The chefs at Cafe Brazil use ingredients such as coconut milk, chili oil, and lime to flavor fresh seafood and cuts of meat, creating dishes that transport diners' taste buds to the far-off continent of South America. But their menu isn't solely Brazilian—they describe it instead as "Novo Latino," drawing upon the cuisines of Colombia, Argentina, and Chile, as well as more-far flung influences such as Spain, Italy, and France. This makes for a varied menu; the seafood Copacabana, for example, includes shrimp, scallops, and coconut milk accented with Italian parsley and parmesan cheese. Keeping it more traditional, the feijoada completa—Brazil's national dish—consists of a black-bean stew with smoked meats. More than 75 varieties of rum await visitors in the brightly tiled Rum Room, where the alcohol can be sipped neat or mixed into a mojito. Non-rum options abound as well, including the caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail made with cachaça liquor and lime. The restaurant offers complimentary tapas in the Rum Room, giving drinkers something to nibble on while toasting. For those opting to eat in the dining room, reservations are recommended, as the casual, vibrantly colored space can get quite crowded.
The main dining room at Vita is a chic, lofty space that could easily pass for an art gallery if it weren't for the tables, chairs, and neatly folded white napkins. Collections from local artists are displayed on the walls and available for purchase, but most people are here to order up cocktails and modern American food—not paintings. The menu is divided into shareable small plates, such as upscale sliders, calamari, and housemade mozzarella with olive bread, and larger entrees that include steaks, fish, and vegetarian risotto. Weekend brunches offer benedicts and sandwiches, as well as mimosas, bloody marys, and bellinis by the glass and carafe. Vita's rooftop terrace is well known for its open-air dining and martinis garnished with moonbeams. The restaurant hosts live music Friday and Saturday evenings, and in the summer, musicians take to the upper deck in a sunset concert series.
Westerkamps Steakhouse and Meat Market was established two decades ago, and over that time, a single thread has weaved one year into the next: quality. Instead of outsourcing slicing duties to contract garden shears, Westerkamps retains a butcher to carve fresh-cut meats daily. The family-owned business still operates out of its original building, which at one time featured a grocery store that the family has since been converted into a restaurant. Their breakfast and lunch menus feature homemade dishes such as the green chili that the Denver Westword named one of the top ten in the city.
With nods from USA Today, CBS News, and The Washington Post, Rodizio Grill has made a name for itself as an authentic Brazilian charrascuria—a South American–style rotisserie. Founded by São Paolo–born Ivan Utrera, the cuisine comprises of select cuts of meat, which are slow-roasted on a spit and then skewered. It also features fish, grilled pineapple, and unlimited trips to an award-winning salad bar with over 40 items. Gauchos—also known as Brazilian cowboys—bustle about the restaurant, bringing unlimited slices of tender meat to diners who can also grab fresh vegetables and homemade salads at the gourmet salad bar, as well as enjoy Brazilian appetizers served directly to the table.
At Fogo de Chao, a behemoth Brazilian churrascaria in the heart of LoDo, skewer-wielding, Gaucho-costumed servers in puffy black pants saunter from table to table, tempting carnivores with more than a dozen different meats – think filet mignon, top sirloin, sausage, salted ribeye and mint-marinated lamb – that are carved tableside and plucked off the skewers with tiny tongs. And the meat just keeps on coming and coming until you flip your coaster to red, which indicates that your belly needs a break from the gluttony. Luckily, there’s an impressive salad bar, too – but like the meat parade, it’s hardly pedestrian: imported cheeses, breads, hearts of palm and marinated vegetables, including artichokes, stock the display, which is replenished long before anything has vanished. With its comfortable seating and elegant touches, Fogo de Chao is perfect for a special occasion, or just a meat-frenzied evening with friends.