Samba, beer, and soccer:

the Rio de Janeiro spirit by Martinho da Vila

Eduardo do Valle

Daryan Dornelles, Wikimediacommons Diego Baravelli, Getty Images, Angelo Dal Bó

Samba musician and writer Martinho da Vila reveals his itinerary in the Rio de Janeiro capital, which has inspired  many of his songs and books


Martinho da Vila is a quintessential Rio native: born in the municipality of Duas Barras, the singer moved to the Wonderful City at the age of 4. Ever since, he has become famous in Vila Isabel, the neighborhood of such poets as Noel Rosa, João de Barro, and Almirante. In his 50-year-plus career, he has recorded 50 albums winning three Latin Grammy Awards. As a writer, he has published 15 books, including children’s books and chronicles, like his most recent work, Conversas Cariocas (2016) – a collection of almost 100 texts about music, poetry and, of course, Rio de Janeiro.



Going samba

“If you’re in Rio and would like to samba, the best place is Lapa. You’ll find music there from Sunday to Sunday, in addition to concerts at such venues as Circo Voador.” Popular addresses include the Bar da Boa and Paiol 08, which is across from the Lapa Arches, a postcard image in the region.

Circo Voador - Rua dos Arcos - Lapa • Bar da Boa - Rua Tenente Landy, 101 - Lapa de Baixo • Paiol 08 - Rua dos Arcos, 24 - Lapa


Barra da Tijuca

“I’ve been living in Barra da Tijuca for 10 years now, and I’d recommend taking a boat to Ilha da Gigoia, a place filled with beaches and restaurants.” Among the options are the seafood at Restaurante Laguna and the artisan burgers at Gigoia Bistrô.

Restaurante Laguna - Ilha da Gigoia, 34 • Gigoia Bistrô - Rua Doutor Sebastião de Aquino



Country atmosphere

“The neighborhood of Vila Isabel looks like a small town: everyone knows each other! Boulevard 28 de Setembro is home to such restaurants as Capelinha, which has great pizza options, and Petisco da Vila, which is currently closed but planned to  reopen nearby.”

Restaurante Capelinha – Boulevard 28 de Setembro, 321 - Vila Isabel


Cold beer

“I like the democratic atmosphere of dive bars. On the other hand, the more elegant,restaurant at Quinta da Boa Vista, has one of the best draft beers I’ve ever tried.” Installed in an old imperial residence, Quinta is home to a museum, a zoo, and a restaurant where the waitstaff wear colonial clothes.

Quinta da Boa Vista - Avenida Pedro II




“Copacabana is a symbol of Rio as well as of Brazil: on one side, Leme and its wonderful beaches; on the other, the Copacabana Fort, home to the Historical Museum of the Army.” In his chronicle “Copacabana… Que beleza!,” Martinho recommends other locations there: “When it comes to food, Mariu’s is the best churrascaria, and La Fiorentina is the most popular restaurant.”

Copacabana Fort - Praça Coronel Eugênio Franco, 1, Posto 6 • Mariu’s Degustare - Avenida Atlântica, 290 • La Fiorentina - Avenida Atlântica, 458 A