Friday, July 16, 2010

Ipanema: Brazilian Meat Restaurant (Churrascaria) in Gwanghwamun (Jongno)

Directions and map at bottom of post.
Ipanema is pretty much your standard Brazilian restaurant. All-you-can-eat meat on skewers, nicely-set tables, a salad bar that comes along with the meal. The cost is 26,000 won (13,000 won for children) plus VAT value-added tax. In summary, although Ipanema is a more than adequate restaurant and will certainly fill you up with meat, it is a bit substandard compared to the better Brazilian places in Seoul.

Here's a breakdown of what Ipanama has to offer:

Salad Bar: Of course, there is feijoada (for those that aren't familiar with it, a delicious stew of beans and pork). There is also some really good grilled vegetables, raw salmon, standard salad components, sushi, fruit, two soups, and a cinnamon punch. W
What this salad bar excels: really good grilled vegetables and its cinnamon punch.
Where it falls short: soups are bit bland and there aren't many substantive dishes on the salad bar. Other Brazilian places will often have multiple dishes on the salad bar besides just feijoada: e.g. shrimp-fried rice with egg, or, like Copacabana in Itaewon, chicken stroganoff and beef chili, each of which is almost a meal by itself. In comparison to other Brazilian restaurants, the salad bar here definitely falls a bit short.

Meat: The meat here lives up to the quality of other Brazilian places. There are all the standards: chicken, beef, sausage, lamb, pork. Unfortunately, although the meat selection is adequate, I did not get any of the really rare beef that is in the meat rotation at other Brazilian restaurants, and which I love so much I usually feel compelled to nab two or three thick slices of at a time (you never know when the waiter will come back with more). Additionally, although this place covered all the standards, it didn't bring around any specialties: e.g. the special course of garlic-infused beef at Copacabana or the truly wonderful "butter-steak" that I once had at another Brazilian restaurant (now sadly gone).

Non-meat courses: There was no cinnamon-pineapple here. That's a big minus. One of the hallmarks of eating at a Brazilian restaurant in Seoul is when, at the end of the meal, after you're full to the brim with meat, they bring around the pineapple on a skewer, often dusted with a coating of cinnamon (mmmm, pineapple). Usually the perfect end to a gut-busting meal. But alas, sadly absent from Ipanema. They do bring around potatoes done on a skewer, but it just isn't the same. (In fact, the potatoes are tough and hard to eat.)

But don't get me wrong. If you're in Gwanghwamun and you really feel like a boatload of meat, this place will satisfy. It's just that it is not quite as good as the other Brazilian restaurants in Seoul.

Go out Gwanghwamun Exit 6 and walk straight. Keep going, and follow the street while curves to the left a bit. At the McDonald's, turn left. After a short ways, you will see Ipanema on the right side of the street.

If it is more convenient, you can also go out Seodaemun Station, Line 5; or City Hall Station, Line 1 and 2. Use the interactive map included in this post to find the how to walk from the station to Ipanema.

View Ipanema Brazilian Restaurant Location in a larger map


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