Mouth-watering barbecue restaurants in São Paulo

Luciane Oliveira | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Where can you find the most delicious barbecue places in São Paulo city?

When you think about culinary in Brazil, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous Brazilian barbecue. It is indeed the most popular food in the country. At home, it is very common to have friends and family around a barbecue event. There's no need for a special celebration or a big occasion; any gathering that requires food can end up at a barbecue party. If you are invited to a barbecue, make sure you arrive very hungry because you will probably face a tremendous amount of food. But if not, don’t worry, there are lots of barbecue restaurants in the city to enjoy this Brazilian art of eating meat.

© istock/ribeirorocha

The origin of Brazilian barbecue

The history of “churrasco” (barbecue in Portuguese) started in the southern area of the country. Local cattlemen developed the technique of cooking the meat with only a cover of coarse salt and straight into the fire. Initially, the meat was cooked in a long skewer, on a fire set on the ground. This technique remains strong, but also was adapted to modern barbecue grills. For that reason, you will hear lots of “gaúchos,” -the ones born in “Rio Grande do Sul,” where it all began- call barbecue as “Fogo de chão.” This expression “Fogo de chão” could be translated to "campfire," but in this case, the goal of the fire is only to cook the meat. This famous local expression gave its name to one of the most remarkable places that offer original Brazilian barbecue: “Fogo de Chão.”

"Fogo de Chão": the ultimate barbecue experience 

This restaurant offers a truly “full churrasco experience” through a “rodízio” way. Let me explain how it works: first, there is a well-served salad buffet to start with. Then, at your table, waiters will bring all sorts of meat and local sausages in addition to some local side dishes. You will be able to try different Brazilian cuts, but make sure not to miss the famous “picanha.” Later, the waiters will rotate it (that's the sense of "rodízio") on your table till you tell them or show that you are satisfied. You will understand the meaning of the all-you-can-eat style.

© istock/ MarianVejcik

Barbacoa, traditional meat and a lot more to enjoy

In the same category, and also as good and as famous as “Fogo de Chão,” there is "Barbacoa." This restaurant that was named after the wooden grill made by the Indians in America makes “churrasco” in the traditional way. Despite the historical aspect, the place proposes a welcoming atmosphere. By the way, the old grill is probably the origin of today's barbecue. However, in Barbacoa, there is nothing but high-end Brazilian meat in the best local style. Here you will also have the opportunity to try local cuts also served in a “rodízio” method. Get ready, we are talking about a large variety of meat.

© istock/ Kesu01

If "all-you-can-eat" is not your type of restaurant, consider this: it is a genuinely Brazilian experience, and you can try many sorts of local cuts. And I have to is worth the experience.  Nevertheless, there are lots of excellent "non-rodízio" options to try outstanding Brazilian "churrasco." I will suggest two of my favorite ones, also recognized by experts and the most exigent and knowledgeable foodies.

All the best in Varanda Grill

They state they have “the best meat, the best wine, and the best service.” Well, I have to agree, and I am quite sure you will probably agree too if you try. In this restaurant, instead of the traditional “rodizio,” you will choose the type of meat that matches your taste. Don’t worry if you know nothing about meat; waiters with a lot of expertise will be glad to explain the texture of the meat and its characteristics to ensure a pleasant culinary experience. Another fabulous feature is the Brazilian side dish that Varanda simply masters: the “farofa.” This typical food made with manioc or cornflour enriched with onions, olives, bacon, and egg, is moist, tasty, and a perfect pairing for a Brazilian barbecue.

Go beyond meat quality and be amazed by the place itself

"Figueira Rubaiyat" is a place that is absolutely breathtaking in both ambiance and food quality. What is unique is the fact that the restaurant is located under a centennial fig tree (“Figueira” in Portuguese) which gives it its name. During the day or under the lights of the evening, this restaurant, that became a landmark in the city, will undoubtedly provide extraordinary moments. Here, you can try not only the outstanding Rubaiyat Farm meats but also Mediterranean dishes that highlight fresh ingredients' quality. Their fish and seafood menu will make you change your mind and try something different than meat. It is an excellent option if you are accompanied by someone who is not a meat lover. Both will be able to enjoy a fantastic culinary experience. 

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