Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Food
7.5/10
Total
0%
March 30, 2024

Rio Brazilian Steakhouse, Edinburgh, review - all-you-can-eat meat in the glamorous Assembly Rooms venue

It’s in the spot formerly occupied by Jamie’s Italian and Stack & Still

My mum has turned 88.

That’s two fat ladies in bingo parlance.

Apt, as it was decided that we would head to this all-you-can-eat Brazilian churrasco for her birthday lunch get together.

No dainty sparrow-sized portions for us, thank you very much. We want a celebratory feed to suit a very auspicious age.

Thus, it was straight to the eighth UK branch but the first Scottish venue for this chain, which has moved into the wood-panelled space that was formerly Jamie’s Italian, painted it dark dusky blue, polished those chandeliers and added Audubon prints of South American birds, like a toucan and flamingo.

Since it was Queen Soutar’s celebration, the whole clan was in tow.

This is the sort of space that suits carnivorous families, since children aged five to eight eat for £8.95, and kids under five go free, so the nephew was sorted gratis, while his older sisters - the two little ducks - are in the eight to 12 category so could eat for £12.50 each.

As far as adults go, lunch is £29.95, dinner is £44.95. Those set prices slightly undercut Fazenda, George Street’s other rodizio, by a fiver or so.

First of all, diners pay a visit to the unlimited buffet, with a chef working away inside the loop, and bird of paradise swags hanging overhead.

The selection is decent, though random.

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There is the obligatory Brazilian stew, feijoada, in a hot pot, along with rice, and rosemary roast potatoes. Then, mostly cold goodies, including their special Cheddar Bay biscuits (think cheese scones), three types of sushi, crab canapes (mashed crab on cucumber slices), smoked mackerel chunks, anchovies, and deli-ish bits, like olives, beetroot and feta salad, tomato and mozzarella salad, Caesar salad, grated carrot, pork scratchings, pickled gherkins, sun dried tomatoes, Brazilian orange vinaigrette with chopped peppers and slices of Portuguese chorizo, among many other things.

You return to your seat, stare at your plate, and think, what just happened?

Mine looked like Francis Bacon’s palette.

Anyway, I ate most of this miscellaneous hotchpotch, as well as a few of the airy cheese puffs that had appeared on the table.

If this is a ploy to fill you up, in advance of the meat round, they’d underestimated the Soutars.

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Once you’ve turned your coaster to the green side, where you’ll find the words ‘more meat please’, the team of passadores come calling, with their blood red neck scarves and skewers.

We were served caramelised pork, mini linguica sausages, chicken wings and cordeiro minted lamb. The best offerings were the red meat options, all served pink, with sirloin, picanha (cap of rump) and its garlic-marinated version.

My carnivorous niece and I were very keen on the special of the day - the melty beef rib, which was carved on a chopping board at the end of the table.

Although it was circulating the room, the gammon and pineapple didn’t make it to our table. Just as well, as it isn’t the Seventies.

After we’d developed the sweats, we turned our coasters red - ‘no more meat thanks’ - and picked at the salty chips that had also appeared, as if by magic.

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I wonder how many people actually order pudding? Making it as far as churros or caramel flan must be akin to scaling Pico da Neblina. 

However, as we had informed the servers that it was mum’s birthday, they brought her two gratis scoops of ice-cream - one vanilla and another caramel - and sang happy birthday so enthusiastically that I was black affrontit and she got the giggles.

They did the same for about three other tables. It’s worth noting that the staff are incredibly lovely here.

Also, the food does the trick. None of us needed to eat dinner that night and we were all parched after imbibing so much salty meat. I imagine, as well as families, this place will probably attract strapping and protein-loading rugby bods, of the ilk that I always see in its nearby rival, Fazenda.

When quantity is the aim, it’s hard to beat the format.

We might even come back when she turns 89.

54 George Street, Edinburgh, UK
54 George Street, Edinburgh, UK, EH2 2LR
0131 659 9600
Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Drinks
7/10
Food
7.5/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Total
0%
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