Counter Culture: Touro Churrascaria, a carnivore’s dream in Richmond Hill


Image: Karolyne Ellacott

The words "Richmond" and "Hill" don't exactly conjure up images of Brazil, but Touro Churrascaria is doing its best to change that. Back in August, the Brazilian steakhouse set up shop north of the city, aiming to woo diners with their take on the all-you-can-eat meal.

The expansive space — which can hold up to 440 patrons — is divvied up into various sections. Up front, the bar is crafted from slices of volcanic rock that's lit from within, creating a tangerine glow. A wine nook sits behind in the far corner, with an Enomatic wine system acting as the focal point. Owner Michael Colangelo notes that the fridges keep uncorked wine bottles in tip-top shape for three or four weeks, unlike the six days the average uncorked bottle lasts. In addition to the main dining room, a patio wraps around one side of the the building, complete with a faux grass space for those wont to frolic.

Not for those who eschew meat, the steakhouse is something of a carnivore's fantasy. Each diner is provided a cardboard disc; one side is green, the other red. When ready, patrons flip the card to green and waiters scurry tableside to carve off fresh cuts of meat. The goods are all BBQ’d on spits brought in from the motherland. Visible from the main dining area, the rotisserie BBQ holds 63 spits, all of which rotate 360 degrees over lump charcoal. Following its tour of the dining room, the meat is returned to its domain, re-spiced and placed back on the heat.

Both the house specialty and Brazil’s national dish is the picanha: the top cut of top sirloin. The fat is trimmed off, resulting in a cut of meat much like filet mignon but enhanced by the taste of the fat. Usually, Touro has around 14 different types of meat available — such as bacon-wrapped chicken, pork, sausage, garlic steak — all begging to be doused in chimichurri sauce. Meanwhile, for those who wish for a bit of the other with their meat, a salad bar offers everything from kalamata olives to mashed potatoes and gravy.

Meat, however, is truly the name of the game. One patron said it best: “I’m a healthy meater — I have no time for carbs!”

Touro Churrascaria, 125 York Blvd, Richmond Hill, 905-738-6876

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