Rio is a new Brazilian steakhouse that has been open for around a month and last night I decided to pass by and try it out. Unlike regular restaurants, the way the Rio menu works is slightly different since there is just one fixed price of KD15.5. For that price you get to choose one starter from a list of about eight, you get to choose an unlimited amount of side orders and then it’s all you can eat beef, fish and chicken. It’s similar to a buffet except you never have to get out of your seat.
Rio is located on the ground floor of Jawhara Tower in Kuwait City. It’s the same building that has Ubon and a few other restaurant. But from the restaurants that are currently located there, Rio has to be the biggest, probably double the size of the others. I was actually pretty surprised at how spacious Rio was compared to the other restaurants next door. The interior was also very trendy and nicely lit with large windows on two sides creating a very open and spacious look. You could easily forget the fact that you’re not in Kuwait once you’re inside. Once we sat down the waitress proceeded to explain to us how the menu works and then provided us with two coasters, one side had a red circle the other side a green circle. You put the coasters on the table with the green side up when you want your plate refilled and the red side up when you want to stop.
I was with my brother so we got to order two starters, the Carpaccio and the rocket salad. Between the two dishes I surprisingly favored the rocket salad but that’s probably because the balsamic dressing was so ridiculously good. One thing I found a bit annoying was the fact the starters came out so quickly after we ordered and then before we were completely done with the dishes they wanted to clear the plates so they could bring in the main course. I felt a bit rushed but that’s probably due to the lack of experience since they just opened. We ordered a whole bunch of sides to go with our main course, I ordered healthy sides like mushrooms, broccoli and carrots while my brother ordered potato wedges, onion rings and fried banana. We also had 6 or 8 sauces to choose from and we decided to order all of them so we could try them out.
They serve around 14 different kinds of meats and I would say 12 of them are served on skewers that they bring to your table and slice onto your plate. One after the other a waiter would come with a different skewer for us to try like various kinds of steaks, grilled shrimps, grilled chicken and sausages and even grilled pineapple. As they would fill our plate and walk away another skewer would come which meant we didn’t have enough time to start eating. Then I remembered the colored coasters the waitress told us about so we flipped ours to “red” and the food stopped coming. Since there are so many different kinds of skewers there are bound to be some you won’t favor and in my case I didn’t favor a few but the ones I did end up liking, I liked a lot (the sliced chicken and the chicken sausage being my favorites).
I do have a few gripes about the place and it mostly has to do with the service. The whole experience just felt very rushed. Right as soon as we sat down and the waitress explained to us the concept she wanted to take our order right then on the spot even though we didn’t have time to take a look at the menu. Then as I mentioned, the starters came out very quickly after the order was taken and before the starters were completely finished the plates were being cleared for the main course. Then the way you get bombarded with one grill after the other is also a bit overwhelming. Another issue I had is when we had gone through maybe 8 or 10 grills they started coming back with grills that we had already tried. When I asked the waiter if we were done trying all the grills he said yes. Since we were pretty full we decided to ask for the bill. When the bill arrived a waiter came with chicken sausages which we hadn’t been served before. So we each took one. Then I paid the bill and another skewer came this time with beef sausages, again we hadn’t tried those before. So I asked the waiter why he would tell us we were done trying out all the grills when we hadn’t and I don’t think he understood us. I think it must have been just a language issue but it’s kinda awkward to ask for the bill and pay for it while food is still arriving. I also have an issue with the price. At KD15.5 I would have appreciated if soft drinks were included or at the very least have free refills. If you want dessert that is also an additional cost. I think dessert should be included in the price since when you go to a buffet or order a set menu, generally all the food is included.
Rio is an interesting concept and a great looking place in a good location with a ton of parking spaces all around. It’s also probably the closest thing you’re going to get to an all you can eat steak buffet in Kuwait. As a matter of fact, this is probably the closest thing you’re also going to get to a healthy buffet since the menu is mostly made up of grilled protein. My issues mostly revolve around the service but they should easily be fixable by just slowing things down a notch. If you’re interested in trying Rio here is a [Map] to the location and their phone number is 22260788.
Update: I forgot to add they’re currently in a soft launch stage and so are only open from 7PM to 11PM