The Absolute Best Side Dishes To Order At Fogo De Chão

Entrance of Fogo de Chão
Entrance of Fogo de Chão - Aaronp/bauer-griffin/Getty Images

Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chão is renowned for its churrasco-style meats that are cooked over open flames and carved tableside. Like any steakhouse worth its salt, the chain also offers an array of sides to complement the meats. These include Brazilian dishes, seasonal specialties, and classic steakhouse offerings. So often, side dishes play second fiddle to meats. However, Fogo de Chão is one of those steakhouses where the sides may just outshine the steaks.

Dining at Fogo de Chão is slightly different than your typical American steakhouse. For one, the Churrasco Experience is an all-you-can-eat deal where gauchos will continuously bring meats and sides to your table. You can also visit the Market Table and Feijoada Bar as many times as you like to pile your plate with tasty side dishes. Plus, there are plenty of interesting Brazilian dishes you won't find at your local Morton's or Ruth's Chris.

Not sure which sides will pair best with your protein? Not to worry because we've got you covered. According to customers, these are the absolute best side dishes to try at Fogo de Chão.

Read more: Steakhouse Chains Where The Sides Outshine The Steaks

Pão De Queijo

Pão de queijo at Fogo de Chão
Pão de queijo at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

The first food item to grace your table at Fogo de Chão will likely be a bowl of pão de queijo. These fluffy cheese buns are a popular Brazilian snack that can be served any time of day and with pretty much any type of food. They're pillowy with just the right amount of chewiness and are packed with cheesy goodness. Fogo de Chão makes them with sweet and sour yuca flour and Parmesan cheese. The buns are baked in the oven until golden and typically arrive at the table still warm. Even better, they're gluten-free.

It's not often that you hear people raving about the complimentary bread at a steakhouse, but Fogo de Chão is not your typical spot. Many customers have commented on how the pão de queijo was a major highlight of the meal. Customers have called them "insanely good" and "addictive." One reviewer said, "The standout was the Brazilian cheese bread, incredibly chewy and delicious -- multiple rounds were a must." You can eat them on their own, use them to sop up sauce, or make mini sandwiches with the buns.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes in a bowl
Mashed potatoes in a bowl - Tatiana Volgutova/Shutterstock

Fogo de Chão made our list of the steakhouse chains with the best mashed potatoes thanks to its stellar rendition of the dish. The chain amps up the flavor of its mashed potatoes with drawn butter, roasted garlic, cracked pepper, and fresh chives. Customers have great things to say about the mashed potatoes, using adjectives like creamy, garlicky, and to-die-for. They're an excellent complement to the meats and as one reviewer said, sides like this "balance out the meal."

Just like the pão de queijo and many of the other side dishes on offer, the mashed potatoes are bottomless with the Churrasco Experience, so you can order as many servings as you like. That could get you into trouble though. The only complaint that some people have about the potatoes is that they're so good you may tempted to load up on them right away. As one diner said, "[I] suggest eating them sparingly so you won't get too stuffed before the meat comes in."

Fogo Feijoada

Fogo Feijoada at Fogo de Chão
Fogo Feijoada at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil, so of course Fogo de Chão offers a version of this traditional bean and meat stew. There are many different variations of the dish across Brazil that incorporate black, red, or brown beans and different types of meat like beef, pork, and trotters. Fogo de Chão makes its feijoada with black beans and sausage over white rice. The chain suggests topping the side dish with fresh orange, farofa, and malagueta hot sauce.

The Feijoada Bar at Fogo de Chão is self-serve, so you can load up on as much feijoada as you like and top it with any of the condiments and garnishes on offer. This is another side dish where you might want to practice some restraint though, as it can be pretty filling. As one reviewer said, "The feijoada (black bean stew) at the salad bar was hearty and delicious, and if I wasn't holding out for more meat, I would have gotten more feijoada." Another diner called it, "Rich, flavorful, and incredibly satisfying."

Grilled Cheese With Honey

Grilled cheese at Fogo de Chão
Grilled cheese at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

There's something so appealing about secret menu items. Maybe it's because the dishes feel exclusive or somewhat forbidden. Or perhaps it's just that they're an exciting departure from the usual offerings. The grilled cheese with honey is not listed on the menu at every Fogo de Chão, but many diners say you can request it as a side dish or starter. You can also have it as a vegetarian main or even a dessert. If you want to show off your foreign language skills, ask for the queijo assado, as it's called in Portuguese.

Fogo de Chão introduced the queijo assado in 2019, and it was an instant hit. The dish features firm coalho cheese grilled and drizzled with honey that is infused with malagueta peppers. The result is a beautiful combination of salty, sweet, and slightly spicy flavors. If you don't see it on the Market Table or menu, be sure to ask your server if they can bring some to the table. One diner described it as, "A true stand out by way of flavor diversity."

Seasonal Salads

Salad at Fogo de Chão
Salad at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Fogo de Chão's Market Table is essentially an all-you-can-eat salad bar. However, don't expect the same old limp lettuce leaves and anemic looking tomatoes you find at so many others. The chain has a stellar line-up of classic salads and unique creations to choose from for those who want a little greenery with their meats. The seasonal salads are usually huge hits with diners for their interesting flavor combos and fresh ingredients that are at their peak.

Regulars of Fogo de Chão love that the seasonal salads change a few times a year, so there's always something new and exciting to try at the Market Table. Past creations have included the pear and arugula salad with goat cheese and a balsamic glaze and the crispy chickpea kale salad. If you have more traditional tastes, you can opt for the Caesar salad or create your own with the veggies on offer. If you're craving just salad, you can order the Market Table only, which is a great option for vegetarians or those who aren't in the mood for a full line-up of Fogo de Chão meats.


Bowl of farofa
Bowl of farofa - fogo / Instagram

Farofa is one of the quintessential things to eat at a Brazilian steakhouse. Fogo de Chão makes the traditional side dish with toasted yuca flour sauteed with bacon, sausages, onions, green olives, and spices. The toasted flour soaks up all the flavors of the meats and spices, and gives it a slightly earthy, smoky flavor.  The dish is typically used more like a condiment than a stand-alone side dish. You can sprinkle it on top of rice, beans, or salad. If you want to eat in true Brazilian fashion, dip pieces of your meat into your farofa.

Your server may bring a dish of farofa to the table along with other sides as part of the Churrasco Experience. However, many customers say you have to specifically ask for it. Alternatively, you might be able to find it at the Feijoada Bar, as it's a pretty common and delicious topping for the stew. "You must try the famous feijoada over rice, with a bit of farofa mixed in -- with a caipirinha to follow," said one diner.

Black Pepper Candied Bacon

Black pepper candied bacon at Fogo de Chão
Black pepper candied bacon at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Let's be honest -- you're probably not going to Fogo de Chão for the vegetables. Sure, they make a great addition to the meal, but meat is the main focus here. We wouldn't judge you if you wanted to add some all-meat side dishes to your Market Table plate. One dish that diners go crazy for is the black pepper candied bacon. It's sweet, salty, meaty, crispy, and has just a hint of heat.

The ingredients for the black pepper candied bacon are pretty simple -- it's just bacon coated with brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. However, once it's in the oven, the magic starts to happen. The heat causes the sugars to caramelize, which creates a beautiful glaze that turns the bacon almost into a bark. It's the perfect brunch side dish, although you can find it at the Market Table during lunch and dinner as well. Pete Robbins of Half Past First Cast said, "Fogo makes peppered candied bacon that I would buy by the pound at any cost if I could. ... If you don't see it, ask for it."


Fired polenta at Fogo de Chão
Fired polenta at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Brazil is home to a melting pot of cultures, each of which has influenced the country's food in some way. One dish that the Italians contributed to the culinary landscape is polenta. Fogo de Chão offers a crispy polenta side dish that is similar to thick-cut fries. Cornmeal and water are simmered in a pan until thick and then cooled in the refrigerator overnight. After it sets, the polenta is cut into pieces, pan-fried until crisp, and served hot with grated Parmesan cheese.

It's easy to see why people love the polenta at Fogo de Chão. The crunchiness of the fry-like sticks are a great match for succulent grilled meats. They're also perfect for dipping in the many sauces on offer. Many customers say the polenta is their go-to side dish. "I had never had polenta fries and they're my new favorite food," said one diner. Another smitten patron said, "As long as you aren't on keto, you must try their fried polenta. I have dreams about that stuff."

Caramelized Bananas

Caramelized bananas at Fogo de Chão
Caramelized bananas at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Sweet dishes aren't just for dessert at Fogo de Chão. Caramelized bananas are a popular side dish that many people eat alongside Fogo's grilled meats. The sweetness of the bananas helps cut through the richness and saltiness of the meat, as well as other creamy and crispy sides. The chain claims the bananas also help stimulate the palate throughout the meal. Of course, you can always save your caramelized bananas for last if you prefer to end your meal on a sweet note.

Once again, there is nothing fancy about the preparation of this side dish. The bananas are simply sliced in half and sauteed in a pan with butter and brown sugar. Just before serving, they're sprinkled with cinnamon. Despite having only a few basic ingredients, the caramelized bananas make a big impression on diners. One customer said, "The bananas remind me of the bananas my mom would make when I was growing up." Another reviewer said the bananas were the highlight of the entire experience.

Bolo De Fubá

Bolo de fubá at Fogo de Chão
Bolo de fubá at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

With its all-you-can-eat meat concept, many people think Fogo de Chão is primarily a lunch or dinner spot. What you might not know is Fogo also does a pretty spectacular brunch. In fact, it's among the steakhouse chains that serve the best brunch in the country. You can opt for the meat-centric Churrasco Experience with full access to the Market Table or order a la carte dishes like waffles, omelets, seafood, and steak. One brunch side dish that many say you shouldn't sleep on is the bolo de fubá.

If you're a fan of coffee cake, bola de fubá should be right up your alley. It's basically a Brazilian corn cake that's light but still moist, slightly crumbly, and sweet without being a sugar bomb. At Fogo it's served with whipped caramelized banana cream, powdered sugar, and fresh berries. It works well as a brunch starter with coffee, a palate cleanser between dishes of steak and eggs, or as a sweet dish to end the meal. Some diners love it so much they've tried to replicate it at home.

Seasonal Soups

Carrot and ginger soup at Fogo de Chão
Carrot and ginger soup at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

Before you dive into all those delicious meats at Fogo, you might want to whet your appetite with something light and flavorful. Soup is a great starter because it can wake up the taste buds without weighing you down too much. Saunter over to the Market Table and you'll find a selection of soups made with fresh ingredients that are in season. In the spring that might be sweet pea and asparagus, while in the summer it could be tomato and mozzarella. Fall and winter soups could include lentil or butternut squash.

There are a few Fogo de Chão Market Table hacks everyone should know. First, if your main goal is to pack in as much meat as you can, you need to take it easy on the heavy salad bar dishes, and that includes soups. If the appetizer is packed with dense veggies and grains, you may want to give it a skip. If meat isn't your main focus, you can make a whole multi-course meal just out of the Market Table. You can have a hearty salad with soup on the side, create a veggie plate with sauces for dipping, and end with fresh tropical fruit.

Antipasti And Charcuterie

Charcuterie at Fogo de Chão
Charcuterie at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

The Market Table is also great for creating DIY side dishes out of tasty charcuterie and antipasti offerings. What's the difference between charcuterie and antipasti? At Fogo de Chão, the charcuterie selection typically consists of cured meats like prosciutto, salami, and chorizo, as well as cheeses, mustard, and pickles. The antipasti spread often includes marinated or roasted vegetables, like marinated mushrooms and roasted zucchini, eggplant, and artichokes.

The key to creating a charcuterie and antipasti side dish at Fogo is to think about what would go best with your preferred grilled meats. Strong cheeses like blue cheese and gorgonzola can pair nicely with full-flavored red meat like the picanha and New York strip. Roasted veggies can go well with chicken, while sweeter items like roasted peppers and fruit can pair well with pork. Don't be afraid to try new flavor combinations. After all, part of the fun at Fogo de Chão is mixing and matching different foods.

Grilled Pineapple

Grilled pineapple over fire
Grilled pineapple over fire - Eyecrave Productions/Getty Images

Grilled pineapple is a common side dish at many Brazilian steakhouses. The pineapple is typically coated in brown sugar, grilled, and dusted with cinnamon. It's a great side dish because the acidity and sweetness of the fruit counterbalance fatty cuts of meat like top sirloin and sausage. However, peruse the menu at Fogo de Chão and you probably won't see grilled pineapple on there. If you're lucky, it might come out as a special side dish. Some diners say you can also get it via special request.

One Tripadvisor reviewer said, "The grilled pineapple was probably the best thing we had all night. Do not sleep on that. Warm pineapple with the cinnamon sugar churro seasoning on top, it hit the spot perfectly." However, the reviewer also commented that the gauchos never came around with the pineapple, so they had to ask for it twice. Fortunately, the servers at Fogo de Chão can be very accommodating. From what the few lucky patrons who have had it say, the grilled pineapple is definitely worth requesting.


Roasted artichokes at Fogo de Chão
Roasted artichokes at Fogo de Chão - fogo / Instagram

One of the greatest things about Fogo de Chão is how customizable your meal can be. You can pair your meats, seafood, or veggies with fan-favorite side dishes from the menu, create your own gourmet sides from the Market Table, or go off-menu with special requests. Therefore, narrowing down the best side dishes was no easy task. To get a better sense of which ones rank the highest, we looked at what customers had to say. We scoured hundreds of reviews on platforms like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google reviews to see which side dishes were most recommended by diners for their great taste, uniqueness, and perfect pairing ability with other items on the menu.

Read the original article on Mashed.