Olá! Eu gosto de batatas. (Hello! I like potatoes.) There you have it, folks! The only Portuguese I know by heart — even though I’ve known Vagner for nearly a decade. (Any Portuguese you see in this blog post is courtesy of him — bless his heart.) Thankfully, food is a universal language, and Vagner has shown me the wonders of Brazilian food in the years since we’ve started dating. I’m a very picky eater, so I was pleasantly surprised when I first ate with his family and loved everything!
Naturally, we were both thrilled when Terra Gaucha Tampa invited us to try their menu in celebration of Vagner’s birthday! It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to visit a rodizio restaurant every year, and I was thrilled to learn that we had a new option in Tampa. If you’ve never been to any of Tampa’s Brazilian steakhouses, you’re in for a treat. Calling it an all-you-can-eat restaurant is a bit of an undersell. It is an experience.
You start your journey at the salad bar, although it contains more than lettuce and tomatoes. There’s plenty of bread, along with fine meats and cheeses — but the real star of the show is the side dishes. Vagner’s absolute favorite Brazilian side dish is arroz carreteiro, which is seasoned rice with veggies and meat. Terra Gaucha has steak in theirs, so we were seriously impressed.
Once you get your fill of salad, it’s time to enjoy the meats, which will seriously blow your mind. The picanha (sirloin cap), fraldinha (flank steak), bacon-wrapped chicken and Parmesan pork left us SHOOK, y’all. Vagner really loved the lamb chops as well. I don’t eat lamb, but based on the look on his face, they seemed like a winner.
Everything was super delicious, but if I had to pick a pleasant surprise, it’d be the delicious cocktails! Vagner ordered the watermelon caipirinha, while I got a raspberry caipiroska. If you’ve never had cachaça, you have to try a caipirinha — it’s Brazil’s signature drink.
We finished off our meal with molten chocolate cake and ice cream! It was a low-key birthday for Vagner compared to some of the previous blowouts we’ve had, but it was perfect for the hectic season we’ve been in. He told me it was his best birthday ever, which he says every year. 😉
Thank you for dinner and dessert, Terra Gaucha — and thanks to the incredible staff for taking care of us, especially Dennis and Carlos! We can’t wait to go back.