Eating Out in Sao Paulo

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Sophisticated Dining Scene

Sao Paulo residents like to think of themselves as sleeker and more sophisticated than their neighbors in Rio de Janeiro, and when it comes to dining they may well have a point. This vast metropolis has a dining scene to rival any of the world’s major cities, and Sao Paulo is the place to  come if you want to dine at come of the most chic spots in Brazil. Note that if you intend to dine at top-end restaurants, reservations will be required and, unlike laid-back Rio, dressing to impress is expected.

At the other end of the scale, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for travelers with an eye on their wallet, and the city’s ethnic diversity makes it possible to sample dishes from a wide range of nations.

International Cuisine

The vast Japanese population is notable on the city’s dining scene, and the presence of French, Italian, Arab and Portuguese, also makes its mark on the city’s menus. If you’re looking for something a little more ‘Brazilian’, don’t miss the churrascarias. These barbequeued meat restaurants range from cheap and cheerful to super-pricey, and often offer food rodizio-style, where the sizzling cuts are brought to your table until you can eat no more.

Best for a Blowout

If you’ve got cash to splash on a gourmet meal, Sao Paulo is the place to do it. For a top-notch churrascaria with a price tag to match, try Baby Beef Rubaiyat, which has two branches in the city, at Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima 2954 in Itaim Bibi, and at Alameda Santos 86, Paraiso. The meat is the best Brazil has to offer, and you can expect everything from boar to salmon at the buffet. The meat cuts are from animals reared at the owners’ farm in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and will have dedicated carnivores drooling. For a super-sophisticated Italian meal, head to Fasano, at Rua Vitoria Fasano 88, in the Jardins neighborhood. Housed inside the elegant lobby of the Fasano hotel, this chic offering from the Italian-owned chain justifies the sky high prices.

Best of the Rest

Budget travelers will find plenty by the way of snacks – from burgers served X tudo (with everything) to toasted sandwiches – on the city’s streets and squares, and there are many stand-up juice bars offering fried and filled pastries for just a couple of reais. For something a little healthier on the go, try the city’s many natural snack bars, which serve wholemeal, largely vegetarian pastries and other snacks. Alternatively, lunchtime set meals are a good bet, as are the lunchtime ‘pay-by-weight’ restaurants, which offer great salads and sides as well as meat-based mains. The city’s huge Japanese population means sushi fans are in luck. Head to the Liberdade neighborhood for more Asian options than you could shake a stick at.

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