Thursday, January 10, 2013

Restaurant Review: Rodizio Brazilian Restaurant, Gaborone

Scott and I typically visit Riverwalk Mall at least once or twice each weekend we’re in Gaborone. Riverwalk is easily the most amusing conglomerate of shops, restaurants, and “entertainment” – i.e. a movie theater. Some of the restaurants we frequent most often, such as a great Indian place called Embassy and a South African chicken chain called Nando’s, as well as our staple grocery stores Pick N’ Pay and Woolworth’s, are all located there. 

Last weekend, we decided to mix up our usual Saturday at Riverwalk by sampling Rodizio Brazilian Restaurant, which we’d heard good things about from friends. According to the website, Rodizio is “an exciting and up-market Brazilian Restaurant situated at Riverwalk Shopping Center, upper level. We are the perfect food and entertainment destination.” What’s not to love about that?!

If compared to the vast majority of Gaborone’s restaurants, which with a few exceptions are mediocre at best, Rodizio would probably get a rating due to relatively decent service, ambience, and array of menu options. However, when measured against any other restaurant in the world at a similar price point (about $50 with tip for two people, not including alcoholic beverages), I give it

My reasons: 

1. Our calamari appetizer and the shrimp in my main course were obviously from a bag of frozen seafood. The menu promised me that a spicy, exotic Brazilian sauce would be oozing tantalizingly over the shrimp, but in reality the shrimp came smothered in an unusual, lukewarm tomato-butter sauce. Again, by Gaborone standards it is pretty cool that they even offer seafood at all (this is a landlocked country and the local tastes are more inclined towards beef than fish), but in the grand scheme of things the calamari/shrimp were nothing special.

2. The food was not Brazilian in any way and tasted the same as food from any other restaurant in Gaborone. Scott got a steak, which is always a safe choice in Botswana as most restaurants can do red meat very well; however, it was served with the same old sides that we see in every single Gaborone restaurant: mashed sweet potato and creamed spinach. Decent food, but not really true to the supposed Brazilian theme of the restaurant. It was more like a Botswana restaurant with a Brazilian name.

Will I go back? Probably! As I said, it wasn't bad at all by Gaborone standards. Did it fulfill its promise to be the "perfect fine dining experience?" I'm going to have to be honest, rather than kind, and say no
Restaurant Rating (ON A SCALE OF TO )

OK, but nothing to trumpet about.
Character is everything, and this food had very little of it! 
OK, but nothing to trumpet about
Again, a little character would be nice. Or at least a smile!
OK, but nothing to trumpet about. 
 Nice view of the sunset, but over a parking lot.
Overall Experience
OK, but nothing to trumpet about
Just like every other restaurant here. 

1 comment:

  1. Your blog makes me miss South Africa (and Botswana!) so much! Nando's and Woolworth's Food Hall are particular favorites... Glad you guys are enjoying yourselves so much :-). There's a Nando's in Kampala, but I am pretty sure it's not a real one :-(.