My eldest son went to Rio for the ‘carnaval’. That was a few years ago, and he is still getting over the samba schools and samba dancers. Fortunately he was not in Pattaya when we went to review Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar. I don’t think his heart could have stood the strain of the Zico’s frenetic be-feathered samba dancers shimmying only one meter away!
After that ‘fun’ introduction, let’s get into the details of what was very much a fun evening for Madame and myself. Zico’s is on Beach Road in Central Pattaya, in front of the Central Festival Shopping Center, which I am assured is the largest beach front shopping center in Asia. Another first for Pattaya!
The Brazilian BBQ is called a Churrascaria dinner and features different meats and seafood, BBQ’d and brought to your table for you to select. And unlike the vendors on our beaches which come up pestering you every two minutes, Zico’s has a ‘go-no-go’ system with colored discs on your table, green on one side and red on the other. The green side is inscribed, “This side up if you’re still hungry,” and the reverse side being red, simply means no more just now, thank you. An elegantly simple and effective system. What a pity it couldn’t be adapted to the beach.
The restaurant itself features a sunken bar on the beach side, a central air-conditioned section and two open areas on each side. There is also an upper deck which can be used for private functions. In the central section there is a cold salad bar with 22 separate items and numerous sauces/accompaniments and along one wall is the glassed-in BBQ, with numerous hot dishes such as a soup, lamb stew, vegetables in a cheese sauce, black bean feijoada, Brazilian rice and mashed potatoes in heavy ironware in front of the glass.
Before we attacked any of the food, we decided to have a glass of house white first. This was an interesting exercise, as Madame chose a glass of the Argentine white (B. 180), whilst I went for the Australian Jacob’s Creek (B. 280). We sampled each other’s and agreed that both were excellent drinking, but the Argentine wine presented more value for money. The old equation of performance versus price.
We began with some salad items for Madame and I decided to try the cream of beetroot soup, which was so good I went up for seconds. But then it was time for the BBQ and turning our discs to green we were regaled with roasted rib eye beef, pork wrapped in bacon, pork spare ribs, chicken, sea bass, salmon, prawns, squid, sausage and lamb. In between, when we were on red discs we stuck with the white wines, though I did also enjoy a Caipirinha, the rum based Brazilian cocktail. It had been a wonderful evening.
There are money saving rotating specials during the week, with Mondays being Ladies Night with the BBQ only B. 599 and includes a free drink. Wednesdays offer a Dine after Nine, where the late BBQ is only B. 499. Saturdays has a Wine Dinner with a free flow of wine for two hours at B. 999. Sundays feature a Beer night where the BBQ plus free flow Singha beer for one hour is only B. 799. Incidentally, children under six are free and between 6-12 years get a 50 percent discount. (All prices are inclusive of service charge but subject to 7 percent VAT.)
And of course, as I mentioned before, there were the samba girls. Larger than life and twice as lively! I would not be exaggerating to say that an evening at Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar is worth it, even if just for the samba dancers alone! The BBQ is top class, and the samba dancers makes for a very special evening. True ‘value added’. Highly recommended.
Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar, Central Festival Pattaya Beach, telephone 038 043 517, open seven days 11 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (a la carte and snacks) and 6.30 p.m. until 11 p.m. for the Brazilian Churrascaria and other Brazilian offers, depending upon the day. Secure parking in Central Festival.