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Rio de Janeiro: Frontera

Rua Visconde de Piraja 128, Ipanema , Phone: 329-2350
Closing day: None

Reviewed by: Panda from UK, review #3715

When: 2011

Fresh and tasty buffet selection in pleasant surroundings.

Per Kilo buffets are a popular feature in Brazil – you choose from a buffet selection and either you get your plate weighed and pay that price, or – for the truly hungry – opt for an ‘all you can eat price’ and go back as many times as you like. The selection at Frontera was particularly good - maybe 12 hot dishes, 15 cold dishes, fresh leafy salads, cheeses, and fruits. The quality was very good and inventive: I enjoyed the duck in molasses one evening and the carpaccio with pesto dressing was wonderful. There is also a grill where skewers of beef, lamb and chicken are cooked over the flame – the chef slices off just what you want. We enjoyed it so much that we came another night and found that many of the dishes had changed for other equally appealing ones. The serving dishes are not large, so they are frequently replenished with fresh items- there was no sign of ‘tired’ buffet food.

There is also a sushi section, but this is charged on a different basis. Dessert, from another section, is also not included on the all you can eat price, nor is coffee.

We found the system a little confusing at first - we don’t speak Portuguese and the waiting staff, though very nice, didn’t have enough English to explain it clearly to us (or rather, we were a bit slow on the uptake…). Luckily, some English speaking customers came to our rescue and talked us through the system.

As you enter, you are handed a card as a token. When you sit at the table, the waiter comes over to take your drink order and you hand over your token. When your drink is brought, he brings a bill with the drink marked and a list of other options. When you have chosen your food from the buffet, you go to the weigh desk with your bill and the result is written on it. The per kilo price is 51 real (in April 2011), with the all you can eat price at 43 real. My plate totaled 21 real and I knew that would be sufficient for me so I said I wanted the per kilo option – my husband’s generously loaded plate totaled 49 real so the weigher suggested he take the all you can eat price option (at 43 real)..

If you don’t want a drink, you can simply hand the token to the weigher who will give you the bill. When you have finished your meal, the pay desk is on the way out – you are given two receipts, one of which is given to the doorkeeper on the way out. It seems a convoluted system, but was easy on the second night! Credit cards (Amex,Visa, Mastercard accepted)

The long front room and the back room with the buffet and more seating were airy and pleasant, with an informal and relaxed atmosphere.

There are three further branches in Rio situated in Copacabana, Leblon, Jardim Botanico and Barra. The website is in Portuguese but contains useful maps and photos.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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