Fogo De Chão Vs Ruth's Chris: Which Is Better?

While both Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris are a carnivore's dream, they each deliver very unique dining experiences. Ruth's Chris is a traditional American steakhouse famous for its wide a la carte menu and sizzling plates of high-quality beef. In contrast, Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian steakhouse that specializes in churrasco-style dining where servers circle the restaurant with skewers of grilled meats, allowing diners to select from a variety of options at their tables.

Despite their distinctive approaches, there's little doubt that Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris have achieved success. However, like all other chain restaurants, both establishments have their strong points and shortcomings. If you're uncertain about where to go for your next meal, we have done the work for you and compared the two chains, looking at their ambiance, food, and services. To learn more about our evaluation process, check out the last section of this article.

Both restaurants offer different dining concepts and styles

Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian churrascaria with a rodízio service style. This involves servers, known as gauchos, circulating the restaurant with large skewers of various types of grilled meats, which they serve tableside. Churrasco dates back to 16th century Brazil when gauchos (cowboys who herded cattle) pioneered a new way of cooking, which involved barbecuing large cuts of skewered meat over fire. While Fogo de Chão's cooking style pays tribute to the past, its decor often draws on a contemporary aesthetic. A case in point is the chain's first restaurant in New York City. The 16,000-square-foot, three story location features a circular bar, oversized mirrors, and a striking bas-relief sculpture.

In contrast to Fogo de Chão's dining model, Ruth's Chris provides a more traditional style, mostly serving a la carte dishes. Unlike Fogo de Chão, which focuses on a continuous service model with different meats presented to the table, Ruth's Chris lets customers order a range of specific appetizers, mains, side dishes, and desserts. Additionally, the chain's steaks are prepared to each guest's preferred level of doneness rather than being carved right off a skewer. In terms of overall ambiance, Ruth's Chris locations are all unique, however, many feature decorative lighting, wooden details, and wall art.

Fogo de Chão has an all-you-can-eat option while Ruth's Chris offers a set menu

Fogo de Chão is famous for its all-you-can-eat Churrasco Experience. The set-price menu includes a variety of barbecued meats, as well as a seasonal Market Table and Feijoada Bar. The fire-roasted meats are served continuously, with diners able to enjoy as much or as little as they wish. For an additional cost, patrons can add a cut of wagyu beef to their Churrasco Experience, including New York strip, ribeye, and dry-aged tomahawk ribeye. For those looking for a specific dish, Fogo de Chão also offers a selection of a la carte appetizers and entrees.

While Ruth's Chris specializes in a la carte dining, the chain also features a prix fixe menu. Designed for those wishing to try a variety of dishes, the special menu consists of a starter, entree, side, and dessert. The price of the menu is based on the entree selection. The restaurant's choice of set appetizers includes a Caesar salad, house salad, or Louisiana seafood gumbo. Meanwhile, the entrees include a salmon filet or a six-ounce filet of beef served with lobster tail or shrimp, with the option to upgrade the steak portion to 11 ounces at an additional charge. The meal is complemented by your choice from sides like creamed spinach, steamed broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes.

Fogo de Chão has a salad bar while Ruth's Chris offers a la carte appetizers and sides

Fogo de Chão's Full Churrasco Experience includes a complimentary salad bar called Market Table, "inspired by the open-air markets in Brazil." Each diner is free to approach the Market Table as often as they like and enjoy the gluten-free assortment of sides including seasonal salads, cheeses, antipasti, cured meats, and fresh veggies like broccoli, roasted beets, and vine-ripened tomatoes. The spread is complemented by a feijoada bar, which consists of a black bean stew, rice, and farofa, a traditional Brazilian side dish made with yuca flour and bacon.

Diners at Ruth's Chris can choose from a range of individually-priced appetizers and side dishes. In the starter department, the chain offers a selection of seafood including seared ahi tuna, barbecued shrimp, and sizzling crab cakes. Those looking for a variety of marine delicacies can opt for the restaurant's Chilled Seafood Tower with jumbo shrimp, Maine lobster, and colossal lump crab meat. Ruth's Chris offers just one meat app — the veal osso buco ravioli.

Ruth's Chris also has a wide choice of side dishes, from hearty to lighter choices. On the heavier end of the spectrum, the restaurant serves creamed spinach, fried onion rings, and lobster mac & cheese. Meanwhile, the restaurant's lighter options include fresh broccoli, grilled asparagus, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Both restaurants serve an extensive range of meats

Fogo de Chão serves a wide variety of grilled or fire-roasted meats, each expertly-prepared to highlight its unique flavor and texture. The chain's Churrasco Experience incorporates several beef cuts like tenderloin, bone-in ribeye, and sirloin, as well as beef ribs. Meanwhile, Fogo de Chão's signature steak is the picanha, or the prime part of the top sirloin. In addition to beef, the restaurant chain also serves other meats as a part of the churrasco feast, including pork belly, pork chops, spicy pork sausages, and bacon-wrapped chicken steak. Additionally, Fogo de Chão offers wagyu beef, which is a high-end cut from highly-marbled Japanese cattle. Some of the meats can also be ordered a la carte.

Ruth's Chris specializes in steaks, which means the main type of meat served is beef. Several of the cuts on offer include New York strip, T-bone, ribeye, petite filet, and porterhouse. Despite its steakhouse status, Ruth's Chris also features non-beef protein options, including veal osso buco ravioli, lamb chops, pork chop, and stuffed chicken breast.

Ruth's Chris serves USDA Prime cuts while Fogo de Chão offers USDA Choice beef

The USDA divides beef into three categories. The highest quality cuts are classified as USDA Prime and feature abundant marbling. The other two categories include USDA Choice, with ample marbling, and USDA Select, which is leaner than the other two options.

Ruth's Chris' upscale reputation goes hand-in-hand with the restaurant's USDA Prime beef, which comprises only the top 2% of beef in the country. The chain serves a variety of different USDA Prime cuts including New York strip, T-bone, ribeye, cowboy ribeye, porterhouse, and tomahawk ribeye. Ruth's Chris also offers filets and petite filets although the menu doesn't specify whether these cuts are USDA Prime. To ensure the steaks are juicy and full of flavor, the chain ages its beef for around 28 days.

While Fogo de Chão specifies that its beef is sourced from U.S. vendors that care about animal welfare, the chain is silent about the grading of its meat. Nevertheless, Fogo de Chão's Fort Lauderdale General Manager, Wandering Oliveira, disclosed in an interview with Mashed that the restaurant offers USDA Choice cuts or better. The steaks are then aged for at least 21 days to achieve optimal tenderness and flavor. Fogo de Chão also serves wagyu beef, including a dry aged tomahawk ancho (ribeye) aged for 42 days.

Fogo de Chão offers a more interactive dining experience

While Ruth's Chris offers a traditional dining experience with servers taking orders and delivering food to the tables, the atmosphere at Fogo de Chão is more interactive. Provided they opt for the full Churrasco Experience, the chain's patrons not only get to select their appetizers and side dishes but are also in full control of their protein choice.

While dining at Ruth's Chris involves some delay between placing your order and digging into your meal, you can begin your feast right away at Fogo de Chão. Diners normally start by filling their plates with appetizers and sides at the Market Table before ordering meat from the roaming gauchos. But how do you get their attention, you might ask? This is where the fun begins. Diners at Fogo de Chão are all provided with green and red discs. If you turn the disc to green, the gauchos will approach the table with various skewers of meat. If you set it to red, they will keep their distance.

Ruth's Chris broils its steaks while Fogo de Chão's meat is fire-roasted

Ruth's Chris and Fogo de Chão are very particular about their respective steak preparation methods. At Ruth's Chris, each cut is broiled at an ultra-high temperature of 1,800 degrees to ensure a caramelized crust and a tender and juicy interior. And since broiling offers both temperature control and uniform heat distribution, diners can rest assured the steak will be cooked to their exact specifications every time. Additionally, Ruth's Chris serves its cuts with a little butter and parsley on sizzling 500-degree plates to ensure the meat stays at the right temperature throughout the meal.

When it comes to churrasco-style cooking, fire is key. After all, the cooking style originated with Brazilian gauchos who didn't have modern kitchen facilities. Today, Fogo de Chão roasts its meat in a special multi-level grill using lump charcoal, as highlighted by Fogo de Chão's Southeast Regional Director, Rudimar Bonfada, in an interview with Mashed. "[With] all our beef cuts, you want to sear the outside, then you elevate to a higher place on the grill where it won't be so hot, and from there it continues to make that steak more tender before we serve," he says.

Both restaurants serve seafood

Despite their focus on steaks, Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris also serve seafood. Both establishments feature a range of chilled marine apps, such as shrimp cocktails and seafood towers. Fogo de Chão's version of the platter comes with cold-water lobster tails, lobster claws, jumbo shrimp, snow crab legs, and green-lipped mussels. Meanwhile, Ruth's Chris' take on the dish includes Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, and colossal lump crabmeat. In addition, Ruth's Chris also serves warm seafood starters like barbecued shrimp, calamari, and sizzling crab cakes.

Both chains serve very similar seafood entrees. Ruth's Chris offers a broiled salmon filet with lemon, butter, and parsley, while Fogo de Chão serves pan-seared salmon with chimichurri sauce and grilled asparagus. Another fish on both menus is Chilean sea bass, with Ruth's Chris' take on the dish involving a panko-garlic crust and lemon butter, while Fogo de Chão's creation is drizzled with a zesty papaya vinaigrette.

Fogo de Chão's desserts are a little more enticing

While the desserts at both Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris sound nothing short of indulgent, Fogo de Chão's sweet treats seem to have a slight edge over its competitor. One of the highlights is the papaya cream with a fresh papaya and ice cream blend, crème de cassis, and canella pastry crisp. For chocolate enthusiasts, the restaurant offers a chocolate brigadeiro with a chocolate cookie crust, truffled chocolate, chocolate ganache, and sprinkles. There's also the chocolate molten cake filled with chocolate fudge and topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache. Several of Fogo de Chão's other sweet offerings include a cheesecake brûlée, crème brûlée, tres leches cake, and key lime pie.

While the desserts at Ruth's Chris may lag a little behind Fogo de Chão's decadent after-dinner sweets, they shouldn't be overlooked. For instance, the chain makes its own version of a bread pudding by adding a splash of whiskey to the New Orleans classic. Ruth's Chris also serves a warm apple crumb tart with Granny Smith apples nestled in a flaky pastry and chocolate mousse cheesecake served on an Oreo cookie and crowned with whipped cream. The chain's other dessert options include crème brûlée and a chocolate sin cake.

Ruth's Chris has a special kid's menu but Fogo de Chão is more child-friendly

Designed specifically for kids under 12, the children's menu at Ruth's Chris offers a variety of entrees. On the simpler side, the chain serves grilled cheese on toast, burgers, and chicken fingers. For a heartier dining option, kids can choose between a four-ounce grilled salmon filet with lemon, butter, and parsley, and a four-ounce filet medallion. All entrees are served with either a healthy choice of steamed broccoli or a not-so-healthy option of french fries.

While Fogo de Chão doesn't have a special menu for children, it offers generous discounts for its younger patrons. More specifically, kids under six years of age can have the Full Churrasco Experience for free while kids between seven and 12 can enjoy the all-you-can eat feast for half price. Perhaps it's this policy and the interactive nature of dining at Fogo de Chão that makes the chain such a hit with families.

During their visit to Fogo de Chão, one reviewer noted there were more families at the restaurant than adult-only groups. The writer also commented that all their children left the restaurant satiated and happy. Another reviewer agrees with this sentiment, saying, "What fun! We brought our whole family: five children and a friend for each! We were a large party with a long table. This meal became a favorite memory for our family!"

Ruth's Chris has more locations

The Ruth's Chris story starts in 1965, when Ruth Fertel opened her first restaurant — Chris Steak House — in New Orleans. The restaurant got its current name after a fire destroyed the original premises in 1976. Today, the chain boasts more than 130 locations across the U.S. The states with the most Ruth's Chris locations include Florida, California, and North Carolina. Meanwhile, the cities where the chain has the largest footprint are San Antonio in Texas, Denver in Colorado, and Charlotte in North Carolina. Ruth's Chris also has international locations in several countries including Mexico, China, Indonesia, and Singapore.

The first Fogo de Chão opened in the city of Porto Alegre on the Southern coast of Brazil in 1979. It wasn't long before the restaurant grew a loyal following, expanding its reach in 1986 with a second location in São Paulo. The chain's foray into the U.S. began in Dallas, Texas, in 1997, and today it has over 50 restaurants in the country. In addition, the chain has an international presence in countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates.

Both Ruth's Chris and Fogo de Chão have wide selections of wines by the glass

Ruth's Chris and Fogo de Chão offer a range of wines by the glass, albeit with a slightly different focus. While Fogo de Chão features vinos from around the globe, a large portion comes from Argentina and Chile. In fact, Fogo de Chão features a special selection of Chilean and Argentinian wines at just $8 per glass as of publication. The restaurant's other offerings per glass include reds, whites, and sparkling wines from a variety of countries like the U.S., Italy, France, and New Zealand. Fogo de Chão's wine pours range from $12.25 to $21.

At Ruth's Chris, wines by the glass are served in either six- or nine-ounce measurements to cater to different thirst levels. While the chain doesn't feature a lot of South American wines, its menu still includes local and international drops. In terms of wines from the U.S., Ruth's Chris focuses on tipples from California, Oregon, and Washington. Meanwhile, the chain's international selection includes vinos from wine-producing powerhouses like Italy and France. The wines at Ruth's Chris range between $12 and $25 per six-ounce serving.

Fogo de Chão is better overall

While Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris are both steakhouses, they are like the proverbial chalk and cheese. Ruth's Chris offers a formal atmosphere and primarily a la carte dining. Meanwhile, Fogo de Chão is a more casual restaurant that specializes in Brazilian churrasco-style dining, where meat is carved and served to patrons tableside. Fogo de Chão also has a grazing table with salads, vegetables, cured meats, and a feijoada bar offering a traditional Brazilian stew.

While choosing between Ruth's Chris and Fogo de Chão comes down to personal preference and the specific occasion, we believe that the ambiance and culinary offerings at the latter restaurant are more unique. Fogo de Chão provides a wide variety of dining options, offering skewers of barbecued meat for carnivores and a Market Table for vegetarians. Additionally, the chain also serves fresh seafood, enticing desserts, and a range of wines by the glass.


In our effort to compare Fogo de Chão and Ruth's Chris, we looked at various aspects of each restaurant. We evaluated their ambiance and dining concepts to determine how these affect the overall experience. Since both restaurants offer beef, we also looked at each establishment's meat quality and preparation methods. Additionally, we considered the range of options on each chain's menu. Finally, we assessed how well each restaurant caters to families with kids.