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3
  • Food3
  • Service3
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews92

Samba Brazilian Steak House

1122 Alberni Street
Vancouver, BC V6E1A5
Tel: (604) 696-9888
Neighbourhood: Coal Harbour

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 92 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Solid carnivores AYCE
By sweethot of lower mainland (162 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, August 16, 2009 - 6:18pm [Dine in]

Why are there so many 1-star reviews for this place from people who have only ever reviewed this restaurant? I smell fake reviews, especially when they conveniently mention the restaurants surrounding Samba that patrons should be going to instead. I like this place, I have no idea how authentic it is, as it's owned by the same group as the Thai House restaurants, but until I visit Brazil I won't know. Authentic or not, this place is a feast for those who love meat. Various grilled meats are carried around by servers who look Latin American and is carved in front of you. You can specific what cut of meat you like, either rare, medium or well-done and they will cut exactly that for you. If you find the meat dry, then be sure to look for the fattier cuts of meat as they will be jucier. If there is a particular meat you are waiting for just let the servers know and they will direct that meat to your table. As for a lack of service, it's a AYCE and there are always people coming around with food, if you need something else flag down your waiter. I like that they never rush you through dinner at some places the waiters hover and give you the bill so fast that it is annoying. I actually like the salad bar, I found the food there is tasty as it has to compete directly with the meats, if anything try to not fill up on the salad bar. The salad bar also does include some Latin American and Brazilian dishes. I don't know why the previous reviewer couldn't see these such as the feijoada stew. $35 for a Friday or Saturday evening dinner that includes entertainment isn't that bad. Especially when the going rate for entrees alone at most restaurants is hovering around $30 now. This place is pretty unique, and if you are craving meat I'd highly recommend it, vegetarians probably won't like it. A good place to take out of town guests as well when you aren't in the mood to cook.

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Mmmmmmmeat ...
By Kujibo of West Vancouver (127 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - 12:03am [Dine in]

Eaten here a few times and would go more if it wasn't downtown (not my favourite area to go).

Obviously if you love meat you will likely love this place. All sorts of fresh meat brought around, ostrich, sirloin, sausages, etc., and you can eat all you like. Salad bar is OK but nothing that special and I have to try to avoid filling up on any.

Only real complaints about the food is for me it is sometimes just too rare for my liking. I'm not a fan of a pool of blood on my plate and you don't necessarily get a choice of how well it is done. Some people will love it this way but the point is you don't have much control over how it is done. When it isn't busy (like you are the only customer) they will sometimes put it back on the grill though. The other thing I would say is don't come too late as things will be winding down and you might only be getting the same piece of meat coming around over and over. Best to go when it's busier as the selection is large.

Service is alright, though sometimes the guys bringing the meat around can get a bit snippy if you say no you don't want that cut of meat too many times.

Ambience is nice, and there is live guitar/singing music every time I've been there from the same guy who is pretty good. It can be a bit loud though when sitting close.

In summary I really do like the concept of this place.

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Good value for dinner and entertainment
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 4:41pm [Dine in]

This restaurant is good for what it is - a gimmick restaurant. I went again before Christmas with a large group. Beforehand, we tried to work out a set price/person on the phone with a manager and were able to secure a $42 price (for dinner, 1 soft drink or coffee, and tax and tip).

On the night of the dinner, we were sat in the back private room. Here's a tip, if privacy is what you want, then the private room is great. But, you don't get a view of the entertainment at all. We had to stop our meals, get out of our seats and walk over to watch.

The food was okay. I'll stick with my original verdict that the meats were too dry. However, I must mention that the sausage was very very good. Th ehot salad bar also had good offerings and lots of variety too. The polenta cakes were especially delicious. They also had a soup/stew of some kind, but as much as I wanted to try it, there were no bowls offered. Instead of trying to drink soup from a plate, I just decided to skip it.

At the end of the meal, we beckoned a manager over to settle the bill. The manager that night refused our $42/person agreed price, saying that we didn't talk to him on the phone. In hindsight, the joke was on him, because we did our calculations again after leaving, and realized the $42 was not a deal at all (ripping ppl off is another example of bad service). In fact, if he hadn't made a fuss about the special price, we all would have overpaid.

But, to be fair, $32 for full dinner with good variety and entertainment, is a really good deal.

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Something different...
By cherrybomb143 of Surrey, bc (218 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 26, 2008 - 11:09pm [Dine in]

If you're a meat lover and craving something different, Samba is an interesting find. We had dinner here on a Sunday and were treated to live music and dressed up dancers. While the decor isn't great (it's not bad though) the live entertainment was a nice touch to set this restaurant apart from others downtown.

The food was ok -- they had a nice variety of meat but not all were done nicely. The veal I found was really dry and buffalo was fairly tough (even for buffalo which I expected would be gamey) The ostrich, pork and beef was very good though. Salad bar was ok, nothing special and it's too bad they don't have dessert included in the buffet as well.

Service was great - they had a lot of servers who kept clearing plates and bringing food. A tip for first timers though: even if your companions are full (but you're not) keep their cards green anyway so that the servers will see it and bring you food. My 3 companions were full and turned their cards over to the red side, so our table was bypassed over and over again as they didn't notice my little green card in the corner =)

For $32 + tax for all you can eat on a Sunday night, we paid just over $40 a head with drinks and tip. Not really sure if this is worth it since we didn't eat that much and there are a lot of other places to go for that amount of money. It's worth a try just to experience it though.

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Great meats only when they are busy
By pkwok of Shaughnessy, Vancouver (123 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 8, 2005 - 9:37pm [Dine in]

I don't need to repeat what is in the previous reviews. I mostly concur with them, especially in terms of leaving stomach room for the meat and not eat too much from the salad bar, good though that is.

Here's an important tip, though. If you go there too early, and the place is rather empty, the meats are only so so, perhaps because they are not that freshly cooked, or have been sitting in the oven for too long. However, once the place fills up later in the evening, every meat that comes around is mouth watering. it is like you are suddenly in a restaurant of a different caliber.

As to the ambiance, I find the decor rather 1980-ish, as if they have not updated the interior for a long time. The ceiling is a bit low here, and the tables rather crowded.

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Dont be fooled with all you can eat meat. This place is below average stay away from it.
By Foodcriticbc of vancouver (42 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 9, 2011 - 11:19am [Dine in]

To call this place Brazilian is a shame. We were there last night with 9 people. I have been to this place many times but never for a weekend dinner. Once everyone sits down they wait for you to go to the buffet to grab food. The buffet in many people few is not very good to be honest. Then once they see that you have eaten all your buffet they come by with the meat. So 30 minutes after they come with the meat and start to serve it. For the first hour they brought us sausage 3 times chicken twice and pork once. After sitting there for an hour and a half I stated when are they going to bring the beef? They showed up with beef (beef ribs) then once again with sausages then they brough sirlion then they once again brough sausage. In 2 hours they brough sausages 7 times, chicken 3 times, pork 3 times and beef only 3 times. They only cut a small piece of beef and usually there is not enough to give everyone a piece on the table they say they wil be back and they never come back. I understand a restaurant needs to maximize there profit but its so obvious what they were doing. They want you to get full on the sausages and the buffet(awful) and barely bring the beef. Regardless we didnt say too much until the bill came. On the bill it says price $34.95 buffet pop $3.50 total was $38.95 then add the HST and there suggested tip of 15% then the final price was $50.20 so basically $12 above the price with HST and tip. Most people ignored the suggested tip and left what they wanted as it was not stated in the menu or anywhere they would add 15% for tip. As we were leaving the waiter came and got us and said we are $20 short on our bill so with suggested tip it came to around $450 but we left $430. I said it says suggested tip and most people left what they though was deserved. Then the manager came and said why dont you want to pay the tip I said we paid what we thought was deserved so basically around 12%. Many of us cant stand mandatory tipping expecially when it wasnt stated. If the service and food was good alright. What a mess over $20 but at the end I paid it and said you will not only ever see me again but I ll make sure everyone i know wont go. But the service was ok and the food was less than good. Dont get fooled by all you can eat at the end it is not a good value. My suggest is stay away from this place and they should not shame the Brazilian by calling this place Brazilian. This is one step above all you can eat buffet at Uncle Willies.

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OK but there is better in Seattle.
By priggly of Coquitlam (73 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, August 9, 2008 - 3:20am [Dine in]

I dined at Samba with several others in our party and overall was not particularly impressed. The buffet is mediocre with poor variety and the skewered meats, while not lacking in variety, were also so-so. That is not to say that they aere bad, only that they lacked the punch and flavor that I would have expected. I got the impression that this was only a very approximate imitation of a true Brazilian steakhouse.

If you want to experience a better version of this concept, try Ipanema in Seattle. Now, that is a much better Brazilian steakhouse. You'll notice a big difference in flavor and overall quality.

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Interesting Experience
By Rayzach of West End, Vancouver (57 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 5, 2008 - 7:24pm [Dine in]

My girlfriend wanted to take me to Samba for the experience. we went on a Saturday night and it was quite busy with lots of music and dancing girls and Capoeria by male performers.

The staff was very attentive and the buffet bar was a good accompaniment to the copious amounts of skewered meat freshely sliced at your table. I wenjoyed the Bison, Beef skirt steak and the Osterich meat the best. Kangaroo was very gamey and not my thing.

Overall since it was all you can eat it was ok and I am glad I went for the experience. We were speaking to a Brazilian couple next to us and they explained it was not too authentic.

If you want a great steak go to Morten's.

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Not the best steak, but there's a whooooooole lot of it
By mmmsteak of Richmond (74 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - 12:01pm [Dine in]

We went to Samba for a birthday party and called to make reservations. When we got there the tables were nicely set up for us. We all opted for the rodizio which is $30 on weekends.

Initially the meat was pretty tasty. The sirloin tip and the chicken are very good (although some of my friends found the chicken dry, but I thought it was fine). There was also a bbq / teriyaki chicken dish at the salad bar that we loved, but alas it ran out too fast. I'm a lamb lover, but I didn't really enjoy their lamb. It lacked any kind of taste or seasoning. Later on towards the meal, we found that the meat started to lack in flavor. It was probably because they were all seasoned similarly, so the lamb and the different cuts of beef did not taste very different. My friends had to grab a bottle of steak sauce from the salad bar to add some taste to the dishes.

Being one of a kind type of restaurant in Vancouver, I definitely recommend giving it a try, but don't have too high of expectations unless you're a big meat eater.

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Meat on a Stick?
By Sundown of North Vancouver (41 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 1, 2007 - 11:42am [Dine in]

Meat on a stick? how cool is that. I didn't go for that because I prefer my meat extremely rare which most restaurants I've been too can't do it to my liking so I don't bother and also not that much (much a small slice and I am happy but you want to eat a lot to make it worth the cost).

I have been there twice and the first time there was incredible. No complaints at all as the food was fantastic, quick and friendly service.

My most recent visit however I was disappointed. All day I was craving lamb and we arrive shortly after 6pm and when we sat down the first thing the waitress said was they were out of lamb and they were out of steak. What???? This was the beginning of the dinner hour and no steak and no lamb? This early in the evening? So I ended up having prawns. Oh they were delicious and spicy (just how I like them) but I was disappointed because I wanted something special (lamb) and I can have prawns anywhere. What kind of restaurant runs out of lamb and steak during the dinner hour? I could understand if we arrived at 9pm but so early?

This time this music was way too loud that we were yelling at each other just to speak to the person beside you so you didn't even try to talk to the person across from you.

The dancing was wonderful, nice costumes but I was surprised that one of the girls had just a bit of belly flubber hanging over her tiny outfit. Sorry to be critical but if you are going to have dancing girls in a skimpy outfit they should not have an ounce of fat on them.

Even though I was disappointed in no lamb or steak that evening I would go back some day and I would recommend them because it is a very entertaining place to go.

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Excellent food; indifferent service.
By foodfanatic of South Vancouver (286 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 26, 2005 - 4:32pm [Dine in]

Delicious salad bar! Worth every penny! You don't even need to hit the meats! Too bad their very much worth it pack-your-own-styrofoam salad bar lunch to-go deal is no longer. Haven't gotten a chance to try that cheap deal. Just ate in each time! With nothing to-go! Live music nights--loud and busy, as it should be. Nice decor. Plenty of beers.

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pretty good if you like meat.........
By genki39 of burnaby (82 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 5:05pm [Dine in]

We came here to try out the rodizio. The room itself was okay, nothing fancy. The service was okay, our waiter was quite pleasant and attentive. For value, i guess it all depends, it is a "buffet" so obviously the more you eat the more worth it it's gonna be. The food was pretty good, there was a pretty small salad section but what you come for is the meat. There was quite a good variety of meats when we went, chicken wings, chicken livers, beef, veal and I can't remember what else. It's a pretty good place to come if your having a meat craving.

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Not sure why people like this place
By cyberspace of vancouver (89 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 11:05pm [Dine in]

Went here for lunch today and did AYCE. The salad bar was very average. Nothing special on the buffet. Lamb was a bit of an odour, Chicken was very tough. Did not have the sausage or pork. Beef was good but most of the pieces were rare. Also, had the dessert which was just ok. I don't think i will go back as there are better places to try. Service was not bad the they kept coming with the meats. Not too busy at lunch.

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Something different.
By MBAK of Vancouver (80 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 4:04pm [Dine in]

I've been to Samba on a number of occasions throughout the past few years and have had a pleasant experience each and every time.
The restaurant is definately different from what is offered throughout the rest of Metro Vancouver. There's a wide variety of meat such as buffalo, ostrich (YUM!!!), chicken, beef, etc... as well as a salad/pasta buffet. I really like how you can try so many different types of gamey meat in one meal.
The drinks are REALLY expensive (more than what they would charge at lounges...five star restaurants....) but I take it that's where they make a lot of their money.
The service has always been just "OK"...nothing great but nothing to complain about either.
The interior of the restaurant is interesting too..it's a lot larger than I would have guessed..I also enjoyed some of the entertainment they've had here in the past (capoeira, salsa dancing, live music).
Overall, I would recommend this restaurant to someone who loves meat and wants to try something different.

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Could have been so much better
By Lanie23 of Vancouver (53 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 12:31pm [Dine in]

We went on a weekday- when we first arrived, the restaurant was only about a quarter full. Meat came fast and furious. I found the meat to be salty (in a good way) and very moist. The salad bar was better than I expected from reading the reviews here. Quite a big selection, and there were even a few hot dishes. The restaurant started filling up, and the meat stopped coming. Only two meat servers taking care of the whole restaurant. We actually just stopped eating because the food was coming too slow, not because we were super full. Also, they never brought around the more exotic meats such as bison, chicken hearts and ostrich- is this just on the weekend? Quite disappointed with that. Very difficult to flag down a server for drinks or bill. With better service, and more types of meat, this could have been a great meal.

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Surprisingly good
By Rasputin45 of Kitsilano, Vancouver (97 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 1, 2008 - 10:19pm [Dine in]

OK so we went here for dineout having no idea what kind of a place this is. Of course, at 25.00 for a dineout menu vs. 29.00 for all you can eat MEAT FEAST and salad bar, it's a no brainer (Side benefit: When else will I get to use the words meat feast in a review?). I found the service outstanding, with the waitress refilling our waters and bringing us clean plates constantly. The meat was truly a feast and good on average, with the flank steak, sausages, pork, and striploin being the best, and the lamb, kangaroo, and chicken hearts being not something I would get again. But it was good to try these things. My friend found the food salty but I thought it was OK. The salad bar was not impresive at all, the prawns and seafood on the salad bar wasn't good. Next time I might skip them entirely, as primordial as that sounds -- this is a place to go where you want to eat meat, meat, more meat and maybe a small bite of chicken as a side dish.

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Good Entertainment, Slow Service
By jpcostales of Metrotown, Burnaby (70 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 4:38pm [Dine in]

Unique experience. Nice place with tasty food and a cool atmosphere. Wouldn't mind going back sometime in the future.

Food - Tasty meats. Interesting way of serving food - waiters go around with BBQ'd meats on a stick. Tried everything they had including chicken, veal, ostrich, buffalo adnd lamb. Salad bar is also decent.

Service - Friendly, but slow. Came on a packed Saturday night so that may explain it.

Ambiance - Great entertainment with the dancing girls and the live music. There seemed to be quite a few groups there, so it was nice and boisterously noisy.

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5 Stars
By chefdave of Downtown (58 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, November 13, 2006 - 10:46pm [Dine in]

We were there for a work gathering saturday night and my goly what a new and unique place. I've heard of this place before but didn;t imagine how unique this concept is. After coming back home to do some research on rodizio it seems this concept is very popular all around the world. Imagine all you can eat BBQ'd meats with a salad bar. The sausages and sirloin were top notch. Salad bar needs work but hey the meats definately make up for it. Try the caprina drink thats made with lime and vodka I think. Big thumbs up ! They also have live entertainment on weekends. Total party place for any occasion. Cheers !

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carnivores come!
By alpha_dog of richmond (61 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 8, 2008 - 1:35am [Dine in]

a buddy of mine was telling me about how good this place was so he took me here and at the end of the night, i had to drag myself up those seemingly long flight of stairs out of the restaurant because i ate wayyyy too much meat.
they have almost every type of meat that vancouver could offer.. steak, hen, chicken, pork, ostrich, bison, and a bunch others so theres not shortage of variety there.. of course there is a salad bar as well to get that balance in the diet.
we had the all you can eat option which is more expensive than i thought but it is AYCE afterall so you basically have unlimited food for a fixed price, nothing wrong with that!
their service is quick, the waiters are coming around often with their stick of meat and making sure you always have something on your plate.. it does overwhelm when you are tempted to get more than your plate can hold
like the ambiance, always have music playing and a great fun atmosphere which enhances the dining experience if you are into that live and loud environment.
i would recommend this place in a second but if you do come and pick AYCE, come hungry and pace yourself because dont make the same mistake i did where i had to literally carry myself when the night was over

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Great unique experience
By gti303 of Vancouver, BC (45 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 10:10pm [Dine in]

The food is great here. You get to try all kinds of meat...as much as you can stuff...basically a guy's heaven!

The decor is ok, and the price for value is not bad. The only issue we had was the server cut our friends finger, he started bleeding, and without a word (it was obvious, everyone noticed when he screamed 'OUCH') the server just walked away. He then came back 10 minutes later and with a simple sorry. No other action was taken, not even an offer for a bandaid...good thing we had some girls there that carry this kind of stuff. Don't let this discourage you though...the food is good.

It was also a big hard to get any service. I've been here twice and both times was about the same.

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