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Sunday, 11 September 2011

London Restaurant Reviews - Rodízio Preto

In my quest to find London's best rodízio restaurant, I met up with fellow Brazilian food blogger Rosana McPhee of Hot & Chilli and headed to the Victoria branch of Rodízio Preto.

For those not familiar with this style of Brazilian restaurant, there is more information in my earlier post on Rodízio Rico which you can read here. As explained, rodízio derives from the word "to rotate" and the term is most commonly applied to restaurants serving barbecued meats (also known as Churrascarias). In such restaurants, waiters go around the tables holding skewers with large pieces of barbecued meat which they will slice at your table. Green and red cards are given to each diner, and these are used to let the waiters know when you have had enough, or decide to have a break. A fixed price is paid per person, which entitles you to eat as much as you like of your favourite dishes. Prices and quality of ingredients and cooking vary tremendously from place to place in Brazil, but are generally of good standard and value since competition among this style of restaurants is fierce.

With two branches in Victoria (Wilton Street) and Putney (Putney High Street), and a third opening soon in the West End (Shaftesbury Avenue), Rodízio Preto is the second largest Brazilian rodízio restaurant in London after Rodízio Rico.

Unlike many other restaurants of this kind with their hideously fake Gaucho-style decor, their smallest branch in Victoria has a modern feel,  with brightly coloured walls, plain dark wood tables and a TV screen playing Brazilian music videos (I could have done without the latter).

The hot buffet was simple and had fewer choices than Rodizio Rico's. It was beautifully displayed containing some traditional Brazilian dishes like Salada de Chu Chu, Baiao de Dois (rice and beans, cassava flour and meats), Frango com Milho e Batata Palha (chicken and sweetcorn bake with matchstick chips) among others. 

We felt that most of the buffet dishes were good but some items, like the deep-fried polenta and the Pao de Queijo, would have been better freshly prepared and served at the table rather than being batch cooked and left on the warming tray.

A big advantage with RodízioPreto is that Feijoada, Brazil's national dish of black beans and pork stew served with rice and fried spring greens, is available at weekends along with the more usual hot buffet and barbecued meats. If you have not yet tried Feijoada, I really recommend it.

Rodízio Preto serves up to 15 different cuts of meat. Rosana and I felt that the quality of meats served at Preto was good and that they had the edge over Rodizio Rico's. There were some outstanding items including picanha (top sirloin) marinated in garlic and a very succulent and tender cut of pork fillet. All the meats were simply but well seasoned and were offered either rare, medium rare or well done.

Rodízio Preto offers a good selection of Brazilian and other international beers at around £4 including Itaipava, Bohemia, and Brahma. More impressive is their well priced wine list with a respectable range of wines from Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Italy including several bottles under £20. On our visit, Rosana and I shared a bottle of excellent 08 Chianti Classico priced at a very reasonable £18.70.

I was surprised to see the Brazilian Miolo Millesime sparkling wine (a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) offered at £25.20 while the same bottle is priced at £35 at Rodízio Rico. Again I felt that Preto offered better choices of wine and at more affordable prices than its main competitor.

Cost: £19.95 per person for unlimited hot buffet, salad bar and grilled meats (£3.55 less than Rodízio Rico @ £23.50), or £14.95 (hot buffet and salad bar), £4.95 for children under 12 years old, excluding drinks and desserts. I believe this to be great value, particularly for meat lovers and families with children.

Likes: good quality and range of Brazilian grilled meats, friendly service, Feijoada available at weekends, great value, well priced wine list.

Dislikes: some items from the buffet would be better freshly prepared and served hot from the kitchen directly at the tables including Pao de Queijo and deep fried polenta. I really dislike restaurants with television screens.

Verdict: Rodizio Preto is the best restaurant of its kind in London serving good quality barbecued meats and other traditional Brazilian dishes at very reasonable prices. Friendly service and lively atmosphere. This is the closest you will get to the real Brazilian rodizio experience in the UK. Highly recommended.

Rodizio Preto on Urbanspoon


  1. The race is on Preto X Rico. Preto in Putney is very good too and bigger buffet. Your post made me hungry! lovely photos. Rx

  2. Ahaah, good to know... went to the Angel branch of Rodizio Rico last week, a larger buffet selection, but much reduced selection of meats were served... compared to our visit to the Fulham branch. That was a shame.

    Shall try out one of these.


  3. I went to Rodizio Preto with group of Brazilian friends recently. It was good (had to ask for the picanha and pao de quejo though!) but nothing will beat my experience at the Rio institution, Porcao...ummm heaven. Will check out the Putney branch soon.

  4. @ Rosana - thanks, you were the perfect dinner companion!

    @ Kavey - Rodizio Rico has to up their game, they need good competition.

    @ Lily - thanks for your comment Lily, no rodizio restaurants in the UK can rival some of the simplest cousins in Brazil, what we have here is the best of what we can get to the real experience.

  5. Great post. But I think I'd rather go to Brazil and eat my meat there. LOL. But you're right. This is probably a good substitute if you can't make it to that beautiful country.

  6. absolutely agreed,as Rosana said The race is on Preto X Rico. But while talking about Rico, it is usually enjoyed with Brazilian music with dance there on saturdays. Can feel really an authentic Brazilian atmosphere.When had a visit to Rodizio Rico,Bayswater,I felt.

  7. I have been debating whether or not to book up here for a birthday meal - my Brazilian partner loves rodizio (who doesn't?) but was a bit scared off by some negative reviews. This is kind of reassuring, though really picanha and pao de queijo are things I really really want to be good! Were there chicken hearts?

  8. well surely you have not been to Amber Grill Rodizio!! Maybe not best place geographically but definitely the best rodizio in London!! I have been to all rodizios here and can certainly say the best meat I have ever had is at Amber Grill! If you have never been there it is a must!! And the price is unbeatable! Check the websites for discounts!! http://www.ambergrill.co.uk/

  9. Brilliant post! I passed the one on Shaftesbury Avenue today and it brought back memories of a Rodizio i recently visited in San Francisco. I love the concept of the Green and Red cards and as someone who loves meat, this is definitely somewhere I intent to check out.

    Great photos by the way!

  10. I loooooved this restaurant. totally recommend...good food,not expensive, great service! If you love meet, go there!


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