History and geography have given Campo Grande  a distinctive culinary culture. Due to its cow town legacy, it is an excellent place to dig into succulent chunks of grilled beef. Among the many high-quality carnivore temples in town is Casa Colonial (Av. Afonso Pena 3997, tel. 67/3383-3207, www.casacolonial.com.br , 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.–midnight Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., R$20–30), which offers an all-you-can-eat churrasco rodízio in lovely atmospheric surroundings. Due to the city’s significant Japanese community, decent sushi isn’t hard to come by. More popular is sobá, a tasty soup of wheat noodles, shredded omelette, and cilantro. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to ensure prosperity in the coming year, sobá has become a local staple, spawning sobarias where grilled meats, ginger cream, and lots of soya sauce are added to the original recipe.
Soba Shimada (Av. Mato Grosso 621, tel. 67/3321-5475, 6–11 p.m. daily, R$10–20) is good place to dig into this broth as well as other Japanese specialties, including the equally popular dry version with vegetables, called yakissoba.
To indulge in Mato Grossense specialties head to the highly reputed Fogo Caipira (Rua José Antônio 145, tel. 67/3324-1641, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 7–11 p.m. Thurs.–Fri., 11 a.m.–midnight Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., R$20–30). While locals swear by the juicy picanhas (rump steaks), out-of-towners can’t help but be seduced by more exotic Pantaneira specialties such as moqueca de jacaré and pintado with banana-da-terra and urucum (a reddish herb traditionally used by Brazilian Indians) that draw on the wetlands’ fantastic array of fish (and caimans). Portions are enormous and easily satisfy two or three. The house dessert, bolinho de rapadura (a cake made from caramelized sugarcane) is accompanied by sorvete de cachaça.
Comitiva Pantaneira (Rua Dom Aquino 2221, tel. 67/3383-8799, www.comitivapantaneira.com.br , 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. daily) is another good place to savor local farm-style cooking in colorful ranch surroundings. The enormous self-service buffet—featuring umpteen beef, pork, chicken, and bean dishes—allows you to try a little bit of everything.