Pay per kilo restaurants are everywhere in Brazil. They’re very popular and well known for being cheap and quick. We ate at four pay per kilo buffets while visiting Rio de Janeiro and Florianópolis. We found there was always a lot of variety and enough vegan options to keep us happy.
Vida in Florianópolis has been serving up vegetarian food for 30 years. They’re open for lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. We arrived just as they were winding down for the day. Thankfully, they were in no rush to kick us out. They actually offered us all we could eat for $10 Brazilian Reals ($5.50 USD).
Even though the food stock was starting to run low, we managed to fill up on lots of good stuff. We enjoyed ricotta tofu crepes, okra, salad, grilled and steamed veggies, brown rice, curried potatoes, buckwheat salad, and soup. They also had a long list of fresh vegetable juices and smoothies, ranging $3.00-5.00 Brazilian Reals ($1.65-$2.75 USD). As far as I could tell, all of the food was vegan. We didn’t see any dishes with cheese or milk. We left feeling great despite the multiple servings we squeezed down. They have a dessert section too but I’m saving those details for an upcoming post about vegan treats in Brazil. You can find Vida at Rua Visconde de Ouro Preto, 298, Centro, Florianópolis.
After the long bus ride that brought us to Florianópolis, we were craving some vegetables and decided to try out a nearby pay per kilo restaurant. It wasn’t vegetarian but we found carrots, beets, broccoli and greens. To “round out” the plate, we added some french fries and rice.
There are also a lot of pay per kilo dessert bars that serve ice cream and sorbet. We tried one and found some lemon and açaí sorbet that was dairy free. There were more than 20 ice cream flavours, but only three dairy-free sorbets. There were tons of toppings to choose from. We kept it simple and sprinkled on some peanuts. Once we tasted the amazing açaí sorbet, we didn’t really care about the lack of options. It was so good! We were sure to head back for round two before leaving Florianópolis. The cost for the serving pictured below was $3.00 Brazilian Reals ($1.65 USD).
One of the most popular pay per kilo restaurants in Rio de Janerio is Fronteira. We ate at their Barra beach location and found they had a great variety of vegetables, beans and prepared salads. The best finds were hummus, wild rice salad, couscous and baked yams. It was nice to see they had little symbols to identify which items were vegetarian. This was especially helpful for the rice and bean dishes because they are often made with meat stock. We couldn’t eat any of the fancy desserts but finished our meal with some perfectly ripe mango slices. Fronteira is a bit more expensive than some of the other buffets we tried. Our plates cost $14 and $19 Brazilian Reals ( $7.65 and $10.40 USD). The variety helped to justify the price.
When visiting Brazil, you’re bound to run into pay per kilo restaurants. You can feel good knowing there is always going to be something for vegans and vegetarians. It may be a plate of boiled vegetables but chances are you’ll get lucky with some grain salads, fresh greens and baked veggies.