Seafood Churrascarias: Marius’s Restaurant On Copacabana Beach

Growing up in America, I occasionally got the chance to eat at a Brazilian churrascaria with family. These outings to the prix fixe steakhouse were often special occasions, reserved for events such as a birthday celebration, or that one time in high school when we skipped class to get the lunch price at Fogo De Chao in downtown Minneapolis. Typically, a Brazilian churrascaria is an experience where, for one  price, you get an unlimited salad bar and the choice of about ten to fifteen different cuts of meat, along with side dishes such as plantains, rice and beans. The trick is not to fill up on cheaper distractions such as lettuce or that seemingly enticing potato gratin in lieu of the sought after filet mignon and picanha meat that usually comes towards the end of the meal. It is crucial to exercise some self control in the beginning, this experience is a marathon, not a race.

Growing up in America, I occasionally got the chance to eat at a Brazilian churrascaria with family. These outings to the prix fixe steakhouse were often special occasions, reserved for events such as a birthday celebration, or that one time in high school when we skipped class to get the lunch price at Fogo De Chao in downtown Minneapolis. Typically, a Brazilian churrascaria is an experience where, for one  price, you get an unlimited salad bar and the choice of about ten to fifteen different cuts of meat, along with side dishes such as plantains, rice and beans. The trick is not to fill up on cheaper distractions such as lettuce or that seemingly enticing potato gratin in lieu of the sought after filet mignon and picanha meat that usually comes towards the end of the meal. It is crucial to exercise some self control in the beginning, this experience is a marathon, not a race.

Being the voracious eater that I am, I have always appreciated the churrascaria with its unlimited supply of specialty beef, pork and chicken. I save my appetite for the meal, starving myself all day, with the certainty in mind that once i arrive at the restaurant i can flip my little cardboard coin from red to green (for go) and on cue, a parade of meat will be brought out from the kitchen on sizzling spits and sliced onto my empty plate by men in in black suits. 

Being the voracious eater that I am, I have always appreciated the churrascaria with its unlimited supply of specialty beef, pork and chicken. I save my appetite for the meal, starving myself all day, with the certainty in mind that once i arrive at the restaurant i can flip my little cardboard coin from red to green (for go) and on cue, a parade of meat will be brought out from the kitchen on sizzling spits and sliced onto my empty plate by men in in black suits. 

Brazil did not disappoint my expectations. My mother and I wasted no time after we arrived and chose a churrascaria to commemorate our very first night in the country. As per recommendation of our hotel, we decided on a place called Marius’s, supposedly known for its specialty in seafood. My mother and I opted to walk to the restaurant via the Copacobana beach. While we strolled along, I pointed out a gaudy yet mysteriously inviting restaurant front that resembled something close to what Posiden’s playroom and treasure chest must look like. Imagine our surprise to find out that this was in fact our destination for the evening! My eyes just about popped out of my head when I stepped into the parlor and was immediately greeted by what looked to be a never ending bar of seafood delights spanning one length of the restaurant. This salad bar was one distraction i knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid. The table was filled with such delicacies as raw oysters, caviar, smoked fish, octopus salad, sushi, sashimi, tar tar; the list goes on! I settled into my seat and enjoyed a lengthy meal with my mother, catching up and planning for the week ahead while enjoying table side service. I devoured grilled fish, bubbling cheese-covered baked clams, crunchy head-on prawns and more than one grilled lobster tail. The accompanying meat dishes were just as satisfying. Salt-crusted steak served tender and medium rare never fails to pair nicely with a rich and buttery lobster tail.

Brazil did not disappoint my expectations. My mother and I wasted no time after we arrived and chose a churrascaria to commemorate our very first night in the country. As per recommendation of our hotel, we decided on a place called Marius’s, supposedly known for its specialty in seafood. My mother and I opted to walk to the restaurant via the Copacobana beach. While we strolled along, I pointed out a gaudy yet mysteriously inviting restaurant front that resembled something close to what Posiden’s playroom and treasure chest must look like. Imagine our surprise to find out that this was in fact our destination for the evening! My eyes just about popped out of my head when I stepped into the parlor and was immediately greeted by what looked to be a never ending bar of seafood delights spanning one length of the restaurant. This salad bar was one distraction i knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid. The table was filled with such delicacies as raw oysters, caviar, smoked fish, octopus salad, sushi, sashimi, tar tar; the list goes on! I settled into my seat and enjoyed a lengthy meal with my mother, catching up and planning for the week ahead while enjoying table side service. I devoured grilled fish, bubbling cheese-covered baked clams, crunchy head-on prawns and more than one grilled lobster tail. The accompanying meat dishes were just as satisfying. Salt-crusted steak served tender and medium rare never fails to pair nicely with a rich and buttery lobster tail.

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Kristina Mellegard