Brazilian steakhouses, called ‘churrascaria’ restaurants, are at their finest in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Rio isn't just a city that likes its beaches, world class luxury and wild nightlife – it is also a city that heartily enjoys its succulent red meat. The steakhouses in Rio provide hungry locals with what they desire and for the meat-eating visitors to the city, they are sure to learn a thing or two about fine preparation of beef. For those looking to eat at the best of the best of the best churrascaria restaurants in Rio, here are a few good places to start.
Porcao, set along the beach of Ipanema in one of Rio's most stylish neighbourhoods, is one of the newer steakhouses in the city – but it is already gathering quite the reputation as one of the best. Porcao translates into "Big Pig" and like its name suggests, it doesn't limit itself to just beef. In addition to cooking up the best cuts of beef, they also prepare and grill other meats in the same way. Along with their extensive salad bar and buffet table that hosts a wide variety of Brazilian dishes, cheeses and mushrooms, there is plenty of variety at Porcao aside from ounces upon ounces of juicy grilled meats. Of course, as with any good steakhouse, Porcao has an extensive wine collection to pair with its meat. This becomes apparent even when first entering the restaurant, as they have their bottles of wine beautifully displayed in their glass wine cellar. Between the quality of service and the quality of the food, it is easy to see why this newcomer churrascaria is becoming an institution among the foodies of Rio de Janeiro.
Fogo de Chao
The Fogo de Chao churrascaria spread through the various cities of Brazil, from Salvador to Sao Paulo, before making its way to Rio de Janeiro. This means it is quality tested by Brazilians across the country. The chefs at Fogo de Chao specialize in grilling 15 different cuts of meat the way that visitors would find it in the southern city of Porto Alegrew in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, or as it is otherwise known, ‘the cowboy state’. When guests arrive, they are given a two-sided disk that they can flip from red to green when they want more food. The meat is brought fresh from the grill and carved at the table. This way, guests can eat their fill and eat at their own pace. With the restaurant’s Rio setting next to Sugar Loaf Mountain, it makes the experience all the more memorable.
Marius Degustare is the top-end luxury steakhouse in Rio de Janeiro, where the most important people of the city go when they crave grilled meat. That being said, they are only luxurious in their decor and the quality of food presented. At heart, Marius Degustare is still the all-you-can-eat meat buffet that has made churrascarias well-loved in Brazil. Aside from their specialty grilled meats, Marius Degustare also offers up grilled fish and other seafood, including oysters and lobsters. However, there is one item on their menu that sets this luxury steakhouse apart from all the others in the city. Their signature item is Japanese wagyu or, as it is more commonly known, Kobe beef. Kobe beef is regarded as some of the best beef in the world due to the perfect marbling and tenderness.
With two locations in the hip districts of Ipanema and Copacabana in Rio, Carretao is the favourite steakhouse of tourists and locals alike. Carretao, translating into "Wagon Wheel", is beloved for its fantastic service, but more so due to its great value. Meat is getting outrageously expensive, after all, so one can't turn their nose up at a good bargain. For those planning to eat in Rio's steakhouses more than once during their time in the city, Carretao is a tasty option that will also not rob your wallet – although with affordability comes some sacrifices. They don’t cut out the quality of meat or the flavour, but rather their buffet options, and the selection of meat cuts are not as extensive as some of the more expensive places. However, diners only have room for so many different foods in one dinner, so the lack of hundreds of different options is not exactly a real loss.
Whereas Carretao has a lack of choice in meat cuts and buffet options, Marius Carnes in the Copacabana district is overwhelmed with them. If visitors have ever imagined what it might be like to feast at a Roman Emperor's banquet, Marius Carnes is as close as they are likely to get. The variety of meat cuts and dishes at the buffet is unmatched by any steakhouse in Rio. However, this variety also makes it one of the most expensive steakhouses in the city as well. For those looking for even further variety, the Marius Carnes also has a sister restaurant, the Marius Crustaceos, a few doors down, that specializes in seafood with similar awe-inspiring variety and flair. Although the price may be off-putting, the overall quality and this churrascaria's prime location on Avenida Atlantica across from the beach make for an unparalleled dining experience.