Sao Paulo’s restaurant scene boasts an impressive array of dining option. Note that in the smarter restaurants it’s necessary to reserve and unlike Rio formal wear is expected. That said, the city also offers plenty of modestly-priced restaurants and Sao Paulo’s ethnic diversity ensures a wide selection of cuisines from around the world. Brazil has a large Japanese population; also notable is the presence of the French, Italian, Arab and Portuguese communities.
For a typically Brazilian experience look out for the “churrascarias” - barbecued meat restaurants famed for their generous portions. Such traditional eateries vary greatly in price: Baby Beef Rubaiyat is one of the fanciest (Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima 2954 in Itaim Bibi, and at Alameda Santos 86, Paraiso). Indeed the quality of Brazilian meat is renowned and here you’ll find everything from wild boar to salmon on the buffet.
The pricey but elegant Italian restaurant Fasano (Rua Vitoria Fasano 88, Jardins) can be found in the plush lobby of the Fasano Hotel. For those on a smaller budget the city’s streets and squares offer burger restaurants as well as excellent juice bars which also sell fried and filled pastries. Large, canteen-style buffet restaurants can be found in most Brazilian cities: the buffets are mostly vegetarian and food as charged by weight. Such buffet restaurants are a cheap and healthy option and will give you the chance to mix with the locals. The Liberdade neighbourhood offers a huge range of Asian dining options.
Here’s a list of Sao Paulo’s most recommended restaurants:
Vegan and vegetarian restaurants can be found through the following site:
Suplicy Cafe (Alameda Lorena 1430, Jardim Paulista) is open from 7.30am to midnight Mon-Thurs; 8am to 1 am Fri, and 8am to midnight Sat & Sun. It’s one of the most popular cafes in Sao Paulo. Parque da Luz is a very pretty park in the historic downtown district of Sao Paulo offering not only a museum but a restaurant, bar and a cafe - a great choice for starting your day or relxing of an evening. For the unique Irish pub experience head for All Black (Rua Oscar Freire 163, Jardins). It’s open till 2am during the week, till 4am at the weekend and often features live music: tel. 11 3088 7990.
At Rua Dr Melo Alves 150 in Jardins you’ll find the Bar Balcão (open till 2am). It offers good wine, excellent light meals and a simple yet elegant design. It’s a popular hang-out for successful designers and artists. The Bar da Lôca is run by the colourful Saddam and is a simple bar with a mixed gay-alternative-punk crowd. It’s open late, on the corner of Rua Frei Caneca & Rua Peixoto Gomide near the Avenida Paulista.
At Rua Mourato Coelho 593 in Vila Madalena is the Cachaçaria Paulista, a veritable institution in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood. It serves no less that 300 varieties of the national drink, cachaça (high-proof alcohol distilled for sugarcane and the basis of the Caipirinha). The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with live music at the weekend. Closes at 1am. Another popular spot in the same neighbourhood is Posto 6 on the Rua Aspicuelta. Its old-fashioned, wood-paneled rooms open up onto the street: tel. 11 3812 7831 . Santo Grão (or Sacred Bean, Rua Oscar Freire 413, Jardins) is reputed to sell Sao Paulo’s best coffee. Open till midnight.
For a classic Brazilian experience head for Piraja (Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima 64, Pinheiros). This trendy yet down-to-earth bar offers outside tables on warm evenings and of course serves the classic Brazilian cocktail the Caipirinha. Traditional Brazilian cuisine is also served.