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Mocotó

1100 Avda. Nossa Senhora do Loreto
São Paulo, Brazil
TEL: 55-11-2951-3056

Restaurants don’t get any cooler—or more Brazilian—than this current cult spot owned by 30-year-old Rodrigo Oliveira. Getting here is an adventure: You ride in a cab for an hour, leaving the city’s high-rises and their helipads behind, finally emerging in the ramshackle working-class district of Vila Medeiros. You squeeze onto a bench under the shingled awning outside. Then you wait—and wait—for a table, savoring the block-party vibe with a glass of cachaça. Scouring Brazil’s alambiques (distilleries) for hyper-artisanal stuff, Oliveira has assembled a list of nearly 350 bottles. Brave them straight or in a rainbow of exotic fruit caipirinhas: milky graviola, violet jaboticaba that tastes a bit like tropical blueberry. There’s a goat stew in the rustic style of the sertão (northeastern backcountry), and the restaurant’s eponymous dish, mocotó, is a high-octane cow’s-hoof soup. Mix it with yellow favas laced with linguica sausage, shredded beef, and cilantro and you get mocofava, Oliveira’s signature dish. Another standout, carne de sol (salted air-dried beef), isn’t dry in the least. That’s because Oliveira cooks it sous vide for 24 hours before serving it smothered with roasted garlic on a hot metal slab.

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