Site Seen: Rei do Gado

    One bit of advice before going to Rei do Gado in downtown: Make sure you have an empty stomach.

    Photos by Carina Weber/Guardian

    Rei do Gado is an excellent choice for a night-on-the-town dinner. Not only are the choices limitless, but the prices are reasonable, the food is beyond delicious and the atmosphere is superb for socializing.

    Though it’s a Brazilian steakhouse, Rei do Gado is home to a massive buffet where you can sample anything from fried bananas to scalloped potatoes. The restaurant carries as many as 15 different kinds of meat, all of which are slow-roasted on skewers. The main kitchen — of which curious diners can catch a glimpse — displays spinning skewers that sit on two platform levels. The exciting part of the experience, besides consuming the meat, is watching the beefy waiters cut the meat right off the skewers into your plate, just like the Brazilian cowboys, or Gauchos, do in Brazil.

    The most popular meat is the Picanha or top sirloin cap, but those who are partial to poultry can try turkey wrapped in bacon. The meat is always moist and melts in your mouth. Some of it has seasonings baked right in like the Picanha No Alho, or top sirloin with garlic.

    Don’t worry about eating too much meat: You can signal to the waiters that you have had enough by simply flipping a wooden pin on your table from green, which means more meat, to red, which means stop.

    But that’s not all. Rei do Gado carries decadent desserts, including tiramisu and mango mousse cakes. Look out for the samba dance performance every evening at 7 p.m.

    Rei Do Gado

    939 Fourth Avenue

    San Diego, CA 92102

    Gaslamp Quarter

    619. 702. 8464

    www.reidogado.net

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