Choices galore at Pampas Grill 

(Photo by Brett Callwood)

One of the best things about this job is when we find a restaurant by chance. In this case, we were at Hey, Sunshine Kitchen in the mall on Overland Avenue, sampling some vegan delights, when we happened upon Pampas Grill next door – a Brazilian restaurant where you serve yourself from a dazzling selection and then pay by the weight.

“Pampas Grill brings the traditional flavors of Brazilian churrasco to the Los Angeles area,” they say online. “Using the common Brazilian dining tradition of ‘pay by the pound,’ patrons of Pampas Grill have control over their portions and pay only for what they eat.”

Pampas Grill has two local locations – here in Culver City and at the Original Farmers Market. The one in Culver has such a great selection that we could easily have eaten there all weekend and spent way too much money.

As it is, our eyes wide and our bellies empty, we ambled up to the canteen counter with our takeout tray, and sampled small amounts of lots of different things. 

There are three sections – salads, hot dishes, and barbecued meats. On this occasion, with the weight of the tray being an issue, we skipped the salads although the potato salad and pasta salad looked great. Rather, we jumped straight to the hot dishes.

The garlic rice was light, fluffy and aromatic, while the fried plantains were crispy and sweet. The Feijoada, or black bean stew, was rich and thick, with slices of smoked sausage enhancing the flavor of the beans. 

More rich flavors came from the chicken stroganoff, juicy poultry in a delicious, creamy sauce. The beef stew, too, is cooked in a rich gravy and vegetables, and the meat is wonderfully tender.

The fried catfish is crispy and fresh, while the fried yucca is hot and crunchy. The Pão de Queijo, or cheese bread, is gooey and full of cheesy flavor. Every single item proved to be a real treat, and we hadn’t even gotten to the meats yet.

Everything here is cooked in skewers, and you can request your steak as you like it. So we tried some top sirloin, medium-rare. The appropriate skewer is pulled from the flames, and the server cuts off as many slices as you want. The meat was perfect – tender, seasoned beautifully and melting in the mouth. 

We also tried a slice of the leg of lamb, and that too was delicious. They clearly know what they’re doing at the Pampas Grill.

Pampas Grill is located at 3857 Overland Ave., Culver City 90232. Contact 310-836-0080 and visit