Copacabana Rodizio Style Steakhouse - Niagara Falls
One of the many Rodizio style Brazilian Steakhouses that are popping up all around North America these days (it's got to be a low carb thing), Copacabana is plagued by inconsistency in both food and service.
The salad bar contains an impressive looking array of foods that have nothing whatsoever to do with Brazil. Some pasta salads and a nicely done baked potato bar were amongst the standouts. On the other hand, the rice was blah and the black beans were inedibly bad. Pao de Quiejo, which is, admittedly, not a dinner food, but is usually found on these buffets was sadly missing - too bad, as it's one of those Brazilian things I feel extra nostalgic about.
Service was simply not great. Long stretches would go by without any of the meatcutters visiting our table and we often spent several minutes staring at empty plates. This may have been because we were the farthest away from the kitchen, but a few adjustments to the traffic patterns would have corrected it.
The meat itself ranged from fantastic (the first bacon-wrapped filet, the first garlic steak, the pork with pamegianno cheese) to dry (the beef ribs, the second bacon wrapped filet, the sausages) to completely non-appearing (the promised second kind of ribs, the promised prime rib, the tri-tip beef that made it to the tables around us but never to ours).
At $36 per person, the experience isn't cheap. If half the meat wasn't poor, it would be worth it, but it was, so it wasn't (did you get all that?) Add in the ridiculous drink prices ($4 for a third of a can of soda, even when imported, is insane) and the bill starts to feel more and more like a rip-off.
We dined there on Saturday night, much the same as Ben did. We arrived about a half hour earlier than he did and got a table in about an hour.
First the good. We loved the place as a whole. Nice interior, the staff were very helpful and nice. Easy on the eyes as well.
We found the the salad bar to be good. Other posters are right, there really doesn't seem to be anything to do with Brazil but that didn't mean it wasn't enjoyable.
THE MEAT!!! We loved the meat. I ended up with top sirloin, bacon wrapped filet, bacon wrapped chicken breast, prime rib, parmesan pork and lamb. All were fantastic with the lamb being extra great.
The fried bananas and roasted pineapple were also excellent.
The band and dancing girls were a real hoot.
The okay. The service was spotty. At first, where we were sitting meant that as the swords made their way our way, they'd run out just before our table. The staff were good enough to pick up on this and asked if we were getting enough meat. When we said no and explained what we had watched, the first guy asked what we wanted and headed straight back with it. From that point on, we were good with the service. Our waitress was very attentive and asked a few times if we were being served often enough. I'm guessing it's a big complaint they get.
The meat tended to be a touch salty but I'm not a salt person. As I said above, I loved the meat so it didn't bother me at all. Actually made me wonder if I should add more salt to my food at home.
I also found the sausage to be a bit dry but otherwise pretty tasty.
The bad. You can't make reservations for groups of less than 4. So if you know you won't be available for dinner until 8 and you're a smaller group, you'll be waiting a long time.
It's crowded. There are walkways that you have to turn sideways to get through. They really cram you in.
Overall, I have to say that we loved it. We'll certainly go back and that's really the best recomendation. It's not something I could do day in and day out but it's fun for a once in a while treat when in the Falls.
My friends and I dined here last Saturday (07/14/07) and we weren't impressed at all.
First of all, if you don't have reservations expect to wait up to 2 1/2-3 hours before you can get a table. We arrived at 6 pm and did not get seated until 9:45! Needless to say, we were starving by the time they seated us. I have to admit though that the hostesses at the door did a great job in accomodating everyone and promptly gave us a table when we were finally called.
The food was truly mediorce. Everything single piece of meat they served us was raw! I don't mind a little red in my meat, but everything they served was still mooing on the sword. Why couldn't they serve well cooked meat? A lot of other patrons were asking the same question. Maybe it was because of the number of people they had to serve, I don't know. But I've been to the Red Violin and never encountered a single piece of uncooked meat. The fried bananas were good though.
So basically we had a 3 3/4 hour wait for uncooked food that cost $84.00. A complete and utter rip-off! This place just doesn't live up to the hype. And once the hype dies down it will crash and burn.
We heard some good things about Copacabana from friends, so we went last Saturday night. I read this post prior to going, so I was cautiously optimistic about it.
On the busy nights, they recommend going early (6 pm) to ensure that your wait is not that long. We arrived around 6:30 pm, and our table for 2 was ready around 7:15 pm. People that came after us had to wait over 1 hour. We waited by the bar and watched the dancing girls when they came out at 7 pm. It was a fun show with some people joining in, dancing and having a good time.
We were seated out on the patio, on the outer edge. I thought it was a great table, as it was not as noisy there, the weather was warm, and we had a nice breeze. The meat grilling area was near our table, so we got served very quickly. Our waitress Kate was very nice and cheerful – always around to see if we needed anything.
We both thought the salad bar was excellent. I have no idea if any of the foods had anything to do with Brazil, but we enjoyed it. I liked the warm pita (?) for dipping. There was also a “hot” portion of the salad bar which had good dishes that kept on changing. The variety included: fried shrimp, calamari, seafood pasta, beef on rice, etc.
On to the main reason why people go – the grilled meat – which we thought was very good. My favourite was the bacon-wrapped filet and she liked the roasted chicken. The pepper steak, buffalo chicken, sausages and lamb were also good. She did not like the parmesan pork, so I didn’t bother trying it. I don’t think we tried all the different types of meat, since we were full. You have to make sure to pace yourself with all the meat that is available.
The roasted pineapple was a great touch at the end, and we also ordered extra fried bananas. Mmmmm.
The pervious post talked about slow service, but we thought the service was great. The meatcutters were always around, and by the end, when they saw we were slowing down, they asked us if we wanted anything in particular. They would go get that skewer and bring it over. Extra kudos go to Yan, who was the fastest and most energetic meatcutter there. He mentioned that since he was the youngest guy there, he had to prove himself.
We didn’t order any drinks at dinner, so the cost of the dinner was $36 x 2 people + tax and tip. Copacabana is not cheap by any means, but we thought it was decent value for what you got. If you order a filet at another restaurant, it can be that much anyway. Overall, it was a nice experience, but not something we would do on a regular occasion.
Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse
6671 Fallsview Blvd
Niagara Falls, Ontario