Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Prairie Provinces >
May 18, 2007 09:00 AM

Bolero, Calgary - any reviews?

I noticed that there's a new restaurant above Smuggler's on Macleod Trail S. It's called Bolero and says it's a Brazilian rodizio, with chefs walking around serving various cuts of meat. Anybody try it yet? Know how much it is? There was a Gilchrist article about it in the Herald on May 6th, but I would love to read an actual review.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I went this evening,

    I was very impressed I've been to 2 other Brazilian style BBQ places. Fogo De Chao in Houston TX and one I don't remember the name of in Milan, IT. Bolero was better (and cheaper) then Fogo, but not quite as nice as the one in Milan.

    The meat of course is incredibly good, all the beef choices were perfectly cooked, and amazingly spiced. The Chicken was also good, the pork loin was a little dry, but the ribs were great.

    The choice of items in the cold and hot salad bars were quite tasty and well stoked, being replaced when they got close to 1/3 empty so there was never a time that you went to the salad bar and couldn't have what you were looking for.

    At times there was a fairly long wait between when piece of meat came around but this is actually a good thing giving time for you stomach to digest some of the huge protein intake. For any carnivores I would highly recommend going by. A reservation would probably be a good idea as even on a Sunday night there weren't many open tables.

    Full Adult All you can eat: $35
    Sample Platter plus salad bar: $27.50
    Salad Bar's only: $20

    3 Replies
    1. re: msroest

      Hi! Thanks for posting a review - i was wondering if you had any additional details like:

      How many meat choices were there? What were your favorite items in the salad bar? Did you get any complimentary sides like Pao de Queijo? Drink costs? How many total tables?

      Any additional details you could provide would be appreciated! Thanks.

      1. re: yen

        I went there the on the Saturday after they opened. I'm going back again tonight, and I've got reservations made for my birthday in September. Their menu is:

        Pichana - "This rump cut is the classic churrascaria offering. Subtly falvored and incredibly tender"

        Garlic Parmesan Striploin - "We pay homage to this all American cut seasoned with fresh garlic and shredded parmesan"

        Filet Mignon - "The noblest meat cut roasted to rreveal it's great taste"

        Ribeye Steak - "The prime part of the ribeye a truly elite steak"

        Rack of Lamb - "Cut into tasty chops and roasted to tender perfection"

        Garlic Parmesan Porkloin - "Tender strips of Succulent pork with a great flavour combination"

        Pork Tenderloin - "Roasted whole to be crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside"

        Alcatra - "Cut from the top Sirloin seasoned only with sea salt to reveal it's natural flavour"

        Pork Ribs - "Baby back ribs like you've never had them before. Slow roasted for aximum flavour"

        Garlic Parmesan Pichana - "We roast smaller portionsof our classic cut with garlic, parmesan lovres in mind"

        Pineapple - "Whole roasted with a delicious hint of smoke and caramel"

        Linguica - "Robust pork sausages, slow roasted to mouth-watering perfection."

        Bacon Filet Mignon - "Tenderloin medallions wrapped in applewood crisp bacon"

        Bacon wrapped Chicken - "Tender chicken thighs wrapped in applewood crisp bacon"

        Chicken legs - "Lightly seasoned crisp chicken"

        Vegetable Skewer "Fresh cut vegetables doused in grated parmesan and slow roasted"

        Leg of Lamb - "Fresh cut leg of lamb carved off the bone"

        and that's taken directly from the menu I took home with me following my visit to Bolero. They've also got a wonderful Fresco bar / hot bar, although I did neglect it in flavour of the all you can eat meat on a sword. From what I did try, the mushrooms and potatoes were excellent. The asparagus was good, but not particularly excellent; Although that is probably because everything else was so completely amazing.

        1. re: Sir_Lunchalot

          Thank you very much! Im looking forward to this :)

    2. I've been to a couple of these places before, one in Salt Lake City called Rodizio, and one in Vegas in the shops at the Aladdin hotel, which I can't remember the name of at this point. Both of these restaurants are excellent, and superior to Bolero.
      All share the same concept of the hot and cold food bars, combined with the tableside service of various meats by gauchos. For me, the real attraction at these places is the meat, which is usually cooked very simply and very well, over charcoal.
      The main problem I had with Bolero was that most of the meat was under seasoned and overcooked, resulting in meat that was far too dry. The exceptions were the bacon-wrapped filet mignon, the bacon-wraped chicken, and the pork sausage.
      Maybe the place needs to be busier so that meat comes out of the kitchen more frequently. One of the gauchos who served us was very attentive, and even brought out meats on request. But 2 of the other gauchos completely ignored our section. These could be problems that will be ironed out once the restaurant has been open longer. We'll try it again in a month or so to see if it has improved.
      I have been spoiled for this type of cuisine by Rodizio in Salt Lake, which I think is absolutely excellent, so my standards are high. Maybe the other one on Fairmount Drive will be better.

      5 Replies
      1. re: feuerzeug

        Please bear in mind that whereas Americans have had these sorts of places for years (is there any city that doesn't have a Fogo de Chao?), it's an entirely new thing in Calgary. Give us some time and it will improve.

        1. re: John Manzo

          I know what you're saying. I definitely plan to go back after they've been open for awhile - give them some time to hit their stride. Not trying to be mean, just honest. We do other things as good as, or better than, the Americans (except southern BBQ and Mexican) so I hope this will become the case with Bolero.

          On another note: who designed the pass-through from kitchen to gaucho? The counter is so high that I felt bad for the shorter gauchos who had to reach up for the skewer! Lower that bad boy!

          1. re: feuerzeug

            Lol - i thought the exact same thing when i was there :)

            Just to add my thoughts to what Feuerzeug says above, it definitely isnt up to the standard i've had in the States. The hot and cold bars were no where up to the standard i've had in the past as well. I wouldnt touch any of the hot food again - it looked like the repository for all the leftover meat from the night before. The salad bar was decent, but with a weak selection. The quality of the salad bar was also a definite notch below other establishments i've been to.

            But we all go for the meat. I found most of the meat to be under-seasoned as well...just some salt would go a long way. The initial cuts of meat were overcooked (all medium well- welldone), which pleased one of our dining companions. We asked for rarer cuts, and she started bringing out items that were medium-rare to medium. What i noticed was they hadnt mastered the art of cooking both on the same skewer yet. In many Rodizio style places where they;ve imported Brazillian labour, they have the ability to get a wide range of doneness on a "sword" (there must be a better name for these). The service was excellent, but we were one of three tables. She brought out any of the meats we wanted cooked close to the way we asked. It was 9 oclock on a weekday though, so im not surprised that the busier they get, the less they will be willing to do that.

            My favorite meats were the Filet (not bacon wrapped), the Leg of Young Lamb and Rack of Lamb were both awesome medium-rare, the Alcatra, and the garlic-parmesan Pichana. The linguica was really really good as well, but i have issues paying $35 for sausage :) I was most disappointed with the rib-eye, the Pichana, and the pork tenderloin, which was far from tender.

            Oh, the BBQ/grilled pineapple was awesome. Had 3 or 4 servings. It ended up being my favorite dish. Definitely recommend that!

            Im hoping to try the one on Fairmount in the next couple weeks - i'll report on it then.

        2. re: feuerzeug

          Where on Fairmount is there a rodizio??? Is it just another Bolero, or different one completely?
          thank you!

          1. re: canadianfoodie

            Cravings Market Restaurant.
            7207 Fairmount Drive SE
            Calgary, AB T2H 0X6

            Completely different restaurant.. they're a market restaurant (think Movenpicks Marche), but do a "rodizio-style" meal in the evenings.

            It was really really bad.

        3. We went to Bolero a couple weeks ago & had a wonderful time. It's a groovy atmosphere with huge firpelaces & soft lighting. I ate more meat than I would eat in an entire week, so leave your veggie friends at home. It was very reasonable at $35 per person that included the hot & cold buffet. The hot buffet had yummy cocnut rice & a very tasty beef stroganoff. The staff are great and very attentive as well. My favorite meat skewer was the filet mignon, so tender and delicious.
          My husband & I are heading back tonight with my folks for a late Father's Day dinner. I can't wait!!
          Try it soon!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: astacey

            I went to Bolero last week on a Tuesday and had a very good experience. I've actually spent some time in Brazil (Campinas) prior for work so have had firsthand experience with Brazilian churrascarias. Bolero, while not offering the breadth for either the salad station or the meat selections, compared well for what they did have.
            On the evening I was there, other then one skewer of pork loin, the meat was all cooked medium rare to rare and was quite tender. I would agree that they could use more salt but that said, the meat was flavorful.
            The restaurant was full which was both good and bad: good as there was a constant supply of meat (no skewers sitting and getting overdone) but bad as there were only 2 servers for most of the evening (a third was added when we were almost done).
            The salad bar could use more items, especially for the hot food as there really is only the feijoada (black bean stew) that could be called Brazilian and even that wasn't really authentic - still just nitpicking here.
            I would definitely recommend Bolero - hopefully they remain busy so the cooking doesn't suffer.

            1. re: GordMM06

              Now that we have a churrasqueria, let's hope for a parrilla!

          2. Went last Tuesday, July 10th. Thought the meat was coming around slowly at first, but your stomach catches up fast. Earlier posters are right, I'm someone who generally eats a lot of meat, but that was by far more than I eat in a week (was it smart to try this in the middle of Stampede??!?). When all was said and done I had to wave the white flag (err...flip the little wooden doohickey from green to red) with a few pieces still left on my plat.

            The picanha was great (in both the regular and parmesan versions), the chicken tasty, the filet tender and the rack of lamb was quite sublime. But the Alcatra - wow. Amazing what just a little bit of sea salt can do. I would have been quite happy if one of the gauchos would have just left me a skewer of that. The pineapple is also an interesting surprise, wasn't expecting much when I read it on the menu, but it was quite tasty with a hint of honey or caramel in it and really balanced well with meat.

            The hot & cold bars were fine, I enjoyed the coconut rice (although I'm not sure if on a review of a place like this one needs to mention the rice) and they had a very nice proscuitto as well. I meant to inquire about it but I must have forgot sometime during the meat sweats.

            Had a nice Argentinian Malbec that didn't break the bank yet complemented all that protein quite nicely.

            Our server was earnest and enthusiastic and the gauchos very very generous.

            I will definitely be revisiting next time I'm ready to get my meat on.

            1. OK, I went back last night and felt it was a vast improvement from my first visit. The gauchos were attentive and pleasant, and there was no stopping them from coming around. The meat was much better prepared - not dried out and overcooked like the last time. I would still like to see some of the cuts brought out closer to medium-rare, especially the rib-eye and filet mignon. The chicken thighs and the ribs were both still overdone, but tasty. And it looks like the chef found the seasonings, because everything was well-seasoned - not too much, not too little.

              I still think the taste and quality of some the items on the hot and cold food bars could be vastly improved. My favourite items were the mashed potatoes, which I thought were very tasty, and the cold meats and cheeses. The salads were blah, and the Greek salad looked particularly bad, with taste to match.

              Towards the end of the meal, we got rained on, as they were having some problems with their roof! Just a sprinkling, but I was disappointed that they did not offer to get our drinks or give a discount. We didn't ask, mind you. But say what you will about Earl's or Joey's; every time I've been there and had something go just slightly wrong, they take care of it in some way. The waitress and the manager were on-the-ball half as much as the gauchos, and the gauchos were probably 10-15 years younger! I wish I could tip them directly.

              Overall it was a good experience. I will go back.