Gula Gula (Rua Henrique Dumont 57, Ipanema, tel. 21/2259-3084, www.gulagula.com.br , noon–midnight Sun.–Thurs., noon–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., R$15–25) is one of the best, least expensive, and typically Carioca eateries in town. The laid-back, casual vibe and simple, no-nonsense but appetizing quiches, salads, pastas, and grilled meats have proved to be a winning formula, spawning 12 restaurants throughout the Centro and Zona Sul. The most attractive is this Ipanema  location, which is situated in an spacious two-story house replete with art deco fixtures and furnishings.
A mere block from Ipanema beach , Delírio Tropical (Rua Gárcia d’Ávila 48, Ipanema, www.deliriotropical.com.br , tel. 21/3208-2977, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., R$12–17) is a great place for a healthy meal after soaking up the sun. Choose from an array of colorful and unusual salads along with hot daily specials, then take a seat in the upstairs dining area, which is tropically accessorized with hanging ferns and climbing vines. The glass walls afford a tree-house like view of the comings and goings of beach bums below.
In the heart of Leblon , Fellini (Rua General Urquiza 101, Leblon, tel. 21/2511-3600, www.fellini.com.br , R$20–30) offers one of Rio ’s most extensive and refined per kilo self-service buffets. There’s no need to splurge at a five-star restaurant when you can savor the likes of foie gras ravioli, honey-lacquered duck, lobster, escargots, and even caviar. Aside from more mundane (but no less delicious) options, there are dishes for vegetarians and diabetics. On weekends, avoid prime time or you’ll have to stand in line.
For years Giuseppe Grill (Av. Bartolomeu Mitre, Leblon, tel. 21/2249-3055, noon–4 p.m. and 7 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Thurs., noon– 1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun., R$30–40) was the carefully guarded secret of meat-loving business execs who worked in Centro (the original restaurant is at Rua Sete de Setembro 65, tel. 21/2509-7215). But when, in 2007, a more upscale version opened in Leblon, the rest of the city suddenly discovered the succulent joys of some of the finest cuts of beef this side of the Pampas. All meats—red meat abstainers can opt for chicken or fish—are slowly grilled, roasted, or barbecued over charcoal and served with caseiro (home-cooking) style garnishes such as cream of spinach, potato soufflé, and farofa with raisins. A special prix fixe menu offers an entrée, main course, and dessert for R$49. The impressive wine cellar boasts over 450 labels.