Since the introduction of the “churrasco” style of grilling meat in 2002, it suddenly had a boom three years later, making Chicago one of the best places to see a heavily crowded “churrascaria”. Many restaurant owners are still baffled by the sudden popularity of the trend, especially in The Windy City where the known food options revolve around American classics.
One may argue that the demographics of the city is extremely amenable to eating grilled meat in a new way, particularly when Chicago can also be considered as a place of red meat and steaks. Most churrascaria owners believe it was the initial success of Fogo de Chao in the country that made them brave in venturing into the city.
The concept of churrascaria is essentially similar to what most steakhouses offer, except theirs have the presentation of carrying it in skewers, going from one table to another, and giving diners the sense of eating in an all-you-can-eat buffet. Locals have also been drawn to the ethnicity and culture of the churrascaria, enabling them to feel adventurous and different even for a short period of time.
Starting with nothing but salt and open fire to cook their meat, customers can see it served either rodizio, which means rotating in English or espeto corrido, which means running in sticks. Besides the simplicity, there is no menu and customers only pay a set amount to cover the endless meat and salad.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, here is a list of the top 5 best churrascaria in Chicago.
5) Brazilian Bowl Grill
Serving not only the highlight of a churrascaria, this authentic South American restaurant also offers traditional foods like empanadas, smoothies, and unique twists on American classics. Although it did not truly aspire the concept of the churrasco, many diners find that through the food options, they were able to understand and appreciate the culture of Brazil. Their delicious Feijoada, the known National dish of Brazil, is a black stew of beans, sausage, bacon, pork loin, meat, rice, greens and Brazilian pico de gallo can make any cold tummy warm with comfort and glee, for only $9.95.
4) La Sirena Clandestina
A similar concept as the Brazilian Bowl, the La Sirena Clandestina takes it to an even higher level by adding lunch, dinner, and brunch to their offers. Bestsellers like the baked Empanada for $4, Beets and Burrata in cherry vinaigrette and pistachio for $8, and the Chimichurri or grilled hanger steak for $32. Their array of white and red wines are also superb, ranging from locally made to Italian favorites.
3) Taste of Brasil
This churrascaria located in Oak Park is a definition of its own, serving authentic Brazilian dishes even on their drinks, like the Brazilian Pingado that has half coffee and half milk in it for only $3.40 per small size to their selection of naturally sweet smoothies and juices, such as Lemonade Wow and Acai Smoothie. The Taste of Brasil also offers delicious appetizers like coxinha, a chicken croquette dish that is covered in potato pasty; kibe, beef mixed with wheat formed into meatballs; and the superb empadinha, a twist on the traditional empanada. Entrees are also a feast on its own, with the Bobo de Camarao or an African-Brazilian dish that highlights fresh shrimp in a concoction of cassava, coconut milk, and tomato sauce.
2) Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse
Staying true to the authentic, traditional churrasco, this churrascaria only offers meat in its menu but in different cuts. These original Brazilian cuts are picanha, the prime sirloin; ribeye, the best selling cut served only with sea salt; filet mignon e frango, chicken breast with bacon wrapper; fraldinha, bottom sirloin that boasts of being the tastiest cut; costela, a well-marbled cut; filet minion, the juiciest meat cut served with salt; porco, a rack of ribs dusted with Parmesan cheese; fringe e linguica, chicken drumsticks with pork sausages; and cordeiro, rack of lamb. Sides are also available to serve as an accompaniment to the meat, like the fried polenta and mashed potatoes, and a salad bar that offers a variety of options like broccoli, mozzarella, and Tabbouleh.
1) Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Nothing beats the original when it comes to the service, array of meat, and salad bar of Fogo de Chao. Being the common denominator of most Brazilian churrascarias, this restaurant cemented the fame of churrasco in the country, thanks mainly to their ingenuity in their Brazilian branch. Frequented by celebrities and high-profile people, the team of chefs and service crew of this churrascaria aims only the best in what they do. Meats such as beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fresh seafood, delectable sides, and desserts, plus innovative and exquisite wine, having a dinner here may mean discovering the second mecca of meat paradise on Earth.