three great places - São Paulo
Written by Marilyn Diggs Illustration by Philip Bannister
The joke in Rio is that restaurants replace beaches for entertainment in São Paulo. It’s true. Brazil’s gastronomical capital keeps restaurateurs competitive, resulting in culinary experiences to be savoured.
Fogo de Chão
Brazil is famous for its steakhouses or churrascarias, where waiters continually circulate and slice skewered meat directly onto your plate. Fogo de Chão is tops in this genre with real gaúchos from southern Brazil carving succulent meat and poultry, prepared the slow-roasted cowboy way. Painted scenes of gaúcho life decorate the casually chic restaurant. Its financial district location at lunch time draws business people, who bring their families on weekends. The quality of the food, coupled with impeccable service, has earned this restaurant countless awards. Vegetarians rave about the bountiful gourmet salad bar showcasing more than 30 selections of fresh greens, vegetables, and cheeses. Side dishes include gaúcho rice, corn polenta, and fried bananas. Save room for chilled crème de papaya dessert with a thread of cassis liqueur. Purists end the meal with chimarrão tea in a cured gourd.
Brasil A Gosto
Take a gastronomic journey through Brazil without leaving the table. Located conveniently in São Paulo’s ‘Manhattan’, shoppers take a break inside this two-storey, home-turned-restaurant, nestled on a shady residential street. Chef and owner Ana Luisa Trajano constantly travels in quest of just the right regional ingredients that she needs to reinvent traditional recipes without losing their authenticity. Brazil has very distinctive regional cooking, which shines through in the tasting menu. Exotic tropical fruit juices, with or without alcohol, complement the dégustation menu that changes monthly. Daily specialities include grilled fish with light coconut, ginger, and lemongrass sauce accompanied by a sautéed vegetable medley.
Year after year voted the best Middle Eastern restaurant in São Paulo, it boasts a panorama of Arabic cuisine. High ceilings draped with cloth allude to Bedouin tents, while rattan chairs and an inside garden with palm trees create a refreshing oasis effect. Begin by sipping Arak with its distinctive anise flavour, served with sparkling mineral water. Traditional recipes, as well as new trends from The Gulf and The Levant, are prepared on the spot and enhanced by fresh spices. Baba ghanoush, fattoush salad and falafel sandwiches are dependable crowd-pleasers for light fare, while lamb delicacies satisfy heartier appetites. Pastries with pistachios and honey are sublime. End with mint tea, and just a dash of rose essence.
São Paulo, Brazil
Fogo de Chão
Avenida Moreira Guimarães, 964
Brasil a Gosto
Rua Professor Azevedo do Amaral, 70
Rua Haddock Lobo, 1397