Sucos Bars (Juice Bars), due to the wide variety of fruit grown in the country and because of the hot tropical climate, have become fantastically popular in Rio de Janeiro and in other parts of Brazil. It's hard to beat having ice cold fresh squeezed or blended fruit juice on a hot day.
Sucos are most often served as straight juice, or sparkling mineral water is added to heavier fruits such as melon. Most
Sucos Bars offer 40 or more varieties of fruit. Two or more juices can be mixed together in just about any combination,
and it's not unusual for customers to ask for mixed juices of 4 or more varieties. Every Carioca seems to have his or her favorite mix.
Also popular with the fitness and beach crowd are supplements added to juices to promote health and energy. You may see these supplements on the menus listed as "acompanhamento para sucos". For example "Ginseng +1.50", means you add R$1.50 to the price of your chosen Sucos to have ginseng blended with it. Other popular supplements include Gengibre (ginger), Clorofila (wheat grass), Cha verde (green tea), Guarana (Brazilian caffeine berry), Mel (honey), Amendoim (peanuts), and protein.
Vitaminas are fruits such banana or orange blended with milk, honey, granola, and sometimes yogurt. Vitaminas are very popular for breakfast.
Açaí(Ah-sai-eeh) has become one of the most requested drinks at these fast food restaurants, as it's loaded with vitamins and gives a high energy boost. It's made from an Amazon palm fruit and is dark purple in color. Due to Açaí's strong flavor, honey or sugar is most often added to sweeten it. Açaí juice can also be supplemented and blended with cashews, banana, granola, and rice crispies.
Note that Sucos in Rio are generally made with loads of sugar. If you prefer a less sweet drink, tell the server "pouco açucar" (Poko Ah-soo-ker). If you would like the drink without any sweetner at all, tell the server "sem açucar" (Seng Ah-soo-ker).
To have a Sucos while in Rio de Janeiro, is both a tourist and a Carioca experience. Try just one and you will be hooked!
Our Favorite Sucos Bars
Polis Sucos $
Location: Rua Maria Quitéria, 70, loja A, Ipanema, Tel 247-2518. Sucos R$3.50 - $R4.00 each.
This is the most popular Sucos Bar in Ipanema and is always busy. Polis Sucos offers fresh juice blends that vary with the seasons. Try the "Tuti Fruiti" which blends 10 types of fruit. Cariocas swear that the "hangover sucos", which blends melon, apple, and watermelon, will have you feeling normal again after a night of heavy partying.
The sandwiches and Pao de Queijo (small cheese bread balls) are also quite good at this Sucos Bar.
Insider's Tip - Polis Sucos sits on a corner facing the Catholic Church Nossa Senhora da Paz,(Our Lady of Peace) and is adjacent to a wonderful city park of the same name. Buy your Sucos and sandwich, then walk across the street to the park for a peaceful lunch.
Horti Fruti $
Location: Rua Dias da Rocha, 45, Copacabana, Tel. 2547-0795. R$1.00 - R$3.50
The food critics in Brazil always rate Horti Fruiti delicatessen chain as having one of the best Sucos Bars in the city, as they keep it simple by offering mostly delicious fresh juices rather than fancy blends. Horti Fruti also sells vegetables, fruit, nuts, and deli foods. Dine in at their lanchonete (snack bar).
The most popular drinks are coconut and orange juice. Horti Fruiti advertises daily specials for reduced prices.
Big Polis $
Locations: Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva, 505, Leblon, Tel 2259-2597; & Ave. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, 695, Copacabana, Tel 2255-8000. R$3.00 - R$5.50
Big Polis is one of the oldest running Sucos Bars in Leblon, established more than 25 years ago. They are well known for their Açaí juice and the Passion Fruit Blend (Maracujá, pronounced "mar-ah-coo-jah")). Big Polis also serves an excellent steak and cheese sandwich.
Natural e Sabor $
Location: Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 611, loja D, Ipanema, Tel 2239-4148. R$3.50 - R$5.00
Natural e Sabor (Natural and Flavorful) is small place with a stand up counter and a few stools on a busy shopping and commercial street in Ipanema. As far as Sucos Bars go, it's not much to look at, but it has a loyal following for breakfast and lunch.
What draws patrons here for breakfast are the wide varieties of Vitaminas, blended fruits with milk and sugar, that provides a hearty drink to start the day or before your head to the beach. Natural e Sabor also makes decent hamburgers to go with their sucos.
Big Nectar $
Location: Rua Teixeira de Melo, 34, loja A, Ipanema, Tel 2522-3949; and in Copacabana.
Big Nectar is one of the few Sucos Bars in Brazil that's open 24 hours a day, and it draws the partiers who are looking for a "pick me up" before they hit the next club or bar. It's near the city park "General Osorio", an area well known for late night eating and drinking.
Big Nectar is famous for blending their juices with Guarana, the very popular Brazilian caffeine like berry, that will give you a quick energy boost. They advertise "Bombas" (bombs) that blend exotic tangy fruits with guarana.
Insider's Tip - The famous arts & crafts Ipanema Hippie Fair is held every Sunday in the park across the street from Big Nectar. Take a break from the crowds and the heat to step across the street for an ice cold Sucos.
Bibi Sucos $
Location: Avenida Olegário Maciel, 440, lojas A e B, Barra, Tel 2493-1993; and in Jardim Botanico.
Bibi Sucos also has locations in Copacabana and Leblon. They offer a large selection of Sucos, Açaí juice and blends, as well as Vitaminas. It's one of the Sucos Bars that has a larger menu of sandwiches and burgers.