meat, glorious meat at Agora Churrascaria

From my last post of a vegetarian cafe to a meat-filled debauchery. If you’ve never had churrascaria, or, Brazilian barbecue, then you’re missing out. It is one of those things which even if you’re not a big meat eater will find to be a fun experience. It is also great for a big party because it is a set price ($25/lunch and $43/dinner, children 6-10 is half price).

I’ve been to Agora several times before this visit. This time, we were invited as part of a blogger media event where some of my fellow bloggers and I sat down to enjoy some meats, drinks and each other’s company.

We started with a few caipirinhas, probably the most notable Brazilian cocktail made from cachaça, sugar and lime juice, and sat down to begin the night of serious eating.

At Agora, a lavish buffet is laid out for you to help yourself to. You start the meal by selecting items from the salad bar — which by the way, is complete with shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, a myriad of raw salads as well as created ones such as potato salad and sauteed mushrooms.

There is a hot food area as well including steamed clams, mussels, and the feijoada,  a black bean stew, considered by most to be the national dish of Brazil. Although I’m a big fan of feijoada, the one here is usually a little under-seasoned and watery for me. I do love the clams though and can’t get enough of it.

So, before you even start the barbecue chow-down, you might already have filled up on the buffet. This is why I usually wait to visit the buffet and opt to start with the barbecue.

The passadores, or ‘meat waiters’, dressed like gauchos (cowboys), will start circling your table with skewers of meat which they will carve at the table. With the help of your own personal tongs, you aid the gaucho by gripping onto the carved piece of meat while he slices it off. I usually ask for one piece so I can taste everything before embarking on round two.

There are at least 16 types of meats on offer. Specialty items such as chicken hearts are by request only. Generally, various cuts of beef, chicken and lamb is offered and you can work your way through the different items.

While you wait, you can munch on the delicious pão de queijo — gluten free Brazilian cheesy bread rolls — but make sure they are still warm when you bite into one because the level of enjoyment is greatly enhanced that way.

Picauha was definitely the favorite of the evening, a traditional Brazilian cut of sirloin seasoned with rock salt is flavorful and tender.

Linguiça are seasoned pork sausages which are slow-roasted and you can really taste all the seasonings used in them. If you are a sausage lover, these are a must. They’re not too big so you can easily devour one or two and still have room for the other items.

Mamiuha is a whole tri tip steak roasted and brought whole to the table. Depending on your preference of temperature, the gaucho will carve it accordingly and you will get a slice of medium beef, or, a lovely pink medium-rare piece for your plate and belly.

I also enjoyed the bacon-wrapped chicken and bacon-wrapped filet, nicely seasoned with the smokiness of the bacon encompassing the meat. The chicken leg is also beautifully flavored and very moist indeed.

The beef skewers were also tasty with onions and bell peppers interspersed between each morsel of meat lending an added aroma to the beef.

There is also salmon, baked and served table-side. A whole salmon fillet is seasoned and baked and brought to the table in its entirety. I’m not a fan of cooked salmon, but if you like salmon, it is definitely a good alternative.

If you have room for dessert after you can try one of the sorbets they have on offer including cabernet, vanilla bean, or blood orange, my personal favorite.

Or alternatively, the flan is a traditional dessert you might enjoy. It is a little much after all that meat though so maybe you should share it with your dining mates.

I have a $50 giftcard to Agora for one of my readers this week. Tell me your experiences at a churrascaria or there lack of one. Remember to leave your FULL name in your comment somewhere. Entries close on Sunday, June 24th. Good Luck!

Agora Churrascaria
1830 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614
Tel: 949-222-9910

Agora Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

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19 thoughts on “meat, glorious meat at Agora Churrascaria

  1. Ahhhh, I have been dieing to go to one of these places for so long!

    But I am a poor man. The prices have always been too high.

  2. I’ve been to Greenfield in Long Beach and M Grill in Koreatown–both good, with M Grill being a “higher-end” experience. I always feel like I get full so fast at these places, which is a damn shame, with all the good stuffs to be had. This place looks exceptionally good.

  3. I had no idea this was in Irvine. Been meaning to try any good Brazilian Steakhouse, thought most if not all local were in LA. Looks great

  4. I have never even heard of this type of restaurant before, but meat on a stick is always welcome! 16 different kinds…I wouldn’t know where to even bigin!

    –Hayley Hansen

  5. I’ve been to Agora once on a company lunch. Food is good, but the price is high.

  6. OOHHH! I saw your posts about this when you were there. I wanna go so bad! Used to go to a place in San Diego called Rei do Gado. Haven’t been to a place like that since we moved to OC. This place looks great.

  7. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Green Field Churrascaria in Long Beach and from what I remember it was filling but not too memorable. This Agora looks much more promising and close by too!

  8. My friends have made praises about Brazilian BBQ, and sadly I have yet to taste it. These pictures are incredible, my stomach says yes but my wallet says no! :)

  9. I’ve heard about this place but never get to try their food. The pictures you posted makes everything appealling, would love to go there. I also like the way they serve their meats it’s something very different.

  10. Love the cheese bread and the meats are so delicious. Hoping to go back some day.

  11. I’ve been dying to try this place but keep forgetting about it! I’m sure my vegetable fearing boyfriend would love it too

  12. I would love to try this place! My vegetable fearing boyfriend would love it too!

  13. I just came across your blog and this restaurant looks AMAZING! Your entire blog is exactly what i’m looking for. Filled with pictures and very informative. I really hope to try this restaurant but being on a college-student-budget, my hopes are very slim. Everything looks delicious especially since I am a meat LOVER!

  14. My review from 2009:

    This is the best churrascaria or Brazilian steakhouse that I have been to in Southern California. The salad bar and sides are great with nice touches like steamed clams and mussels. The star of the show of course is the meat. When e dined the skews of beef, lamb, sausage, chicken and pork kept coming. I’ve never turned the “stop sign” over to red so quickly at a place just so I could catch up with how much meat had arrived. They also have a reasonably priced wine list and make some mean Brazilian cocktails including the Caipirinha that we enjoyed.
    We went here because Brazilians recommended it as the best and we have to agree.

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