At the turn of the 20th century, the belle epoque structure that houses Colombo Confectionery was Rio's preeminent café, the site of elaborate balls, afternoon teas for upper-class senhoras, and a center of political intrigue and gossip. Enormous jacaranda-framed mirrors from Belgium, stained glass from France, and tiles from Portugal are among the art-nouveau decor's highlights. Diners come to nibble on above-average salgados (savory snacks) and melt-in-the-mouth
sweet treats. The waffles here are a local legend. Savory pastries are stuffed with shrimp and chicken, and vegetarian nosh includes spinach and ricotta quiche and heart-of-palm pie. You can wash it all down with a creamy coffee, a European lager, or a fruity cocktail (served virgin or laced with alcohol). If you want to experience the opulent side of city life, do so the way Rio's high society did a century ago: with chá da tarde, or afternoon tea. R$75 buys a lavish spread for two.