Brazilian churrascarias—a kind of Portuguese barbeque joint—have their roots in traditional celebrations of a successful harvest. At modern churrascarias, waiters walk around with skewers or roasted meat, cutting off all-you-can-eat portions of steak, pork, and chicken directly onto your plate. Diners interested in rounding out a years' worth of protein can find endless accompaniments at the salad bar and buffet of Brazilian hot dishes or try traditional drinks such as caipirinha or guarana, a Brazilian soda.
At By Brazil, gauchos whisk skewers of meat from table to table, carving the choicest cuts of top sirloin, passion fruit-marinated pork loin, and barbecued chicken. This all-you-can-eat churrasco feast is part of the restaurant's rich Brazilian tradition, which guests can soak up during lunch and dinner. Most of the staff is fluent in Portuguese too, so they can help diners learn how to properly pronounce certain menu items.
If you're not up for the buffet, you can nibble on appetizers that include Brazilian sandwiches, polenta, or fried yucca, then wash them down with an assortment of exotic beverages. These range from imported Brazilian beers to refreshing caipirinhas, a cocktail made with sugar cane hard liquor, sugar, and lime, that flows freely down the Amazon river.
Skewered cuts of sirloin, brazilian sausage, and pork ribs rotate slowly over a sweltering grill, their savory juices producing a rhythmic hiss as each drop hits the metal. This is churrasco, Xodó Grill's specialty. Once the traditional Brazilian barbecue has roasted to a tender finish, the staff slices off juicy morsels for customers to pair with 12 types of salads and a slate of hot dishes from the colorful buffet. Heaping plates of fried yucca, picanha, and cheese bread await the scales, which customers use to pay by the pound and Lady Justice uses to smuggle extra cuts of steak.
Brazilian Steak House | Award-Winning Churrasco | Hot-Food Buffet | Caipirinha Cocktails | Fixed-Price Menu
How it Works: During this all-you-can-eat fine-dining experience, customers are first seated at tables bedecked with white linens. Then, a server parades out a selection of 16 churrascaria meats, carving off a portion of skewered beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. A two-sided, colored coaster—green for "keep it coming," red for "I'm stuffed"—lets the staff know if you'd like seconds or thirds. Diners can also help themselves to the buffet of salad fixings and side dishes.
Inside Tip: Vegetarians can skip out on the meat and pay a reduced price for the salad and sides buffets. The extensive salad bar is filled with traditional choices as well as tabbouleh and pickled shiitake, and the hot side dishes include a "mashed potato so smooth it could pass for crème fraîche," according to OC Weekly.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaça and lime juice
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Amazon Churrascaria BBQ Buffet (1445 S. Lemon Street, Fullerton), more casual—but no less authentic—spot for Brazilian cuisine according to the Los Angeles Times.
Servers hoisting skewers circulate continuously through Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, pausing tableside to carve mesquite-grilled morsels of brazilian sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken, and sirloin steak. This is hardly an unusual sight at Brazil's famous all-you-can-eat churrascarias?until you see the ocean views backdropping through the 180-degree wall of glass in Samba Brazilian Steakhouse's Redondo dining room. This chic perspective on tropicalia dominates all aspects of the steakhouse. Clusters of mod white couches stand out against glowing orange walls, which contain plenty of nooks for groups to squeeze into. Brunch hours offer a consortium of all-you-can-eat meats such as marinated beef and pork. The main course is complemented by unlimited trips to the salad- and Brazilian side dish-buffet, as well as your choice of mimosas, champagne, and sangria. On Thursday?Saturday, a chorus of smooth-limbed showgirls catalyze the party with a slight assist from the caipirinha bar's more than 20 versions of Brazil's national cocktail.
Tropical fruits and veggies comprise the majority of drinks and dishes at Natureba Juice Bar, a Brazilian juice bar that specializes in blended beverages. In addition to whirling fruits such as guava, coconut, and mango for more than 30 signature smoothies, juice-makers plunder produce stores for custom drinks and açaí bowls. Savory baked specialties include pastries and tapioca crêpes, each stuffed with a choice of cheeses and meats, as well as salads and sandwiches with ingredients such as sundried tomatoes and hearts of palm. The cozy dining room's walls wear neon green and bright orange.