Rio de Janeiro won't let you down if you enjoy a good steak or barbecue. Try any one of the Brazilian-style rodízios (pronounced row-dee-ziuhs). These steakhouses serve barbecue on an all-you-can-eat basis. Tender cuts of beef, sausage, fish and chicken barbecued to perfection, and served by skilled professionals that seem tireless. The fixed price, from US$12 to US$30, includes a host of side dishes. Get ready for a big meal.
Some rodízios have a self-serve salad counter. Others will give you a menu of options including hot dishes and assorted salads. All you have to do is tick your favorites and soon the waiter will be filling your table with as many as 20 different delicacies. Rice, farofa (scrambled eggs and manioc flour), french fries, buffalo mozzarella, pão de queijo (fresh-baked cheese roll), brown and black beans, lettuce and tomatoes are some of the staples. At better rodízios your options include even Japanese specialties like nira and kani and fried Italian polenta.
To include a good variety of seafood options in the game, try Barra Brasa. Don't be shy and try whatever you want: waiters are used to seeing first-timers flip out, and check each and every item! And make sure to ask for your palmitos, meaty and tender white hearts of palms (pronounced palm-eat-us... suggestive, huh?) like Marius in Leme and Porcão in Ipanema are two of the most traditional choices; Carretao is another good value.
A word to the wise: at some rodízios waiters often insist on serving some fruit cocktail or schnapps. Be forewarned that they are not complimentary - drinks are not included in the prix fixe!
For a lively atmosphere and great food try Plataforma in Leblon - it used to be Tom Jobim's favorite steakhouse. The venue is considered a Rio institution - despite the touristy samba show on the second floor. The Kiki salad as a favorite side dish (vegetarians can order it without the bacon). And for contrast, small, cozy, and sophisticated Esplanada Grill features outstanding steaks à la carte in Ipanema.
Outback, with its Australian accent, has conquered its own little place in Carioca hearts. The delicious T-bone steak and giant Bermuda onions are served in an informal atmosphere. With a couple of ice-cold draft you may leave saying G`day mate to your waiter.For lunch in a cultural environment, Downtown is a good option. At Giuseppe Grill, in addition to dozes of varieties of cachaça, you can enjoy paintings from 36 Brazilian artists. At the Atrium, located at the Paço Imperial, you can go back in time and have your meal in a listed palace, built in 1743. Below is a list of our favorite steakhouses and rodízios in recommended areas of the city.