Papagaio: Brazilian food for meat-lovers only - review

You can choose the Brazilian table, which costs NIS 269 per eater, and for this you get unlimited amounts of grilled meat with a taste of everything on the menu.

 Papagaio (photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)
(photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)

We have been visiting Papagaio as a family for nearly 30 years now, and until this moment, I had no idea it means parrot. Well, you live and learn.

It’s a very popular meat restaurant in a good position, looking out over the Herzliya Marina, with great views of the sea, the yachts bobbing up and down in the water and the evening sky, which, if you get there at sunset, is exquisite.

The food’s pretty good, too. You can choose the Brazilian table, which costs NIS 269 per eater, and for this you get unlimited amounts of grilled meat with a taste of everything on the menu.

This seemed excessive even for us, and we chose instead a more modest meal from the regular menu. But the chef was determined to have us eat the Brazilian offering, too, and an endless stream of various meats arrived at our table. It was impossible not to at least taste them.

All you can eat or pick from the regular menu

This epic meal begins, in classic Israeli fashion, with hot pita and dips, with salads. The dips were chimichurri, garlic with herbs, red pepper salsa and plain mayonnaise, and this was enough to stave off starvation until the real food appeared.

 Papagaio (credit: ALEX DEUTSCH) Papagaio (credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)

The salads were all quite original. They included pickled beetroot, tehina and an eggplant salad that seemed to be made from equal parts vegetable and garlic.

The dish I liked best the whole evening was a sizzling iron pan of fried mushrooms. They were cut into slices, garnished with sesame seeds and spring onion, and over the whole dish was a mildly sweet teriyaki sauce. It was delicious and had the distinction of being the only vegan dish on the menu (NIS 66).

We next tried the chicken wings, which is always a favorite. These were less sticky and sweet than usual, but as a starter they do the job admirably – not much actual meat, but tasty and challenging to eat (NIS 69).

For the main course I chose pargit, and my companion his usual beloved lamb chops. The pargit was lightly grilled and came with a honey and mustard sauce, served, attractively, in a lettuce leaf. The lamb was pronounced “divine.” Lamb chops cost NIS 189, and the pargit (translated to English as spring chicken steak) NIS 89.

We each had an individual salad bowl, which consisted of baby leaves, cherry tomatoes, shredded cabbage and grated carrot, with quite a good vinaigrette dressing.

Other dishes brought for our approval were feijoada, a rice and sausage South American treat, chicken drumsticks in tomato sauce, and lamb kebabs, which were slightly rare and definitely had that special lamb flavor. Also a fat, juicy sausage, which, after the mushrooms, was my favorite dish of the evening.

By this time we could barely move, but there was more to come.

The chef sent a whole chunk of roasted asado, of which we were required to taste some thin slices. The waiter expertly sliced the meat and sprinkled rough salt over the tasting. It was soft, succulent, a carnivore’s dream meat.

Finally (thank heavens), there was entrecôte in plum sauce, faintly sweet and quite chewy. For drinks we had a large beer (NIS 27) and a glass of unassuming red wine (NIS 27).

The dessert menu offers some attractive choices – including lemon tart (NIS 48) and apple pie (NIS 50) – but we were unable to consume another crumb. My companion had a black coffee (NIS 10), and then we staggered to our car and made our way home.

Papagaio2 HashunitHerzliya ArenaTel: (09) 956-4000Open: Sunday-Thursday, 12 noon until late; Friday, 12 noon-5 p.m. Shabbat – closed.Kashrut: Herzliya Rabbinate.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.