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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Latin American
Casual restaurant

Tue–Fri 7:00am–9:00pm
Sat 10:00am–10:00pm
Sun 11:00am–9:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


East Austin
408 North Pleasant Valley Rd.
Austin, TX
(512) 828-6617
Rio’s Brazilian Café
A dressed-down, cheerful shack that fits its vibrant Brazilian fare

Rio’s is one of the few places where carnivores, vegetarians, and gluten-intolerant diners can all happily coexist, especially over an order of its famous cheese bread (we like the basil best). These and Rio’s line of delicious malagueta sauces are sold at several specialty stores in town, and at the farmer’s market.

You can either dine in (or outside) the shabby, cute shack painted in Brazil’s national colors of green and yellow, or opt for the drive-thru. Inside is a genuine, playful homage to Rio de Janeiro: paintings of Jesus overlook the omnipresent busty and badonkalicious logo.

There’s a variety of salgadinhos (Brazilian meat pies) filled with chicken, vegetables, cheese, and so on. Some resemble empanadas while others are more like a sliced milanesa; our favorite’s a roulade of tiny shrimp in a panko-crusted, fried doughy pocket. These shrimp are also fantastic on coconut-crusted bruschetta. There’s an alluring take on Lebanese kibbeh (using minced beef, not lamb) with tabbouleh, fresh mint, onions, and garlic. Thick-cut yuca fries aren’t as appealing as yuca bolinho, stuffed with rich and savory roasted pepper and gouda. A traditional soup of collards and sausage is thick and comforting, no matter the season.

Bring a cachaça, and they’ll set you up with caipirinha makings on the cheap; or try the serviceable porter-style Xingu, the “lost beer of the Amazon rainforest.” Or at least, lost no more.

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