What to Eat at Fogo de Chao: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Fogo de Chao menu
Courtesy of Fogo de Chao 

Fogo de Chao is known for its churrasco meats and all-you-can-eat dining style. An evening at this Brazilian steakhouse is often a celebration, a special occasion, or a romantic night on the town. With lots of options for protein and vegetables, the trick to eating a balanced meal is at Fogo is not what you eat, but rather how much you eat.

What Experts Say

"The menu at Fogo de Choa provides diners with a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods including fruits, vegetables. whole grains, and lean proteins, such as pork chops and fish. Because this dining experience is all-you-can-eat, it's a good idea to pace yourself, choose things that you normally wouldn't eat or have access to, and savor each bite. Focusing on the dining experience—the ambiance and the company—can assist you in listening to your body and prevent you from overeating to the point of discomfort."
Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

If you want to get your money's worth at this Brazilian steakhouse, it's smart to go hungry. But if you are following a calorie-controlled diet or have other dietary needs or preferences, it's also wise to have a plan before you go. You'll have the opportunity to taste a wide range of foods, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed and overeat as a result.

Most people who dine at Fogo de Chao choose to enjoy the full churrasco experience, a prix fixe menu that includes continual service of fire-roasted meats carved at your table. "Churrasco" is Portuguese for barbecue and is used to describe grilled meat. At Fogo de Chao, chefs—called "gauchos"—prepare and serve seasoned pork, lamb, chicken, seafood, and of course, several different cuts of beef.

Or, choose an entrée menu item and it typically comes with Fogo de Chao's Market Table and Feijoada Bar. The Market Table is similar to a salad bar and includes fresh vegetables and salad ingredients, cured meats and cheeses, fruit, fresh seasonal soups, and other selections. Feijoada is a traditional black bean stew made with sausage and served with rice, fresh orange, and farofa (baked yuca flour with bacon).

What to Order & Avoid at Fogo de Chao
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Romaine, Spinach, Mixed Greens (Market Table) Olive Mix With Citrus (Market Table)
New York Strip (Churrasco) Tomahawk, 32 oz (Churrasco)
Horseradish Sauce (Sauces) Mintchurri Sauce (Sauces)
Black Beans (Feijoada Bar) Farofa (Feijoada Bar)
Grilled Salmon (Seafood Entrees) Chilean Sea Bass (Seafood Entrees)
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (Chilled Seafood) Seafood Tower (Chilled Seafood)
Seasonal Fruit & Yogurt Parfait (Brunch) Waffle (Brunch)
Papaya Cream (Dessert) Chocolate Brigadeiro Cake (Dessert)

Most Nutritious Option

The most nutritious option at Fogo de Chao is the market table bar with romaine, spinach, or mixed greens and a selection of fresh vegetables including cucumber, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes.

Market Table

Fernando Quintas, the Fogo de Chao restaurant manager in Minneapolis, recommends spending most of your time at the Market Table if you want a nutritious, balanced meal. If you start your meal with fresh vegetables, fruit, and fiber-rich whole grains, you'll be less likely to overdo higher-calorie, higher-fat dishes later in the meal. And you are welcome to return to the Market Table as often as you like.

✓ Romaine, Spinach, or Mixed Greens

Start with a nutritious salad base of romaine, spinach, or mixed greens for zero calories. One serving of romaine (about a cup) provides 20 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 3g carbohydrates, almost 2g fiber, 1g protein, and 0mg sodium.

For a full salad, top it with cucumbers (5 calories per serving), asparagus (6 calories per serving), cherry tomatoes (5 calories per serving), a slice of smoked salmon (30 calories), and Italian dressing (70 calories).

✗ Olive Mix With Citrus

While the Market Table has many nutrient-dense choices,, you'll want to avoid certain toppings if you follow a low-calorie or low-sodium eating plan. The olive mix with citrus has 160 calories, 12g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrates, 1g protein, and 360mg sodium per serving.

Churrasco

The most popular selections on the Fogo de Chao menu are the grilled meats, particularly beef. While red meat (in general) tends to be higher in fat and calories than other types of meat, the serving size is relatively modest at this restaurant, especially compared to other steakhouses. Most beef selections are 2 ounces or less.

✓ New York Strip

A single serving of the New York strip steak at Fogo de Chao provides 59 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 12g protein, and 52mg sodium. Other leaner meat options at Fogo de Chao include:

  • Alcatra (top sirloin): 120 calories, 7g fat, 12g protein, 52mg sodium per 1.6-ounce slice
  • Beef ancho (rib eye): 120 calories, 8g fat, 12g protein, 52mg sodium per 1.6-ounce slice
  • Fraldina (bottom sirloin): 100 calories, 6g fat, 12g protein, 50mg sodium per 1.6-ounce slice
  • Frango (chicken breast with bacon): 80 calories, 3g fat, 13g protein, 148mg sodium per 1.5-ounce piece
  • Pork picanha: 92 calories, 4g fat, 12g protein, 55mg sodium per 1.7-ounce slice

✗ Tomahawk, 32 ounce

Fogo de Chao also serves some meats in full cuts. The 32-ounce tomahawk provides 1,620 calories, 108g fat, 41g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 162g protein, and 702mg sodium.

Sauces

Fogo de Chao offers a few sauces to accompany the grilled meats. Keep in mind that sauces do add calories to your meal along with flavor.

✓ Horseradish Sauce

If you're craving sauce with your main dish, try the horseradish sauce. One spoon will provide 25 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 61mg sodium.

✗ Mintchurri Sauce

While packed with leafy herbs, the mintchurri sauce has an olive oil base. It provides 90 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 60mg sodium per spoonful.

Feijoada Bar

Feijoada is a traditional Portuguese bean and meat stew and serves as inspiration for this part of Fogo de Chao's menu. These Brazilian sides include traditional favorites and feature plenty of options to pair with your meal.

✓ Black Beans

Stick with the traditional black beans for the most nutritious side. A single 3-ounce serving provides 50 calories, 5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 133mg sodium. You'll also consume 2 grams of fiber per serving.

✗ Farofa

This traditional side dish is made from cassava—or yuca—flour and is eaten similarly to rice. One 2-ounce serving has 210 calories, 9g fat, 2g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 310mg sodium.

Seafood Entrees

If you're pescatarian or just want to skip the meat, Fogo de Chao does offer a couple options. Choose between the grilled salmon and the Chilean sea bass.

✓ Grilled Salmon

The grilled salmon comes with chimichurri sauce and grilled asparagus. The entire dish provides 570 calories, 35g fat, 5g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 58g protein, and 1,467mg sodium.

✗ Chilean Sea Bass

The Chilean sea bass, served with papaya vinaigrette and grilled asparagus, has 730 calories, 22g fat, 2g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 1,150mg sodium. Without the vinaigrette, the dish has 600 calories and 3g carbohydrates.

Chilled Seafood

The chilled seafood part of the menu features some of the restaurant's most popular appetizers. Here, you'll choose between a shrimp cocktail, lobster and shrimp combo, chilled lobster, smoked salmon, or a seafood tower.

✓ Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

One bowl of the jumbo shrimp cocktail (approximately 8 ounces) provides 180 calories, 1.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 16g carbohydrates, 26g protein, and 565mg sodium. Pair it with the malagueta cocktail sauce and you'll add 50 calories, 10.5g carbohydrates, and 342mg sodium.

✗ Seafood Tower

The larger seafood tower comes with lobster tails, lobster claws, shrimp, snow crab legs, and mussels. Six total servings come in this seafood tower and a single serving provides 455 calories, 20g fat, 11g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrates, 58g protein, and 2,398mg sodium.

If you're craving lobster and shrimp, consider ordering the combo, which has 210 calories per serving.

Brunch

While Fogo de Chao is best known for its churrasco experience, the restaurant does offer a brunch menu of meats, market table options, and sides. In addition, it features more traditional breakfast and brunch options for diners.

✓ Seasonal Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

The seasonal fruit and yogurt parfait is the most nutritious brunch option on the menu. It provides 170 calories, 3.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 10g protein, and 140mg sodium.

✗ Waffle

The waffle brunch dish provides 620 calories, 30g fat, 15g saturated fat, 78g carbohydrates, 27g protein, and 1,080mg sodium per waffle.

Dessert

You can finish your meal with a sweet treat at Fogo de Chao. The restaurant offers a selection of classic restaurant dessert fare including pies, cheesecakes, and cakes. It also has Brazilian favorites including flan, caramelized pineapple, and brigadero cake.

✓ Papaya Cream

The papaya cream dessert at Fogo de Chao features traditional Brazilian flavors and is a combination of vanilla ice cream, papaya fruit, and crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). One serving has 220 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 58mg sodium.

✗ Chocolate Brigadeiro Cake

The chocolate brigadeiro cake is a traditional Brazilian dessert. It's a truffle chocolate that's covered in a cookie crust and coated with more chocolate. One plate has 1,270 calories, 82g fat, 49g saturated fat, 122g carbohydrates, 18g protein, 540mg sodium, and 104g sugar.

Not surprisingly, the dessert menu is filled with high-calorie selections. Almost all of the cake options provide nearly 900 calories per slice. However, many of these choices are larger in size and can easily be split between two, three, or even four diners.

Diet-Specific Options

Fogo de Chao offers options for diners on gluten-free, low-carb, low-FODMAP, diabetes-friendly, and low-fat diets. But as a steakhouse, it does not offer many selections for vegetarian and vegan diners.

Gluten-Free

Fogo de Chao offers many naturally gluten-free items for its guests. From the market table offerings to the churrasco meats offered table-side, you'll have plenty to choose from if you're dining gluten-free. For a protein and vegetable-packed dinner, choose the Market Table salad bar and pair with your favorite churrasco protein. But do speak to the manager or your server so they can help you avoid gluten cross-contamination.

  • Market table vegetables and salad
  • Churrasco meats including sirloin, rib eye, lamb, filet mignon, wagyu steak, tomahawk steak
  • Jumbo shrimp cocktail
  • Pao de queijo bread (made with yuca flour)
  • Crème brulée

Low-Carb

The churrasco menu at Fogo de Chao is also naturally low-carb. For a nutritious, low-carb meal, choose a Market Table salad and a selection of meats from the churrasco offerings.

  • Market Table vegetables and salad
  • All churrasco meats
  • Chilean sea bass with asparagus
  • Black beans
  • Polenta

Low-FODMAP

A low-FODMAP diet limits certain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that can cause digestive symptoms in some people. At Fogo de Chao, opt for the lobster and shrimp cocktail and either polenta or white rice to eat low-FODMAP.

  • Market Table vegetables and salad (except for onions, asparagus, mushrooms)
  • All churrasco meats except sausage
  • Lobster and shrimp cocktail
  • Polenta
  • White rice

Diabetes-Friendly

Diners who follow a diabetes-friendly diet often choose low-carb options, and the Fogo de Chao picks for this diet are similar to the low-carb choices. Here, opt for the Chilean sea bass with asparagus dinner.

  • Market Table vegetables and salad
  • All churrasco meats
  • Chilean sea bass with asparagus
  • Lobster and shrimp combo

Low-Fat

While some of the churrasco offerings do qualify as low-fat per serving, you'll want to avoid the ribs, tomahawk, Wagyu steaks, and bacon-wrapped options. Instead, choose the Market Table salad with a few lean churrasco options.

  • Market Table vegetables and salad
  • Churrasco meats including top sirloin, rib eye, lamb leg, lamb steak, beef ribs, bottom sirloin, chicken breast, New York strip, picanha, porterhouse steak
  • Black beans
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Jumbo shrimp cocktail
  • Papaya cream

Vegetarian

As a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao does not have too many options for its vegetarian diners. Some locations do offer a roasted cauliflower steak, and you can also make a hearty meal from the Market Table buffet; ordering the Market Table-only entrée also allows you to order Brazilian side dishes as well.

  • Market Table vegetables and salad
  • Roasted cauliflower steak
  • Pao de queijo bread
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • All desserts

Vegan

The main vegan option at Fogo de Chao is the Market Table buffet. Stick to vegetables and salad for the vegan-friendly dinner.

  • Market table vegetables and salad
  • White rice

Food Allergies and Safety

Fogo de Chao offers options for gluten-free diets and notes that it can accommodate many dietary requests. The restaurant does not publish nutrition or allergen information online, instead encouraging diners to check with a restaurant manager at their location.

A Word From Verywell

Portion control is tricky when you dine at any all-you-can-eat restaurant. Steakhouses are especially tricky because even though meat choices like beef and pork provide health benefits, they are often high in saturated fat and calories.

Most of us won't visit a steakhouse like Fogo de Chao often enough to make a major impact on our overall diet plan. But practicing mindful eating habits when you dine out is a smart habit to get into for long-lasting health and wellness.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lettuce, cos or romaine, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  2. American Heart Association. Meat, poultry, and fish: Picking healthy proteins.

By Malia Frey
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.