Cafés and Snacks
Confeitaria Colombo (Rua Gonçalves Dias 32, Centro, tel. 21/2232-2300, www.confeitariacolombo.com.br, Mon.–Sat.) is an exceptionally elegant belle epoque café and one of the few vestiges of how grand life must have been if you were an aristocrat in turn-of-the-20th-century Rio. Stepping off the gritty narrow street and into the dazzling interior provides a living definition of the word “contrast.”
The interior—outfitted with French stained glass, Portuguese azulejos, and immense Belgian mirrors with jacaranda frames—resonates with Old World charm. More than a century later, Colombo is still a Rio institution: While working Cariocas cluster around the bar chasing pastries with cafezinhos, slack-jawed tourists can take chá da tarde (high tea) in the salon or indulge in the Saturday afternoon feijoada, accompanied by live samba and choro.
Ideally located in the foyer of the Centro do Comércio do Café (the 100-year-old regulating body of Brazil’s prize crop) Rubro Café (Rua da Quitanda 191, Centro, tel. 21/2516-0610, www.rubrocafe.com.br, 7:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) is where the people who really know about coffee go to get their caffeine fix. More than 20 gourmet coffee drinks are served in this airy, modern space, as well as breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Rubro is the name of the delicious house blend, which you can also buy to take home with you.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition