.com
Squid with green beans, grains and ink at Lasai.
Opened in 2014 by chef Rafa Costa e Silva, who worked for years as Andoni Luis Aduriz's right-hand man at Mugaritz in Spain, this is the best looking and most atmospheric of Rio's high-end restaurants. Tasting menus start with snacks served at the rooftop bar with views of the Christ the Redeemer statue. Try to book at the kitchen counter, the best seats in the house. Rua Conde de Irajá, 191, Botafogo, +55 21 3449 1834,lasai.com.br
Thomas Troisgros has been gradually assuming management of the family restaurant as his father, Claude, son of French culinary pioneer Pierre Troisgros, devotes more time to hosting TV cooking shows. His daring combinations include indigenous ingredients in dishes such as fresh heart of palm with corn ice-cream and açaí-crusted lamb with manioc (cassava) gnocchi. Rua Custódio Serrão, 62, Lagoa, +55 21 2539 4542, olympe.com.br
Oro's sandwich cervantes.
This new incarnation of chef Felipe Bronze's celebrated restaurant opened in April in the upscale Leblon neighbourhood. He's known for his eye-catching platings - steamed-bun sandwiches perched atop a tree branch, for example. He has shifted the focus of his cooking in his new premises to fire; every dish has an element of grill or smoke, and a cast-iron wood oven and yakitori grill are in full view of the dining room. Rua General San Martin, 889, Leblon, +55 21 2540 8768
Cariocas are mad about grilled galetos, or young chickens, and they argue as passionately about who serves the best in town as they do about who plays the best football. Galeto Sat's is a favourite, a hole-in-thewall diner where the shabby décor and cramped tables lend the air of just another drinking hole serving cheap food. It's cheap, but the signature galeto is one of the city's best dishes: crisp, golden skin and richly seasoned juicy flesh, with a side of egg farofa, a variation on the typical Brazilian dish of toasted manioc flour. Waiters are fast and knowledgeable, and the vast cachaça selection has won several prizes. Rua Barata Ribeiro, 7D, Copacabana, +55 21 2011 2012
Da Roberta's classic chilli dog.
In an unlikely spot - a street lined with mechanic workshops - the grande dame of Rio's food scene, Roberta Sudbrack, recently opened this sandwich shop in a trailer. Everything is made in its tiny kitchen in full view of diners, who eat while standing on the footpath or perched on a few stools. Sudbrack, the chef-owner of an eponymous fine-dining restaurant in the city, applies the same rigour in training staff across both establishments, and her obsession in sourcing high-quality ingredients from small producers translates into hot dogs and pastrami sandwiches of unmatched quality. Rua Tubira 8/loja A, Leblon, +55 21 22391