Nobody really comes to Iguaçu Falls for the food, and although there is no shortage of sustenance, don’t count on having any serious gourmet experiences.
Seeing as you’re in frontier land, churrasco is the way to go. Bufalo Branco Churrascaria (Rua Engenheiro Rebouças 530, tel. 45/3523-9744, www.bufalobranco.com.br, noon–11:30 p.m. daily, R$35–45) is one of the most popular addresses in town for succulent cuts of barbecued beef (not to mention pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey testicles!?). Non-carnivores can opt for grilled surubim, a local fish, as well as the varied buffet of salads and desserts.
The welcoming Empório da Gula (Av. Brasil 1441, tel. 45/3574-6191, 11:30 a.m.–midnight Sun.–Fri., 4 p.m.–midnight Sat., R$20–30) is another good, and less expensive, choice for churrasco. It also offers a wide variety of other dishes.
Nearby, Barbarela (Av. Brasil 1119, tel. 45/3028-2251, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., R$5–10) is a great place for a snack or quick and healthy meal. The sandwiches are fresh and thick and there are numerous tropical fruit juices to quench your thirst.
To savor fish from the region’s mighty rivers, head to the banks of the Rio Paraná. Located at Foz’s somewhat out-of-the-way Cataratas Iate Clube is the Dourado Restaurante (Av. Guido Welter 800, tel. 45/3523-6776, www.cataratasiateclube.com.br, 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 8–11 p.m. Tues.–Sun., R$20–25). Locals swear by the excellent fresh fish rodízio (weekends there is a buffet) with a choice of dishes such as piapara vinaigrette or surubim moqueca (a stew featuring coconut milk).
Fish dishes and river views are equally appetizing at the Clube Maringá (Rua Dourado 111, tel. 45/3527-3472, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., R$25–35), a simple cantina-style restaurant with a large buffet. One of the specialties is grilled dourado, a large fish known as the “golden salmon,” which is particularly abundant in the Rio Paraná’s waters around Iguaçu.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition