All about food. All about Edmonton.
There’s buffets, there’s steakhouses…and then there’s Pampa. The restaurant is a combination of the two, but with a twist: the meat is served directly to you at the table, rather than sitting on a hot plate for hours on end. This is referred to as “Rodízio” style (fixed-price, all-you-can-eat, table-side meat service).
There’s very little (if anything) about Pampa that I don’t like. The way that the dining experience is set up ensures that you’ll be fed speedily, you’ll receive the very best in customer service, and you’ll be sure to find something that you like.
Confused? Here’s how it works.
Of course, you can just keep going, if that’s what you prefer. The best part about Pampa is that you can taste everything there is to offer and choose your favourites from that. Second round? Just get sirloin, or select only the garlic-crusted pork tenderloin. It’s entirely up to you.
The servers at Pampa really know their stuff – try asking about a particular wine or dessert. They don’t have to worry about taking and delivering food orders like they would in other restaurants, so they’re there simply to bring you drinks and give you the best possible service the restaurant has to offer.
Each diner is given a meat token, with one red and one green side. These act as indicators for the servers with the meat skewers – they won’t approach you unless your token is showing the green side. This gives you the chance to take a breather if you’re feeling a bit meat-clogged, or prevents servers from constantly approaching your table when you’ve got a bit much on your plate (literally).
The cold salad bar is great because it’s nice to balance the hoards of meat with something a bit lighter and greener – just be careful not to fill up on carbohydrates such as bread, rice, or pasta, otherwise you might not make it through Pampa’s entire meat assortment offering. The salad bar boasts gourmet treats such as Capicola on Pineapple, Quinoa, an Olive selection, Roasted Mushrooms, and Arugula with Mint Sauce (this was my concoction and it turned out to be quite tasty).
The meats, however, are where Pampa steals the show. Servers with skewers gracefully glide in at a regular pace, offering you one of the following:
Everyone has their favourites. I tend to favour the red meat (the top sirloin and rib eye are my preferences), while Taner prefers the pork and chicken cuts. You need to taste them all to determine your top cuts, so I’ll leave the judgement up to you. Each cut, however, is deliciously seasoned and roasted over a charcoal grill, resulting in tender meat selections just bursting with flavour and a smoky taste.
Diners are given a small set of tongs to take the meat as the servers are slicing it for you. These servers are usually quite generous; if you’d like a little more of a particular cut, though, don’t wait for them to come around again – just ask for a little more! They’re extremely obliging.
The dining experience at Pampa, other than the quick service and the excitement of wondering which meat will turn the corner next, is augmented by the beautiful artwork and red and black décor theme, giving you the impression that you’re eating in a true international restaurant. It’s bright, appealing, and fun, with a classy atmosphere that lends itself to the brilliance of the food.
Pampa’s drink list, also, is off the charts. With a wide selection of wines, beers, and Brazilian-style cocktails, there’s surely a drink for every kind of connoisseur. I tasted the Salton Series Malbec during this visit, which was extremely smooth and went really well with all of my orders of red meat.
If you have any room left at the end of your meal, you must try one of Pampa’s Brazilian-style desserts. There are four, and the server will bring the sample tray to your table to give you a visual sense of what it is you’d be ordering. I think that this visual trick would rather sell more desserts than not, since each one looks like a perfect, light palate cleanser to end your gigantic meal. We ordered the Chocolate Mousse and the Manjar de Coco, both of which were light and flavourful. The small dessert portions were perfect, too.
I’d recommend Pampa to anyone, except for budding vegans, vegetarians, or pescetarians (there are no seafood options). We didn’t have to wait for anything – I’d booked a table, so we were seated immediately, our drinks came very quickly, and there was a constant flow of meat servers coming to our table.
The only downside (which is always the case at a restaurant of this caliber) is the price: $45 a head for dinner service. If that’s a bit steep for you, I’d try the lunch service at $22 a head. You still get a great selection of meats and cold food without breaking the bank and, if you’ve never dined at Pampa before, you get a chance to test the waters and see if you’d like to return for an evening meal.
My guess is that you will.
Nota bene: I’ve eaten here several times and I wouldn’t recommend that ladies wear high heels. Pampa’s floors can get quite slippery (while dry) and, unless you’re extremely confident in your stiletto powers, I’d avoid anything to make you go bottoms up during your salad bar run.
Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse
9929 109 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1H6
Mon – Fri – 11:30 – 1:30
Mon – Thu – 5:00 – 9:00
Fri – 5:00 – 10:00
Sat – 3:00 – 10:00
Sun – 4:00 – 8:00