The Foods You Should Skip When Dining At A Brazilian Steakhouse

The typical Brazilian steakhouse menu includes dozens of succulent meat options, a gourmet salad bar with hot and cold foods, and traditional Brazilian side dishes. It can be hard to imagine turning any of it down, but several foods are worth skipping if you want to maximize your experience.

If you strategize properly, you'll be able to sample the most meats at a Brazilian steakhouse and avoid filling up on some of the more robust dishes that aren't unique to the restaurant. Some of the top foods to avoid include items from the salad bar (romaine and standard greens, we're looking at you), filling side dishes (nix the fries and mashed potatoes), and even some cuts of meat (pass on the chicken, ribeye, and filet mignon). 

Opt for a few fresh seasonal veggies to whet your appetite or a couple of acidic offerings from the salad bar to clear your palate between courses. Maybe try a tiny amount of feijoida (traditional Brazilian black bean stew), farofa (a side dish made with toasted cassava flour), or other traditional accompaniments. As tempting as they are, saying no to the pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread puffs) and rich desserts can also be smart for maximum meat consumption.  

Salad bar and side items to skip

Navigating the salad bar at a Brazilian steakhouse can take some finesse. Skip large lettuce salads and too many fresh veggies. The high water content in salad and veggies can be very filling, so you're limiting your eating capacity from the start. Plus, you can enjoy a salad at home anytime, so it's worth skipping when you're paying $50 and up for your Brazilian steakhouse dinner. 

Avoid heavy or oil-laden choices (like olives and candied bacon), pre-mixed options like chicken salads, and charcuterie that you can find at any salad bar. Foods high in oils or fats can contribute to a feeling of fullness, so you'll have less room for pricier meats. 

Brazilian steakhouses also feature an array of self-serve hot foods and soups by the salad bar, but it's best to hold back here as well. Many feature heavier bites that end up being overly filling. When it comes to served sides, you'll see items like french fries, mashed potatoes, fried or caramelized bananas, polenta, or rice dishes, like arroz branco (plain white rice). High-carb or starchy foods rank high when it comes to satiety. Get your french fry fix another time and save room for dishes you can't find anywhere else.

Beef cuts and more to steer clear of at a Brazilian steakhouse

The stars of the show at a Brazilian steakhouse are the delectable meats carved tableside for your eating pleasure. However, not every meat or protein on the menu is as deserving of your stomach space or wallet.

Avoid non-Brazilian specialties, like ribeye and filet mignon. These are some of the best cuts of steak, but because these are carved (and certainly not cooked to order to your preferred doneness), the result may not be as tasty as some of the more traditional Brazilian meats. Chicken is another food to skip; not only is this a common protein that may not match the steakhouse price, but it's not as unique as the other meats on the churrasco menu.

Instead, get the picanha (a very flavorful cut of beef from the cattle's rump), fraldinha (a thin marbled beef cut), or selections like lamb chops, lombo (pork loin), or linguiça (traditional Portuguese sausage) instead. If you're not too full by the time dessert rolls around, consider turning down dense or overly rich desserts on the menu, like pie, chocolate lava cake, cheesecake, or crème brûlée — but things like the papaya cream or Brazilian pudim (a type of flan) won't leave you overly full and aren't options you can get other places.