When traveling in Brazil, plan to be in Rio de Janeiro over a weekend for many fun reasons. On Saturday afternoons, head to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa high above Rio with breaktaking views of the City and Guanabara Bay. Here you will find very cool shops with work by artisans, some fun bars, street artists, and good restaurants. An obligatory stop for me each time I am in Rio is Bar do Mineiro in the heart of Santa Teresa. You can get there by taxi though take the name and address with you, take bus 214, or even better by the bondinho street car which actually passes directly in front of the restaurant (get off at the Largo dos Guimarães stop).
One of the best things about Bar do Mineiro is the lively atmosphere. Many artists, residents of Santa Teresa and Rio, and now tourists come together in family style tables to eat, drink, and be merry. Even waiting for a table (usually required) outside the bar and flowing into the street (watch for the bondinho!!) is a kick which is saying a lot for someone who hates to wait for tables in restaurants! Make sure to give your name to Angela for the waiting list. And if owner Diógenes Paixão is around, make a point of saying hello to him. This guy is the real deal and also is an amazing art collector. Make sure to check out art, artisan works, and antiques on the walls of the restaurant.