For those familiar with the Argentinian tenedor libre, not much is needed in terms of an explanation. The rodízio is its Brazilian cousin. For those unfamiliar with both, the deal is simple: you pay a fixed price, you eat as much as you want (drinks and desserts are paid separatedly).
The rodízio par excellence is the meat rodízio. Comfortably seated at your table, you contemplate a seemingly endless series of waiters coming and going with huge skewers containing different cuts of meat. Whenever you fancy a cut of meat, ask the waiter, and he’ll cut some pieces for you. In actual fact, you hardly ever need to ask, waiters at a rodízio restaurant are quite proactive.
Those in the know are aware that good things come to those who wait. You can skip the French fries, fried bananas, onion rings and inferior cuts of meat that will be doing the rounds at the beginning of your meal. No need to stuff yourself too early. If you are patient enough, you will be rewarded with some of the most delicious cuts of meat you will have tasted in your life.
Prices at rodízio restaurants start from R$15 and go up to R$70 or R$80 at the best restaurants. In most restaurants, as well as the meat, you will find a larguish salad counter with quite a lot of cooked meals as well. The idea behind this bewildering variety is to stuff you real quick so you won’t be too eager to taste the most expensive cuts of meat.
Vento Haragano is quite a good (and expensive) churrascaria in São Paulo. At its website you can see what a rodízio looks like and what are the cuts of meat being served.
As well as meat rodízios, there are now fish rodízios, prawn rodízios, pizza rodízios, sushi rodízios,… The sky (or rather, your stomach) is the limit!