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Sep 12, 2008 12:11 AM

Sao Paulo Recommendations?

So it looks like I will be in Sao Paulo for a week or so in mid October. Never been before. First timer for sure. I don't have a hotel booked yet, but will shortly.

I'm a fairly serious 'hound from LA. Any recommendations or must eats in Sao Paulo?

Only downside of this trip is that I will be flying to Sao Paulo a mere 48 hours after coming home (to SoCal) from Hong Kong. All of this is business travel, so not a vacation. Should be a tiring week for sure.

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  1. Bemvindo! Here is some notes from my recent trip.

    I've been to Sampa maybe 7 times and even brought back a wife, so to say I love Sao Paulo is an understatement.

    Musts:Mercado Municipal(Bar do Mane and Hocca Bar), Braz, Brasil a Gosto, A Mineira, Galeria dos Paes, Tordesilhas, Colher de Pau,A Bolinha,Jardineira Grill or Fogo de Chao,lanchonetes(any and all),por kilos, Rissoteria Alessandro Segato, Bar Brahma, Figueira(romantic), and too many more.

    What neighborhood will you stay and what are you lookin' for exactly?

    8 Replies
    1. re: streetgourmetla

      Thank you VERY MUCH for your suggestions above and below. I really appreciate it. I do consider myself a serious 'hound, hopefully I will have the time to explore Sao Paulo's food scene well enough.

      My hotel has just been booked. I am staying at the Radisson in the Faria Lima area. Hopefully that is a decent hotel in a nice part of town. People have told me that it is a good part of town. Are many/any of the places you've mentioned near that area?

      1. re: woojink

        Yes you are doing just fine where you are, actually the Itaim Bibi near Pinheiros.You are walking distance to Colher de Pau(northeast Brazilian), and Bolinha(feijoada),Chocolate du Jour(awesome chocolate), and Baby Beef Rubaiyat(carnes).A great churrascaria, Barbacoa is about 9 blocks up Av.9 de Julio, which is at the corner of Faria Lima where you are staying. Go up Faria Lima towards Reboucas and you will hit the Iguatemi mall, to experience Brazilians in one of there natural environments, a mall.Great people watching, and the place would make many malls in Beverly Hills blush.

        You are by the Cidade Jardim subway stop and can catch buses at 9 de Julio heading to Jardims, the restaurant center of fine dining and upscale shopping, and downtown to see the sights.A taxi to Jardims isn't that far.Brasil A Gosto is at the bottom of Jardims, and is very close by taxi.Do try the subways and buses for a thrill and they are efficient.

        Check out Galeria dos Paes in Jardim America, nearby for lunch, desserts, and salgados.Try the savories(salgados), esfihas, and pasteis,they are addictive. You'll find them at every hole in the wall as you walk down the street, along with fresh juices(passionfruit,mamey,caju,etc) made with pure sugar cane juice as sweetener.Try the acai. Start with the coxinha(chicken croquette) for your salgado education.

        Gotta make it to the Mercado Municipal!

        What are you specifically looking for?High-end?Hole in the wall?Mixed?

        1. re: streetgourmetla

          WOW. Great reccos. Thank you very much.

          I am looking for all of the above. I'm really governed by truly great food - regardless of price or ambience... everything from street food to 3 star Michelin place. Best food, period. I'm also a serious wine collector so would love to check out the wine scene in Sao Paulo also.

          1. re: woojink

            Yes, the Brazilian wine is worth checking out.Go with the more expensive, because Brazilian wine still has a long way to go,so the better producers are your best bet.The best I had was just OK, but I was still diggin' it.Something different.Cachaca is something worth exploring, for sure.Have some sippin' cachacas, or 51,Ypioca,and Velho Barreiro in caipirinhas and batidas.Brasil A Gosto has a starfruit caipirinha that is sublime, and their celeb chef speaks perfect english if you aren't a portuguese speaker.The passionfruit caipirinha at Colher de Pau will blow your mind.Batidas(ba-chee-das) are endless in their concoctions, also with cachaca.

            Chopp, Brazilian tap beers are fantastic along with their canned selections.Try Devassa.

            Practice that portuguese!

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              Thank you for the suggestions! i will definitely try out the wines. Although I may be frantically searching for good Burg and Bordeaux as well. We'll see.

              Local beer would be very cool.

              The Portuguese will be much more challenging, as I am in China & HK until just a couple of days before by Brazil trip... yup, go home, pack a new bag and hop on another long haul flight. 3 continents in 3 weeks in October. Not recommended.

              1. re: woojink

                For Burg and Bordeaux, World Wine in Jardins.Stumbled upon it making the rounds last April.They even had a valet!

                1. re: streetgourmetla

                  Eureka! A list of importers in SP, almost all of which are retail locations.

      2. re: streetgourmetla

        Great suggestions streetgourmetla! I am headed down to SP just like woojink--for business this week--and was glad to see your list. Im hoping my clients will know where to take me, but if I get some time on my own, I'll check out the places listed above.

        Wow, you even brought back a wife. Maybe I can find a nice Brazilian husband on my trip :)

      3. Hola,
        Have a look at Sao Paulo, Brazil Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM at
        It's a foodie's paradise (but it's not inexpensive) and enjoy, aledm
        P.S. Have you posted your Hong Kong recommendations?

        1. Please help us out here. What kind of food are looking for? Remember SP is bigger than LA

          1. i respectfully suggest you bring as much along from HK as possible. otherwise only real options are churascarrias, the best probably being Fogo na Chao and Barbacoa. there is an asiatown called Liberdade which was Japanese and now is turning chinese but after asia it will be a big disappointment. Do not count on street food nor the lanchonettes. for simply getting nourished the best bets are the 'por kilos'which are buffets which charge by weight. Be careful in critcism of the food scene as the paulistas are quite proud of it and it has in fact improved greatly in the last few years. But it is dreadful!! The most famous and perhaps best restaurants is called DOM. you will proabably be staying in a hotel near by and the desk can direct you as it is quite famous. also for high end dining the restaurant in the Fasano hotel is meant to be good although i havent been there either. you will certainly feel violated when you leave in a way you wouldnt in one of SPs many and deservedly famous bordellos.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wdgernert

              I have to disagree with your assessment of the food in SP or Brazil being "dreadful". I agree that the Japanese food is not as good as one would find in the states (or in Asia, obviously), but otherwise I think there are many good/excellent options. (I have not had Chinese in Brazil so I can't comment about that). I like the italian food in SP, my favorite being Famiglia Mancini. As for meat, personally I avoid churrascarias or por kilo places unless I am really hungry or want something quick. In SP, any Rubaiyat restaurant is quite excellent though may be pricey. People on the board also speak highly of Brasil A Gosto and DOM for new Brazilian cuisine, though I have been to neither. Antiquarius is my favorite restaurant in Brazil. It serves Portuguese food but it can be pricey. There are many more I could speak of but you could look here The "Veja" magazine is in Portuguese but you can probably piece it together.

              1. re: wdgernert

                If you go to Brasil to have Japanese food in Libertade, spend your money in bordellos, want to load up instead of taste, and go to DOM instead of Brasil a Gosto, then you aren't makin' the right moves for the right reasons.This I will agree with you,don't go to Libertade trying to find Japanese or Chinese food equal to what there is in those countries.That would be a rookie move.

                I think our OP will do find since he is a serious chowhound and will go for regional Brazilian, and Paulista food.He will discover that for other cuisines, Italian would be worthy of including since Sao Paulo has a real Italian culture and amazing restaurants and menus not found in the US.There are Italian restaurants like Fasano(too bad you didn't try), Massimo, Rissoteria Alessandro Segato,or take a walk down Rua Avanhandava for Restaurante Walter Mancini.Have the most amazing mortadela sandwich at MM, the same that Mr. Bourdain made a point to have as his first stop in Sao Paulo.

                Brazilians don't gorge themselves, so lanchonetes serve modest plates, with salgadinhos, pratos feitos, amazing fresh juice, but they all serve great food and many will amaze.

                For street food, try a milho verde(green corn on the cob)or a fresh coconut.You can find this downtown.For paderia, Galeria dos Paes.

                And, just churrascarias?There are currascarias for days, serving quality meat, with amazing regional dishes at their salad bars.There are also non-rodizio places like Rodeio where you can get the sublime "carne de tira".Many of these are in the upscale neighborhoods of Pinheiros, Jardins, and Itaim Bibi, so their prices are not cheap.But, it was in 2005-2006 before the dollar started tanking against the real, which is the true cause of seemingly high prices.

                Anyways, you spray non-specific and unqualified critique of the restaurant scene, which sounds like bitter, brothel, babble, if you don't mind the illiteration.Some focused statements about your negative experiences would be a modicum of perspective.

              2. Woojink, if you are a cigar person, check out Puros Habanos, Rua Haddock Lobo #844 for cuban and brazilian cigars with an Angelica cachaca.