At night, rua Paschoal Carloso Magno in Santa Teresa, Rio, comes alive. The street is lined with bars and restaurants serving Bohemia beer and local dishes. There are a handful of small stores featuring local artists and handicrafts which all get a steady stream of locals and tourists alike. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, the place is packed and for just reason. Santa Teresa is the most charming and colourful neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. Perched a top of a hill near the centro overlooking the rest of the city,  the area is famous for its winding narrow streets, colourful graffiti and arts community .

Right in the middle of it all is Cafecito, a gorgeous café/bar/restaurant perched on top of the hill overlooking the street. This morning when it opened at 10am it was quite a bit calmer than it had been 12 hours before when we were here for drinks, but no less fascinating. From the street you walk up a flight of stairs covered in colourful tiles. Here you have entered a whole new world. The craziness of the street is below you, and from here you see people and traffic going by and the multi-coloured old houses of Santa Teresa. The café is all outdoors with many unique wooden tables, chairs and benches. The wall is covered in green plants, large brass plates and other art work. There is a sofa chair in one corner that was completely covered in pictures and then plastic to protect it.  A series of colourful umbrellas hang over the main bar area and a beautiful large tree grows straight through the bar and provides shade and protection for the whole place. A door leads into the next building which has been transformed into a beautiful store full of wooden furniture, art work, local wine and multi-coloured clothes.

A small black and white dog walks up from the street and squeezes into a small space between the first floor and a stair case that leads to another terrace higher up for a little nap. My hot chocolate is delivered in a little white cup with a tiny square of rich chocolate brownie on the side (so good). I loved this hot chocolate. It was rich with a hint of hazelnut and cinnamon. I could easily drink one of these everyday, what a shame I can’t.

Verdict: Cafecito is one of my favourite places in the world. It has made it into my top list for not just the hot chocolate but the general feel of the place. I could live here. So sad I don’t live in Rio, as if I did this would be where you would find me, always. Oh and the toasted sandwiches are also some of the best I have ever had. Cafecito, Rua Paschoal Carloso Magno, 121, Santa Teresa