I heard about Fogo de Chao from several of my Brazilian friends and I always thought it should be a good restaurant since my friends always spoke highly about it and whom better to recommend a Brazilian place that someone from that country?
In my last visit to Atlanta with another friend we decided to venture and to try by ourselves their food. At first glance It may seem a little weird that we decided to go there for dinner since we are vegetarians, but I have been in several other rodizio style restaurants and their vegetarian options are always abundant and good.
The restaurant is located in Buckhead, walking distance from most of the best hotels. It was Sunday night so we assumed the place would not to be very full, but time proved we were wrong. The restaurant was packed. The welcoming from the hostess was not very friendly or attentive, she asked for our reservation but we did not have one, so she said we would have to wait, but at the end it was only around five minutes. Then our waiter came and explained us the system: they put a colored chip with two sides, when one turn to green it means one wants to be served more meat, red means not for now. I have to admit he looked disappointed when we told him we were vegetarians and we only wanted to go for the salad bar -even when that is an option on the menu-.
The locale is big but it was really noisy, to the point that it was not enjoyable. Food just comes and goes in monstrous quantities. Still the salad bar is an extended version of a buffet where one can find several fresh and healthy ingredients, from different kinds of vegetables, premium cheeses and many other delicacies. I quite enjoyed the quality of the meal and I noticed that most of the ingredients being put in the buffet were replaced frequently to keep everything fresh.
I think Fogo de Chao is a place for those who want to eat abundantly, and that is ok, but they put so many people in the restaurant that this may not be the place to go if one wants to enjoy a meal in a relaxed ambiance. The food is good, the selection of wines respectable and prices quite affordable, but it is a kind of restaurant that targets a specific kind of people: those who want to eat!