Churrascaria e Pizzaria Tropicana: Working Class Churrascaria
A churrascaria is a Brazilian style restaurant where they bring out good quality meat in an all-you-can-eat fashion, and generally it is a fairly expensive place.
There are lower grades of churrascaria which are less expensive, but also have less variety of meat available. The Churrascaria e Pizzaria Tropicana is one such place.
They have a very good salad and dessert bar that is included with the churrascaria meal, and really much of what you will find satisfying is already there. When I visited there were pasta dishes, various salads, several types of very good dessert, and some types of cooked meat available at the buffet bar.
Meat distribution, in churrascaria style, included about 7 or 8 types of meat rather than the dozens and dozens available at a higher priced churrascaria. However, for the price, this place is quite good, and the standard standbys that really are the best of churrascaria food were available.
One of the more eccentric features of this restaurant is that you can watch them cook the meat on the grill as you walk to the salad bar.
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Rafain Churrascaria Show: Rafain Churrascaria Show
This restaurant located in the road that leads to Iguassu Falls (aka Cataratas do Iguacu). It is a brazilian steak house (churrascaria). They also include a buffet with salad, pastas and desserts. Although it is mostly frequented by tourists (they give good tips to guides), some locals do attend there at weekends.
The Rafain Churrascaria is best known for its evening folklore show. At night, they have several shows to entertain their costumers. It is a family environment, even with the Samba show they have (mulatas dancing with tiny bikinis). Nothing very fancy, but it is not a expensive place and it is worth to dinner there if you have some extra time.
Favorite Dish: Their main dish is the brazilian barbecue (churrasco).
Oficina do Sorvete: Mad Scientist Masters of Ice Cream Delights
In Brazilian Portuguese, the word "oficina" is used to describe a shop - not a store type shop, but a shop as in the small shed out in the back yard where you tear equipment apart and repair it, or build new creations out of the various parts.
When a mad scientist creates a new machine to control the world, it is in an Oficina.
That picture of the mad scientists at work in a primitive building way out back behind somewhere creating something that no sane person would try is an image that suits the Oficina de Sorvete.
While this restaurant makes and serves an assortment of sandwiches and other lunch and dinner food items, by far the most famous features are their desserts. There are an assortment of ice cream flavors available (and the flavor selection features all sort of standard issue and unexpected flavors), and you can get normal ice cream cones and other run of the mill treats.
However, by far the most famous of the desserts are the "mad scientist" variety. Exotic ice cream flavors mixed with exotic frutis and topped with more unusual pieces, these amazing creations are capable of blowing your socks off.
In 2002, the company started a line of products for supermarkets and other stores.
Favorite Dish: Does it have ice cream in it?
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Bufalo Branco (White Buffalo): Churrascaria
I knew before coming to South America that the Parana region of Brazil and the neighboring Argentina and Paraguay were well known for its beef. The meat in this region is supposed to be the best in the world.
The famous method of cooking named churrasco, means that the tender cuts of meat are cooked on long steel skewers over a hot grill. At a traditional churrascaria restaurant you are served at your table from the skewer and sliced off by the waiter (called passadors) as much barbequed meat as you like. The waiter holding the skewer is back again and again until you do not stop him.
The Bufalo Branco is probably the best place in the city for churrasco. On the menu there are a lot of fine cuts such as picanha- rump steak, alcatra-sirloin, filet mignon, maminha-a fattier rump steak, and contra filet-entrecôte. Fish, salad bar and several cold dishes are also in the menu.
Favorite Dish: I tried almost all the cuts, and I was not able to select , which one the most delicate !!!!
The only problem I had was the passador came by so frequently that my plate filled up faster than I could clear it.
My biggest discovery, however, was beside the supremely tender and delicious picanha, the caipirinha, the famous Brazilian cocktail which is a blend of cachaca, crushed limes, sugar and ice and is perfect for a dinner on hot summer evenings.
The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. (from noon to 11pm)
It is expensive, but it had a very nice atmosphere (look at the picture), excellent service, and really good food!!
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Rafain: Don't Refrain from this Churascarria
One of the most interesting places to have lunch or dinner in town is at the largest Churrascarria in town, Rafain. It is known primarilly for the dance show that happens most evenings, but we decided to skip the show and go directly for the food during the day. This place was an Atkins lover's dream come true as there were plenty of choices and cuts of freshly grilled meat. Although I did not get a good look at the rest of the tables, since I only eat meat when I go to a churrascarria, I did not notice, but Sarah mentioned there were various salads, vegetables, sushi, and other international cuisine. They also have a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, but I opted for the Guarana Antarctica.
Favorite Dish: Well, I would have to say my favorite was the mixed grill plate that I enjoyed with a little taste of everything. I personally did not like the sausage, but all the cuts of beef were delicious.
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Bufalo Branco: All you can eat meat
I can't believe that we did another one of these all you can eat type of restaurants after visiting Marius in Rio de Janeiro but we were looking for some place other than our hotel to eat at and the desk clerk recommended this place (and it was listed in Lonely Planet)
Favorite Dish: The food wasn't nearly as good as Marius in Rio but it also was a fraction of the cost at R$40 per person for the meal. Unlike Marius, everything except drinks were included in the buffet price, the salad bar and the dessert bar.
Mega Pizza: All you can eat pizza
When our concierge mentioned that there was an all you can eat pizza joint in Foz de Iguacu I thought "I know where we are eating" and I'm pretty sure my husband was thinking that he had died and gone to heaven, in all our travels this was the first one of these we had come across (although we do have pizza buffets in the US) where they come around with trays of pizza and serve you slices, some format as the all you can eat meat places minus the skewers :-)
Our concierge admitted when we came back that he rarely mentions this place to guests, I guess he expects that people staying at a 5* resort in this area want the linen tablecloth treatment but I guess we are scruffy enough looking that he took a chance LOL
Favorite Dish: I'm not even sure how many different kinds of pizza we tried, I passed on some of the more bizarre choices like the ones with corn and tuna but there were plenty of other options plus a few non pizza items like chicken wings and french fries. Follow that with a chocolate dessert pizza and a freezer full of ice cream, all included in the price.
This place was incredibly cheap, R$8.99 for the buffet, for the two of us with drinks and tip was R$26 ($13 US)
Rafain: Beef never to be forgotten
This is a place that has gauged my memory forever. Despite the fact that traditionally Argentina has the aura of having the best beef in the world; it could never match the mouth-caressing, melting-like-butter protein fantasy that Rafain's chefs supplied me with. Till the very end I was doubtful that I was eating beef - the texture was more on the porky side and the aroma, oh the aroma was of a lamb.
But wait, this is not why you are at Rafain's. It is the SHOW that has brought you here, because you have 3 days and you have to maximize them. You will never suspect how the SHOW creator has maximized them for you. Foz is a border town where three frontiers converge and this is reflected in the SHOW by representing the quintessential dances of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. It is true, they went a bit over the top in their quest for the ultimate tickle of the broadest audience – they had Mexican, Bolivian, Chilean, and so on dances which were off topic, considering the location.
After this simultaneous attack on your senses you will need a couple of days for recovery. Head towards Paraguay - chances are, you will recover quickly.
Favorite Dish: The BEEEEF!!!
Rafain Cataratas: Set Up for Tours
This is a restaurant we spent more time at than we had intended! The Rafain Cataratas is a typical 'churrascaria' restaurant specializing in meat cuts sliced up for you as per your requests. It features a very large buffet dining area with a great selection of items to choose from. In addition, at certain times of day the Rafain puts on floor shows featuring various dances of South America. The seating area is huge, cabable of handling up to 1100 people or a maximum group size of 600. The long rows of tables are set up in a high-roofed and spacious area that was quite well presented, considering the size of the place!
Our first experience here was a bit past noon on the day of our mistaken trip to Itaipu Dam and Foz. Once the problem was recognized by the tour group, they dropped us off outside in the parking lot while the group went inside to eat. Our guide said we would have to wait about 10 minutes (which turned into 40 minutes) for a car to come fetch us for a tour of the Argentinian-side of Iguazu Falls in the afternoon. As a result, we never did get lunch that day!
Favorite Dish: The next day, we were back again because this was also the planned lunch stop following completion of the Brazil-side tour of Iguacu Falls! At least we had an English-speaking tour guide who kept us informed of what was happening, so we actually got to eat something this time!
The food was quite good-looking and tasted great as well. I took it relatively easy because this was the first time in 2 days that I actually felt a bit hungry due to some sort of stomach bug I picked up on our last day in Buenos Aires. The buffet cost was only A$11 (US$4) per person with a bit extra for a cold beer. We had a good time sitting and chatting with another Canadian couple we met on the bus. They had been on a cruise from Santiago, Chile around Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands (freezing!) and Uruguay before continuing overland on their homeward leg.
- Family Travel
Hotels restaurant: Don't miss the cheeses
The most waried food here at hotels restaurant,all kinds of cheeses,sweets,tea coffee,fruit juices,cakes,breads and some pork meat next to cheeses which i hated,seems Brazilians think pork looks good next to cheeses,no regards for the people who may not like pork.
Favorite Dish: A nice cheese sandwich with crispy rolls was delicious with my morning coffee.
- Family Travel
Oficina do Sorvete: Per kilo Ice cream buffet
More than 30 ice cream flavors, all made in the house.
You can have a single scoop or have the blast in the per kilo style of ordering..u choose all the flavor u want then u put all the toppings of ur choice, weight everything and voila! U can have the best time of ur life!!!
Favorite Dish: I love the papaya, mellon, and passion fruit ice cream!
Nice fruit salad with vanilla ice cream!!
- Budget Travel
Restaurante Zaragoza: Spanish
This place was just down the street from my hotel, so on my first night in town before I really had my bearings, I decided to stop here and grab a bite to eat. When I arrived and asked to sit outside on the patio, the waiters looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn't care. It was beautiful outside and I was hungry.
Favorite Dish: I ordered a Brazilian wine since after all I was in Brazil. They actually had a pretty good selection of Spanish, Portuguese and Argentine wines too. I personally like red wine, so when I said, "vino tinto, por favor" the waiter corrected my pronunciation. Around here, it sounds more like "teen choe". The wine label said I had ordered a Miolo Selecao, which really wasn't too good (11% alcohol content for a red wine usually doesn't do the trick), but I wasn't going to let that ruin the great atmosphere (you know . . . me and the waiter who thought I was a crazy gringo who couldn't even pronounce a simple word in Portuguese).
I also had a bottle of still water . . . total bill was just under 40 reais (less than 14 bucks US).
For dinner, I ate something on the menu called "A Zaragoza" figuring it must be a specialty of the house. It turned out to be a fresh trout from one of the local rivers grilled and served with rice, vegetables and potatoes. It was great. Just like fresh caught fish cooked over a fire. Yum.
By the way, fish in Portuguese is peixe and trout is truta.
Oficina do Sorvete: I scream for ice cream
I stopped at this ice cream shop on Avenida Jorge Schimmelpfeng because it was hot and the place was packed with locals. There is an air conditioned indoor section, a non-air conditioned indoor section as well as a great patio full of chairs. I wasn't sure what all of the flavors were in Portuguese and no one here spoke any English, so I played it safe and ordered some vanilla and some dulce de leche. Both were good, although my favorite ice cream shop in the world (Vivoli Gelateria in Florence, Italy) still doesn't have anything to worry about.
Barbarela: Fresh, fresh, fresh
The girl at the tourist information office told me about this place and I was definitely grateful for her advice. I sat at the counter and ordered a chicken sandwich served on wheat bread. It was really fresh and great. The highlight of this place, however, will be the juices or sucos. They have a great selection of juices served in their very own little carafe and either with or without milk (in other words, it will either come kind of frothy, but without milk or more like a juice milkshake). I ordered a strawberry and guarani juice which was wonderful!
Tempero da Bahia: Some like it hot
Since I really loved the food in Salvador, I figured I'd try this place to get one last sample of moqueca (a coconut milk, cilantro, dende oil based stew). Yum. If you like your food a little spicy and you enjoy fresh seafood ingredients, you'll definitely dig this place.
Favorite Dish: Try the moqueca de siri (crabmeat stew)
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