São Paulo: Eat
Five spots to try in São Paulo’s white-hot culinary scene.
D.O.M.: A required stop for foodies (and big-name chefs from Alain Ducasse to Ferran Adrià), D.O.M. serves a tasting menu by pioneering chef Alex Atala that showcases Brazilian flavors. Two standouts: the shrimp infused with cashew juice and tamarind and the banana-lime dessert scented with floral priprioca root, previously used only for perfume. $$$
Epice: A massive wooden door marks the entrance to this French-inspired restaurant run by 32-year-old Alberto Landgraf, whose previous experience includes stints at Pierre Gagnaire, in Paris, and Gordon Ramsay, in London. His whimsical menu plays with textures: a deceptively simple entrée presents squash three ways—raw, as a cream, and in gnocchi. 1002 Rua Haddock Lobo, Jardim Paulista; 55-11/3062-0866. $$$
Maní: Classic dishes such as feijoada, a hearty bean, beef, and pork stew, get a modern spin here; Brazilian ex-model chef Helena Rizzo and her Catalan husband, Daniel Redondo, both worked at El Celler de Can Roca, one of Spain’s temples to molecular gastronomy. $$
Mocoto: It’s a 45-minute drive from the city center to Mocoto, in Vila Medeiros, but the trek is worth it. Sophisticated Paulistas come to sample chef Rodrigo Oliverira’s northern Brazilian specialties, including mouthwatering torresmos (fried pig skin) and rich mocofava (cow-hoof soup with sausage). $$
Tordesilhas: Chef Mara Salles still uses the recipes she learned from her mother while growing up in the countryside at this low-key spot in Consolação. What to order? The tender duck braised in tucupi, a spicy cassava broth, followed by house-made tapioca ice cream. 465 Rua Bela Cintra, Consolação; 55-11/3107-7444. $$
Five to Savor
Don’t leave town without trying these local staples.
Brigadeiro: These cocoa-filled bonbons are made in dozens of flavors (pistachio and cachaça are two) at Maria Brigadeiro (68 Rua Capote Valente, Pinheiros; 55-11/3085-3687).
Coffee: The trailblazer of artisanal coffee in São Paulo is Isabela Raposeiras of Coffee Lab (1340 Rua Fradique Coutinho, Pinheiros; 55-11/3375-7400), who roasts beans from small Brazilian farms. Order a steaming cup of Bourbon Vermelho.
Pizza: Thanks to its sizable Italian community, São Paulo is famous for its outstanding pies; don’t miss the classic Neapolitan margherita at Speranza (1004 Rua 13 Maio, Bela Vista; 55-11/3288-8502; $$).
Pão de Queijo: Fresh batches of this irresistibly chewy, buttery bread made with cassava flour are baked daily at the pocket-size Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo ($).
Pastel: The light and crisp codfish turnover, a street-food favorite, can be found at the Saturday market in Praça Benedito Calixto. Or, try the spicy and creamy version filled with African bobotie shrimp stew and yuca cream at Casa das Ostras (3 Rua Joaquim de Brito, Jardim Imbé; 55-11/5897-2969; $$).
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150