Kirbie's Cravings

Fogo De Chao

Fogo De Chao, a popular Brazilian steakhouse, recently opened a location in San Diego, occupying the former Borders space in the Gaslamp area. For years, I’ve heard great things about the Beverly Hills location, so I was eagerly anticipating this opening.

Since it is currently San Diego Restaurant Week and Fogo De Chao is participating, it gave me a chance to try it out right away and save a few dollars off of the normal dinner price.

It’s an all-you-can-eat format, starting with a gorgeous salad bar when you enter. The salad bar consists of various greens, imported cheese and meats, and a few hot dishes.

When you sit down, your table has a green/red card. You flip it to green when you’re ready for the meats to start coming and flip to red when you’re finished. There are 16 cuts of meat offered, and each is brought tableside to you.

In addition to the salad bar and the meats, there is a basket of their famed Brazilian cheese breads. I’ve made these breads before and this was a great version. Warm, cheesy and chewy. I could eat these all day.

Dinner also includes three sides: mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, and crispy fried polenta. If you are a meat and potatoes type of person, this is something like heaven.

We actually found the sides pretty impressive. The crispy polenta was crunchy and tasted like thick-cut french fries. The bananas were perfectly caramelized. We only ate about half of the sides though to save room for the meat.

We filled up as much as possible, with some trips to the salad bar to take a break from all the meat. Our favorites were the plain filet mignon and the bottom sirloin, which were both extremely tender and perfectly seasoned. The attendants come around several times with the different meats, but if you are waiting on a particular cut, you can definitely request it and they will make sure to make their way over to you.

Normally, there is an additional charge for dessert (though I really wonder, who has room for desssert?), but since it was restaurant week, dessert was included in the price.

We chose the chocolate mousse and key lime pie. Neither were particularly memorable and were obviously pre-made.

Overall, we had a good time here. I know there already exists another Brazilian steakhouse in Gaslamp, Rei de Gado, but I think the quality of meats offered at Fogo De Chao are much better. If you can, lunch is a much better deal than dinner, almost half the price. For restaurant week, they are doing $20 for weekday lunch (normally $29.50) or $40 for dinner (normally $46.50).

Fogo De Chao
668 6th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101

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12 comments on “Fogo De Chao”

  1. Gah gave a long bunch of tips and they didn’t save. So now the abbreviated version.

    1. Go for lunch…same menu, way cheaper.
    2. Avoid the sides…all heavy starches designed to fill you up fast. If you want the salad bar, just get it by itself.
    3. You can eat less meat than you think and after a while it all tastes the same so plan accordingly.
    4. Avoid the bacon filet…its overpowering taste kills everything after it.
    5. The lombo is PHENOMENAL, despite most people focusing on the beef.
    6. No matter how full you are, trust me — get the Papaya Cream with Cherry Liqueur.

  2. Thanks for posting on this. We’ve heard so much about this place opening up in SD (I tried their Bev Hills location and thought it was ok).

    Do you think Rei de Gado will survive 🙁

    I think I still remember your version/recipe of those cheesy breads from some time ago!

    • Mm, not sure. I actually haven’t been to Rei de Gado for years. But there is always room for more than one of the same type of place.

  3. That one picture makes the steak seem a bit bloody, do you like your steak rare? I do love medium-rare.

    • I prefer on the more rare side for a filet, which is what is pictured. They cook the meat to various doneness, so they will ask you how you want your steak and cut you a slice that corresponds accordingly

  4. Oh, we just drove past this last weekend and really wanted to try it, but it was closed for lunch. Hubby lived in Brazil for two years so he’s really excited for this. We were gonna wait until his birthday but we might have to go sooner…everything looks so yummy!

  5. Hi Kirbie! I thought this offered one of the best RW deals 🙂 Hopefully S will be on board even though he’s been complaining that we’ve been eating too many ‘big meals’ haha! Never thought I’d hear that from a man 😛

  6. Ooh…nice. We’re going there tomorrow night, so excited!! Thanks for the tips on the best cuts.

    • have fun! Yeah we really loved the plain filet mignon and the bottom sirloin. I like that they offer a plain filet. They offer a bacon wrapped one like rei de gado, but I always think that the bacon overpowers the filet.