Welcome to a meat feast at Zico’s!

Ever since I started capoeira classes about 5 months ago, I’ve developed a fascination with all things Brazil and I’ve even been thinking more about how I can learn Portuguese. The language is quite an important part of the martial arts practice, it’s used in the songs and in the names for each movement we practice. When I came across a Groupon voucher for 4 to dine at Zico’s Grill Bar for half price, I knew we had to try it.


Normally in Italy, when you come across a trattoria, it means the restaurant serves traditional style Italian dishes. In Brazil, this is the rodízio churrascaria – a barbecue meat buffet. Basically the chefs are hard at work in the kitchen grilling various meats (chicken, beef, pork and gammon to name a few) on the grill. The passadores (waiting staff) will then bring out the meat freshly cooked to perfection to your table and you’re able to choose which ones you’d like to sample and which you’d rather skip.

The restaurant is simply decorated without being overwhelming. There have been some reviews where visitors felt the decor needed updating, but the minute we walked in the restaurant, my eyes were immediately scouring the vicinity for the food on offer. There are some Brazilian memorabilia around decorating the establishment, but otherwise I think it’s been done nicely without shouting to visitors that it’s a Brazilian style restaurant.

The idea with the rodízio or the buffet is that you can eat as much as you can handle. Once you’ve visited the salad/rice buffet area and helped yourself to some salad, greens and rice, you’re ready to start. You’re given a circular card disc on each table with two sides: a green side and a red side:

The green side signals to the passadores that you’d like the meat to keep coming. Each time they make their rounds, they’ll bring out a different kind of meat, or the same meat cooked in a different style.

They’ll keep coming with different dishes. Each dish is so good that while you’re still savouring one, you might find that you’re already been presented with another. When you feel like you need a break or when your dish is loaded with meat, just flip it to the red side. This signals the waiting staff that you would like a break. You can take as long or short a break as you like, whenever you’re ready to continue just flip it back to the green side.

Unfortunately for us, we spent so much time chatting and eating all the meat we were served and trying to leave as much space in our tummies as we could for more succulent meat, I forgot to take photos of the beautifully presented roast varieties. So I’ve borrowed some photos from Zico’s Facebook page of meat you could be presented with at a churrascaria restaurant.

The other thing I discovered at the restaurant is the amazing Brazilian soft drink, Guaraná Antarctica. It’s like an alternative to Coca Cola, but made with extracts from the guaraná fruit. It’s quite a fruity flavour, so if you like your Dr Peppers and other fruity fizzy juices, I would definitely recommend this!

Lunch is served between 12:00-3:00pm Wednesdays to Fridays for £9.95 per adult and dinner daily from 5:30-10:30pm for £19.95. Zico’s Grill Bar can be found at 97-101 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BX. To reserve a table, phone 0131 478 1222 or use their online booking form.

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