With all the hoopla associated with the World Cup and the world's eyes focused on Brazil, I figured this was as good a time as any to visit Giraffas, the Brazilian steak and burger outfit with a location on International Drive (and another coming soon to Mills 50. There are about 10 Giraffas locations in Florida now open or about to, but there are nearly 400 in Brazil.
I suppose you could compare it to a Five Guys or similar operation. There's little that is enticingly Brazilian about the menu. Save for a few items, such as the shrimp moqueca and a cheese bread called pao de queijo, most of the menu is burgers. (How a stroganoff got here I haven't a clue.)
I chose the Giraffao, listed under the Classic Burgers heading, and found that it wasn't a burger at all, at least not what any random five guys you might ask in America would consider a burger. It was what we would refer to as a steak sandwich, and a pretty good one at that. It features a filet mignon, grilled pretty close to the requested medium-rare (extra points for the young woman who took my order for asking how I wanted it cooked) and topped with cheese, bacon and a fried egg, as well as lettuce, onion, tomato and mayonnaise. The egg was hard-cooked, so there was no oozing of the yolk (point off there), but the steak was well seasoned, the bacon nice and crispy, and the bun fresh tasting.
The look of the fast-casual restaurant is slightly garish and plasticized. It's very bright and has lots of reds, yellows and greens that are a bit jarring. But there are also unusual flourishes, such as upholstered dining chairs at a large family table, that try to make it more homey. The friendly staff was a nice touch, too. I was welcomed when I walked in, and a staff member offered me a paper menu as an alternative to reading the video boards.
Guests place the order and pay at the counter, then take a seat and wait for someone to bring your order to you (place your order number in the giraffe ears on the table so the server can find you). If you're dining in, your food is served on a real plate, and you can use metal flatware, as well. And it was nice that when I was leaving someone called out a thank you to me. That's always nice.
Oh, and the entire time I was there I saw no reference whatsoever to the World Cup. No signs, no television, no chanting.
Giraffas is at 5415 International Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-226-9191.