Churrascaria Restaurants in Rio!
Enjoy All the Steak You Can Eat!
Brazilian steakhouses, called Churrascaria restaurants, are usually best for eating dinner, however they are also great for an extended lunch. Lunch prices are usually lower than dinner, and the variety of meats is only slightly less.
Vegetarians take note! - Although Churrascaria restaurants are a meat lovers delight, offering outstanding cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and sausages, the buffet tables at most of these restaurants include a magnificent variety of veggies, soups, stews, traditional Portuguese and Brazilian hot dishes, cheeses, fruit, and excellent sushi!
Your waiter will usually first bring a number of small side dishes to your table. Unlike other restaurants, these accompaniments are included in the price. Ask for small plate portions in order to save room for the main dishes.
Brazilian steakhouse chefs and waiters take great pride in the quality of their beef and other meats they serve. Most of Brazil's cattle is free range raised, hormone free, and grass fed - giving the beef a lean quality and a very flavorful taste. The raw meats are rolled lightly in sea salt and then quickly seared on a large skewer over a very hot wood or gas fire.
A Brazilian steakhouse "churrascaria" restaurant is usually set up as a "rodizio", where the expert waiters circle the restaurant with long skewers of perfectly grilled meats. Diners are given small cards, green on one side and red on the other. Flip it to the green side and the service is non stop. To take a break - just flip the card to the red side.
Waiters move from table to table using sharp knives to cut off wafer thin slices of meat that has been flame grilled on the outside, and is usually cooked medium to medium rare on the inside.
Other servers whisk away empty (or half empty) dishes from your table and a fresh plate arrives that won't be empty for long. If you can't finish something, just lift your plate to a passing waiter to take it away.
How would you like your steak cooked?
As the waiter brings roasted large cuts of beef to the table, you can't order your steak ahead of time to be cooked rare, medium rare, etc. However, you can ask the waiter to slice a cut to your liking by using the following Portuguese phrases:
- Rare = "mal passado"
- Medium Rare = "a ponto para mal"
- Medium = "a ponto"
- Medium well = "a ponto para bem"
- Well done = "bem passado"
Cuts of Meat at Churrascaria Restaurants
- Alcatra: top sirloin- tender/flavorful
- Baby Beef: tenderloin - expensive!
- Costela de Ripa: beef short ribs
- Costela de Porco: pork ribs
- Cupim: the Brahma steer's hump!
- Contra Filé: lean sirloin steak
- Filé Mignon: Filét Mignon
- Filé com Alho: Filét Mignon with garlic
- Fraldinha: flank steak
- Maminha: rump steak
- Picanha: top prime sirloin - the best!
- Lombo: pork loin
- Lombo com queijo: pork loin infused with cheese
- Linguiça: sausage
- Frango: chicken
- and many more...!
Ourr Favorite Churrascaria Rodizio Restaurants
Porcão $$$ - $$$$
Ipanema; Rua Barão da Torre, 218. Tel: 21 3389 8989
Flamengo; Ave Infante Dom Henrique Tel: 21 2554 8535
Porcão (translates to "Big Pig") is developing a reputation as one of the best Churrascarias in Rio today. The Porcão chain has a number of these Brazilian steakhouses located in the USA as well.
In addition to having a large selection of top cuts of beef and other meats, Churrascarias also offer a gourmet salad bar with an extensive buffet table that usually includes with a wide variety of Brazilian dishes, cheeses, mushrooms, and other Brazilian fare.
Porcão's Flamengo location offers a fantastic view of Pão de Acucar, which makes the cab fare from the beaches worth the trip. The Ipanema location is on a quiet tree lined street in a posh neighborhood and has an amazing glass encased wine cellar with hundreds of bottles for the choosing.
Link to Porcão Restaurant Website
Carretão $$ - $$$
Ipanema; Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 112. Tel: (21) 2267 3965
Copacabana; Rua Siqueira Campos, 23. Tel: (21) 2236 3435
Carretão (translates to "Wagon Wheel") is a favorite Brazilian steakhouse with both Cariocas and tourists alike, because of its great service and value. In fact, Carretão's Ipanema location is our favorite Churrascaria restaurant in Rio!
If you plan to eat at a Churrascaria more than once while you are in Rio, then this place won't break your budget.
Although the variety on the buffet and selection of meat cuts may not be as extensive as the top tier Churrascarias, the quality is very good. After all, how many different foods can you eat in one dinner?
Carretão really gets going after 10pm and often fills up long tables of boisterous locals. It gets quite loud, and despite the crowded atmosphere, you can really enjoy a private dinner and people-watch at the same time.
Link to Carretão Churrascaria Website
Marius Carnes $$$$
Location - Copacabana near Leme, at Avenida Atlantica 290.
Tel: 55 21 2104 9002.
If you can imagine what a Roman Emperor's banquet might be like, then you can envision Marius Carnes. When you come inside and approach the buffet, your jaw will involuntarily drop. The quantity, quality, and variety of food served in this place is unmatched by any other Churrascaria in Rio.
It's probably the most expensive Churrascaria restaurant in Rio and has a prime location on the Avenida Atlantica across from the beach. Well- heeled tourists flock to this restaurant, and if you can afford it, come hungry and you'll be glad you did.
A few doors down, its sister restaurant, Marius Crustaceos, is an "all you can eat" seafood rodizio. It's even more amazing than Marius Carnes and specializes in grilled lobster and other delicacies from the sea.
Link to Marius Churrascaria & Seafood Restaurants Website
Location - Leblon; Rua Adalberto Ferreira 32. Tel: 21 2274 4022.
Plataforma was Tom Jobim's favorite Churrascaria restaurant, and is still enjoyed by tourists and residents of this upscale Leblon neighborhood. The food is great and the waiters are quite professional and attentive.
Tourists often fill up the place as it's included in a popular tour offered by hotels. This tour includes dinner followed by a live Samba show in a large theater downstairs. You can also catch some great Bossa Nova in the adjacent Bar do Tom.
A visit to Plataforma followed by a Samba show and some live Bossa Nova music makes for a wonderful carefree evening in Rio.
Several years ago, Plataforma opened a very successful branch in Manhattan.
Link to Plataforma Churrascaria Restaurant website
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