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Pedestrians troll in a tree-lined plaza.
Downtown Sao Paulo.
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The 35 Essential São Paulo Restaurants

From Japanese pastéis at the farmers market to Michelin-starred tasting menus, gaúcho-style Brazilian barbecue to dishes from the Amazon rainforest, São Paulo’s best restaurants do it all

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Downtown Sao Paulo.
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Everything happens in São Paulo first. If there is a trend across Brazil or Latin America, chances are it began in the city or Paulistanos adopted it early. Like the culinary worlds of New York or Paris, São Paulo’s food scene sits at the cutting edge.

Chefs have flocked to the city, bringing Michelin-starred techniques from culinary capitals in Europe to Brazil’s extensive native pantry. Ingredients like manioc, cashew fruit, and giant Amazonian pirarucu fish not only enthrall guests but show off the country’s edible bounty. São Paulo’s cultural melting pot is always bubbling as well. A recent wave of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants have renewed interest in restaurants serving cuisine from the region, like Brasserie Victoria. Italian food is omnipresent in every corner of the city, but it gains new life on the tasting menu at Evvai. Brazil is also home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan, most of it in São Paulo, where it’s easy to find Japanese pastéis, izakayas, and sushi.

For decades, the best restaurants clustered in neighborhoods like Pinheiros, Itaim Bibi, and Jardins, but street traffic has helped spur change. In one of the most populous cities in the world, getting across town is a serious challenge, incentivizing restaurateurs to set up shop in new areas with captive audiences. Diners can find exciting new restaurants in Barra Funda, where Korean restaurants mix with hipster shops, and the nostalgic Tatuapé community, which rarely registered as a blip on the gourmand radar until recently.

With a sprawling, traffic-clotted metropolis to explore, you’ll need some help finding the best spots to eat. Here are the essential eating experiences you need to have in São Paulo now.

Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer living between Brazil and Portugal. He is the author of the book The Food Revolutions.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

With its turquoise blue facade outside and exposed bricks inside, Nelita would look at home in any hip neighborhood of a big city. But this restaurant in Pinheiros stands out for its original and delicate cuisine. Chef Tássia Magalhães focuses on contemporary Italian cuisine. Go for the risotto and pasta, such as the agnolotti stuffed with goat cheese, served with confit lemon, honey, and black garlic sauce, or the linguine alle vongole topped with lardo and smoked zucchini. The atmosphere is casual and cozy, with intimate tables and a white marble counter where you can see all the action in the kitchen.

A restaurant interior with exposed brick walls, various warm light fixtures, and light wood tables set against a light brown leather banquette.
Inside Nelita.
Clayton Vieira

Coffee Lab

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At her Coffee Lab, barista Isabela Raposeiras elevates Indigenous Brazilian coffee to a sensory experience. Raposeiras sources from producers and roasters from across the country, and she aims to serve the best coffee using various preparations, from espresso to the perfect brew from a Clever Dripper. Beans are also sold to-go for brewing at home.

Marilia Zylbersztajn Confeitaria

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Pastry chef Marília Zylbersztajn worked in many of the city’s best restaurants (including D.O.M.) before opening her own pastry shop. Her highly sought-after pies have made her famous in the city. Pies on offer include pear, cardamom, and pecan; ricotta and ginger; and even an apple galette. Ask for a slice as soon as you sit down, and don’t miss Zylbersztajn’s delicious compotas, Brazilian-style jams made with a variety of fruits.

A cheesecake with bright red topping, with a slice hanging out.
Brilliantly hued pie.
Marilia Zylbersztajn Confeitaria

Shihoma Pasta Fresca

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Marcio Shihomatsu, the executive chef and founder of Shihoma Pasta Fresca, worked on his pasta skills at Italian restaurants in Canada for years and spent time in Italy to learn all the ins and outs. In Vila Madalena, his no-frills, garage-like restaurant creates traditional recipes with hints of modernity, like the cappellacci stuffed with polenta and braised pork knuckle or the agnolotti with chicken liver pate and sauteed mushrooms finished with butter and wine. For the purists, there are also classics such as amatriciana and beef lasagna on the menu.

Plump stuffed pasta in a bowl of broth with a basil leaf for garnish.
Stuffed pasta at Shihoma.
Shihoma Pasta Fresca

Corrutela

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At this zero-waste, ingredient-focused restaurant in the hip Vila Madalena neighborhood, talented chef Cesar Costa (formerly of Chez Panisse and Copenhagen’s Relae) makes everything from scratch. He buys cocoa beans and organic wheat directly from farmers to produce bean-to-bar chocolate and mills all his own flour in-house. There’s even an automatic composting machine sitting right in the middle of the dining room, and solar panels generate energy for the restaurant. The menu focuses on comforting yet inventive recipes, such as garum-marinated eryngii mushrooms with cashew nut cream and fried peanuts or a soup au pistou made with shrimps and chayote (a classic combination in Brazilian houses). The kitchen aims to use ingredients entirely, including stalks and peels. For a surprising hit, try the polenta, made with cornmeal ground in the restaurant’s stone mill and nothing else.

A cook’s hands prepare a next of crispy chive roots on top of a soup bowl of onions, bread and melty cheese with a small bit of broth at the bottom.
Veggie grilled onion soup, served with brioche, cheese, and crispy chive roots.
Carol Gherardi / Flair Coletivo

Chef Gabriela Barretto (who also runs the hip Futuro Refeitório) evokes extreme flavors and textures from cooking over wood and charcoal fires. Her homey restaurant, Chou, boasts an excellent backyard patio perfect for warm nights, and dining in the convivial, charming atmosphere is like going to a good friend’s cookout. Barretto serves cassava cooked over charcoal with sea salt and fresh marjoram; fresh clams and orzo pasta with preserved lemon; and grilled octopus with sweet paprika and lemon. Dishes often emerge still smoking from the grill. 

A cast iron pan of squid in sauce, with bread nearby.
Squid with harissa and white wine.
Chou

MasterChef host and award-winning chef Helena Rizzo runs the kitchen at this contemporary Brazilian restaurant. With decades of experience in the São Paulo dining scene, Rizzo delivers a thoughtful tasting menu of exciting dishes like creamy mullet bottarga with corn cream, pancetta, and katsuobushi, or goat slowly roasted overnight in turmeric leaves and served in a pool of luscious broth and marinated shiitake.

Diners sit in outdoor seating area beneath a roof of branches that leads seamlessly into an open dining room beyond.
The patio at Maní.
NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Husband-and-wife team Mexican chef Eduardo Ortiz and Brazilian chef Luana Sabino met while working at New York’s Cosme, before deciding to create their own project in São Paulo. In an unfussy but elegant space dominated by natural materials (wood, leather, and wicker), they combine Mexican recipes and techniques with local Brazilian produce. Some highlights are the soft shell crab with chicatana ants mole and palm heart (a ubiquitous local ingredient) and a version of tres leches with foam made from cupuaçu (a native fruit).

A hand swipes up a pool of mole with a tortilla.
Mole negro with queijo fresco and plantain
Metzi

Luiz Filipe Souza leads a new generation of talented chefs in the city. At Evvai, his first restaurant as a partner and head chef, he showcases modern Italian-accented dishes with worldwide inspirations. His creativity shines the most in inventive recreations of classics, like his take on the caprese salad (highlighting the textures of different tomatoes combined with house-made mozzarella) or the tournedos Rossini in which the foie gras is covered in onion molasses and then grilled in wood, delivered with a side of guava seasoned with juniper and watercress. Be sure to try the outstanding spaghetti with cauliflower and thick, flavorful chicken broth. 

A kitchen team works in an open kitchen, with steel kitchen machines, a bright backsplash, and their uniforms all contrasting colorfully, all seen through the cutout from a dark dining room.
The kitchen at Evvai.
Tadeu Brunelli

Restaurante Banzeiro

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After a decade running Banzeiro in Manaus — a city at the entrance to the Amazon forest — chef Felipe Schaedler decided it was time to open a branch in São Paulo to bring his unconventional dishes and rainforest ingredients to the city. The space reflects the union of those two places, with elegant furniture and tableware accented by a green wall, tropical plants, and a massive canoe hanging on one wall. Schaedler begins diners with finger food like Amazonian tambaqui fish ribs with sweet-sour sauce, bao stuffed with fried pirarucu (another Amazonian fish), and pickled victoria amazonica (an Amazonian flower) with wild arugula. Check out the chef’s special, a whole tambaqui slow-roasted over coals and served with classic regional side dishes such as tiny, yellow santarém beans and farofa (toasted flour sautéed with mix-ins) made with manioc flour from Uarini.

An unseen server pours broth from a serving pitcher into a bowl of tambaqui fish fillet, cauliflower, carrots, and a poached egg. The glazed bowl sits on a dark wooden table.
Tambaqui stew.
Rubens Kato

Brasserie Victória

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The city’s long legacy of Syrian and Lebanese cuisine is best exemplified by traditional spots like Brasserie Victoria. For more than 50 years this family restaurant has served a pitch-perfect puff pastry sfiha, a pizza-like dish very popular in Lebanon and Syria. Founder Victória Feres’s recipe has not changed over the years, and the pastries always arrive at the table crispy and tender.

A plate of cheesy sfihas.
Esfihas de queijo.
Brasserie Victória

Bar Original

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You can’t leave São Paulo without tasting a chopp, a frosty glass of beer straight from the tap — a necessity in a country where the temperature rarely dips below 70 degrees. You can find chopp nearly anywhere, but Original is one of the city’s great bars. With walls covered in old photos and cartoons, wooden tables crammed together, and retro lighting fixtures, Original is the perfect laid-back environment to experience cheerful Brazilian hospitality. After a few rounds, go upstairs for a more elevated experience, where a second bar serves a selection of Brazil’s best craft beers on tap.

A glass bowl with the name Original on the side, is filled with chicharron and a lime wedge, beside a glass of beer blurred in the background
Chicharron and a cold chopp
Original / official

Fasano has become a benchmark of hospitality, inspiring many restaurateurs in town. The restaurant’s formula is simple: quality ingredients, classic Italian recipes, excellent customer service, and one of the best sommeliers in the city, Manoel Beato. Known for riding his scooter around town and hosting a radio show about beverages, Beato has achieved local celebrity status. At Fasano, he gently guides diners without dictating stuffy rules, making every glass an approachable joy.

A large ritzy dining room with four rows of tables set for dinner, curtains and gold accents.
Inside Fasano.
Fasano / Facebook

Brazilian steakhouses — with their large, meaty cuts, long skewers, and picanha (the most popular Brazilian beef cut, also known as the "cap") — are famous even in the United States. For more than 50 years, Rodeio has served a traditional selection of grilled meats accompanied by biro-biro rice (stir-fried rice topped with crispy onions) and roasted hearts of palm. It's a place to celebrate Paulistas’ passion for flame-licked meat.

A restaurant interior with two long banquettes situated back to back, a bar, and other sunny seating areas.
Inside Rodeio.
Rodeio

Tordesilhas

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Chef Mara Salles might as well be the first lady of Brazilian cuisine. At Tordesilhas, she serves regional, home-style cooking with vibrant touches, highlighting the country’s cultural diversity, from bobó de camarão (shrimp in cassava puree and red palm oil known as dendê) to northern tacacá soup made from dried shrimp, manioc root, and jambu (a native fruit that creates a pleasant tingling sensation on the tongue).

A patio with floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall, wooden floors, translucent ceiling and back wall, a large hutch with plates in the back, and plants and soft pendant lights for accents.
Inside Tordesilhas.
Tordesilhas / Facebook

Alex Atala is arguably the most acclaimed Brazilian chef in the world. With the help of his longtime right-hand man, Geovane Carneiro, and young innovative chef Rubens Salfer, Atala works to highlight and reinterpret Brazilian cuisine and its ingredients in a modern and creative way at two-Michelin-starred D.O.M. The tasting menu explores regions across the country, touching on ingredients and precontact techniques of Indigenous Brazilian peoples. Dishes include salted pirarucu fish with açaí tapenade, momotaro tomato stuffed with ripe bacuri (a sweet and sour native fruit), and many preparations using manioc. Meals are ended with a sticky brigadeiro made with Yanomami mushrooms.

An empty dining room decorated with massive pictures of someone’s hand holding tiny dishes, white table cloths and place settings on tables, and a large communal table in the foreground painted with long arrows.
Inside D.O.M.
Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

Pastel da Maria

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You can find locals buying fruit and meat directly from producers at feiras (farmer’s markets) in pretty much any neighborhood, and you’ll often see them make a crucial stop on the way out at a pastel stand, ubiquitous in feiras. Originally based on Chinese wontons and later adapted by Japanese immigrants, the deep-fried, thin-crust pies are usually filled with ground meat or hearts of palm. Kyoto-born Kuniko Yohana, aka Maria, has been preparing perfectly crunchy pastéis and growing her business for over five decades. While her pastries are available at locations throughout the city, her most popular stand is at the Feira do Pacaembu in the Praça Charles Miller square on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

While most contemporary Brazilian restaurants focus on the northern regions of the country (especially the Amazon), chef Tuca Mezzomo turns his eyes to the south, where his roots are. The region is best known for its gaúcho culture, which produced the Brazilian-style barbecue that has spread around the world. But Mezzomo proves that there is much more to showcase from the region with his tasting menu, including lightly smoked mushrooms, delicate vegetables, and southern-style charcuterie (kept in a temperature-controlled room) such as umami-rich wagyu bresaola. There are also a la carte options for more relaxed dinners.

A chef pours sauce into a dish arranged inside an urchin shell.
A dish at Charco.
Nani Rodrigues

Tatini Restaurante

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One of the oldest restaurants in the city, Tatini is now run by the third generation of the eponymous Tatini family. The kitchen still prepares classics like steak a Diana (served with a mixture of mustard and Worcestershire sauce) and steak au poivre (evidence of the influence France once had on Brazilian gastronomy), even as these dishes disappear from other menus around the city. The waiters also still finish items tableside using hot plates and chafing dishes. They flambé, grill, and whisk sauces not only to entertain diners but also to keep these old-school preparations from extinction.

Thinly shaved meat is arranged on a plate in front of two glasses of wine, several other small plate and bread baskets, and a vase of flowers, all on a bright outdoor patio.
Old-school bites at Tatini.
Tatini Restaurante / Facebook

Tasca da Esquina

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Portuguese chef Vítor Sobral delivers flavors right from Lisbon, where he runs five other restaurants. At Tasca da Esquina, Sobral offers a modern take on inexpensive Portuguese eateries known as tascas, dressing up the neighborhood place with elegant furnishings, skylights, and a green wall. If Portuguese heritage has always been present in Brazilian food, diners can return to the source here with options including salt cod with potatoes and egg, sardines with vinaigrette, duck rice, and octopus with potatoes.

A restaurant interior lit by natural light and industrial pendants on one wall, with tables and a built-in bookshelf to one side and a tiled counter running along the other side, both receding toward the outside door.
Inside Tasca da Esquina.
Tasca da Esquina

Restaurante Aizomê

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Aizomê has established Telma Shiraishi as a prominent female chef in the male-dominated sushi industry and earned her recognition from the government of Japan as an ambassador for Japanese cuisine in Brazil. In her airy, charming restaurant in Jardins, she serves an omakase alongside hot dishes, available in the dining room and in private spaces outfitted with tatami mats. Shiraishi’s cooking is technical and delicate, like her golden, crispy tempura or black cod with miso. Everything pairs well with a great selection of teas, including cold matcha and hōjicha.

A small dish overflows with slices of various fish, a mussel, clump of roe, and mound of wasabi, on a wooden tray with other small plates blurred but visible nearby.
Chirashi.
Restaurante Aizomê

Tabuleiro Do Acarajé

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Acarajé is one of the most iconic foods in traditional Brazilian cuisine. The humble fritter is a product of African-influenced food culture common in the state of Bahia. Black-eyed pea flour is deep-fried in red palm oil, split in half, and stuffed with vatapá (a creamy and spicy stew made from bread, shrimp, coconut milk, peanuts, and palm oil). This tiny Tabuleiro counter serves the best in town.

Tenda do Nilo

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You will regularly find a line of people snaking out the door of Tenda do Nilo, a good indication of the quality within. The shop, run by sisters Olinda and Xmune Isper, prepares excellent falafel, crisp on the outside and pillowy in the center. The muhammara (red pepper with walnuts) and baba ghanoush never disappoint either.

As seen from above, a segmented plate with four dips, each topped with a different herbal or spicy garnish.
Dips at Tenda do Nilo.
Tenda do Nilo / Facebook

Jiquitaia

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Jiquitaia may have upgraded from a townhouse to an airy, elegant space in the Paraíso neighborhood, but the kitchen has maintained its quality. The no-frills restaurant, led by siblings Nina and Marcelo Bastos, still focuses on Brazilian regional cuisine. The menu starts with petiscos, local snacks usually eaten with your hands, like coxinhas and pork rinds. Main dishes include local classics, such as feijoada (the ubiquitous bean and pork stew) and maniçoba (made with ground and cooked cassava leaves, here served with pork knuckle), but diners will also spot more creative preparations, such as fried fish with green papaya salad. It is, without a doubt, one of the best places to get to know the culinary diversity of Brazil.

A full roasted fish with side dishes.
Full fish at Jiquitaia.
Jiquitaia

Bar Da Dona Onça

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Located in the Edifício Copan, one of Brazil’s most iconic buildings, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, this bar attracts an eclectic crowd of office workers, artists, and musicians. Deep in downtown, where people of all walks of life pass by, chef Janaína Rueda serves local dishes like her take on traditional virado à Paulista, a platter of tutu de feijão (mashed beans with manioc flour) accompanied by roast pork carré (pork chops), sausage, banana tartare, fried egg, thin-sliced collard greens fried in pork fat, pork rinds, and rice. Food here is hearty, delicious, and perfectly paired with one of the bar’s caipirinha variations.

A restaurant interior with large black and white photos for decoration.
Inside Bar Da Dona Onça.
Bar Da Dona Onça

A Casa do Porco

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This casual and lively restaurant (”the House of the Hog”) commands the most coveted wait list for a table in the whole city, and is partly responsible for bringing the buzz back to downtown São Paulo since opening in 2016. Chefs Jefferson and Janaína Rueda serve a true feast of hog, including homemade sausages, pork jowl sushi, and pancetta crackling with spicy guava jam. The current tasting menu pays homage to the love of pork in various Latin American countries, from Argentinian choripán to Peruvian ceviche (prepared with pork ears and feet). But the main reason to line up for a table is the whole pigs (raised by the chefs on their farm) prepared in barbecue grills in the middle of the kitchen, which produces soft and tender meat with crunchy, delicious rinds.

A plate of four large hunks of roasted pork meat, alongside salads and drinks.
A Casa do Porco’s stellar pork and other dishes.
Mauro Holanda

Shin-Zushi

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Brazil is home to more than 2 million Japanese immigrants and their descendants, making the country one of the largest diaspora communities outside Japan. The cultural impact couldn’t be more evident in São Paulo’s premier sushi bars like Shin-Zushi, where second-generation chef Ken Mizumoto shows off his skills. His knives create perfect pieces of buri and toro sashimi, plus sardines, eels, and squid nigiri. Tradition is the rule here, with no bells and whistles. For the best experience, sit at the bar.

A bowl of chirashi overflowing with various pieces of fish sits on an L-shaped sushi counter while sushi chefs work behind the bar.
Inside Shin-Zushi.
Shin-Zushi

Bar dos Arcos

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In the basement of the mythical Theatro Municipal, one of the most beautiful architectural works in downtown São Paulo, this bar is proof that the bohemian culture of the city has never been so alive. Among the building’s exposed stone foundations, high tables with illuminated edges create an almost surreal ambience, an effect inspired by the bar in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Young executives just out of the office, couples in love, and crowds of hipsters gather to sip well-executed signature cocktails such as Tupi or not Tupi (cachaça, lemon juice, and honey combined with tucupi, manioc root juice) or Não me Kahlo (a take on a margarita, with tequila, tomato water, vermouth, agave, and lemon).

New Shin-La Kwan

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São Paulo’s Koreatown in the Bom Retiro neighborhood is full of restaurants serving bibimbap, bulgogi, and kimchi-spiked dishes. But New Shin-La Kwan embodies a passion shared by Brazilians and Koreans: barbecue. This steakhouse veers toward a Korean-style barbecue restaurant, with charcoal grills set in the center of each table and servers on hand to supply raw chunks of pork belly or marinated beef ribs. Alongside come rice, salad, and banchan, including delicious kimchi made by chef Sae Kim’s mother, who produces over 300 pounds a week for the restaurant.

Izakaya Issa

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The Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade contains the city’s best izakayas. Issa, led by the incomparably warm Dona Margarida, offers a traditional selection of grilled specialties. Sit at the bar and start with an order of pork ribs with boiled turnip immersed in warm broth. Then explore the diverse menu, from the creamy takoyaki to all kinds of udon. And don’t miss the selection of sake and shochu.

A woman stands behind a bar, topped with drinkware drying on towels, flanked by Japanese bottles.
Dona Margarida.
Rafa Tonon

Bar do Cofre SubAstor

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An old bank vault in one of downtown’s most iconic buildings is now a bar where cocktails are valuable treasures. Under the command of head bartender Fabio La Pietra, classic libations meet inventive signature cocktails made with native Brazilian ingredients such as cashew fruit, maxixe (a sour cousin of cucumber), and rapadura (sugar candy made from raw cane juice). Snacks such as a currywurst-style hot dog and crudites platters balance out the alcohol.

A drink in a highball glass rests on the open door of a safety security box with a key and a few coins lying by its base.
Inside SubAstor.
Bar do Cofre SubAstor

Bar do Luiz Fernandes

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Maybe the most iconic snack in Brazil, coxinha consists of dough shaped like a chicken leg, stuffed with shredded chicken and then fried. This dive bar, where the stools are made of plastic and beers arrive in massive 600-milliliter bottles, fries coxinhas to perfection. After devouring a plateful, move on to a variety of other bolinhos (deep-fried snacks), like homemade meatballs, manioc fritters filled with oxtail, and Basque beef cheek fritters. 

A bowl of chicken fritters, two whole and one split open, on a napkin bearing the Bar do Luiz Fernandes on a blank background.
Coxinha
Bar do Luiz Fernandes / Facebook

Castelões

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Traditional and modern Neapolitan pizzerias can be found across the city, but if you’re looking for the quintessential pie, this is the place. Opened in 1924, Castelões is the oldest pizzeria in the city and has earned generations of fans, and the dusty decor and old photos on the walls prove its decades of bona fides. Order the house pizza made with artisanal sausage and mozzarella. When the pizza comes out, with a thin, crispy crust and bright red tomato sauce, you’ll understand why the place has flourished for so long. 

Mocotó

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José Almeida came to São Paulo from the sertão, a region in northeastern Brazil, and opened Mocotó in 1973. Today his son, chef Rodrigo Oliveira, runs the restaurant, revising traditional sertaneja recipes with modern, inventive touches. His creativity is evident in everything from the iconic mocotó (cow’s foot broth) that gives the restaurant its name, to favada (fava beans cooked with sausage, bacon, and jerked beef). To make the wait more manageable (there’s always a line), order the famous dadinhos de tapioca (cheese curds with tapioca) and one of the 350 cachaças served at the bar. Pro tip: Mocotó is located in Vila Medeiros, a working-class district far from downtown São Paulo, but it’s close to the airport, so consider visiting on your way in or out of the city.

Restaurante Cepa

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Cepa made its home in the Tatuapé neighborhood, instantly becoming one of those comforting local restaurants that seems to have been around forever. Chef Lucas Dante serves organic-inflected cuisine while sommelier Gabrielli Flemming pairs everything with a concise, smart wine selection. The menu options are few but satisfying. There’s always fresh fish, along with simple, delicious recipes such as breaded pork loin with potato salad, spaghetti carbonara, and braised mussels on toast with peperonata and pil pil sauce.

Small squid on a rice dish, presented in a large shell.
A seafood dish at Cepa.
Restaurante Cepa

Nelita

With its turquoise blue facade outside and exposed bricks inside, Nelita would look at home in any hip neighborhood of a big city. But this restaurant in Pinheiros stands out for its original and delicate cuisine. Chef Tássia Magalhães focuses on contemporary Italian cuisine. Go for the risotto and pasta, such as the agnolotti stuffed with goat cheese, served with confit lemon, honey, and black garlic sauce, or the linguine alle vongole topped with lardo and smoked zucchini. The atmosphere is casual and cozy, with intimate tables and a white marble counter where you can see all the action in the kitchen.

A restaurant interior with exposed brick walls, various warm light fixtures, and light wood tables set against a light brown leather banquette.
Inside Nelita.
Clayton Vieira

Coffee Lab

At her Coffee Lab, barista Isabela Raposeiras elevates Indigenous Brazilian coffee to a sensory experience. Raposeiras sources from producers and roasters from across the country, and she aims to serve the best coffee using various preparations, from espresso to the perfect brew from a Clever Dripper. Beans are also sold to-go for brewing at home.

Marilia Zylbersztajn Confeitaria

Pastry chef Marília Zylbersztajn worked in many of the city’s best restaurants (including D.O.M.) before opening her own pastry shop. Her highly sought-after pies have made her famous in the city. Pies on offer include pear, cardamom, and pecan; ricotta and ginger; and even an apple galette. Ask for a slice as soon as you sit down, and don’t miss Zylbersztajn’s delicious compotas, Brazilian-style jams made with a variety of fruits.

A cheesecake with bright red topping, with a slice hanging out.
Brilliantly hued pie.
Marilia Zylbersztajn Confeitaria

Shihoma Pasta Fresca

Marcio Shihomatsu, the executive chef and founder of Shihoma Pasta Fresca, worked on his pasta skills at Italian restaurants in Canada for years and spent time in Italy to learn all the ins and outs. In Vila Madalena, his no-frills, garage-like restaurant creates traditional recipes with hints of modernity, like the cappellacci stuffed with polenta and braised pork knuckle or the agnolotti with chicken liver pate and sauteed mushrooms finished with butter and wine. For the purists, there are also classics such as amatriciana and beef lasagna on the menu.

Plump stuffed pasta in a bowl of broth with a basil leaf for garnish.
Stuffed pasta at Shihoma.
Shihoma Pasta Fresca

Corrutela

At this zero-waste, ingredient-focused restaurant in the hip Vila Madalena neighborhood, talented chef Cesar Costa (formerly of Chez Panisse and Copenhagen’s Relae) makes everything from scratch. He buys cocoa beans and organic wheat directly from farmers to produce bean-to-bar chocolate and mills all his own flour in-house. There’s even an automatic composting machine sitting right in the middle of the dining room, and solar panels generate energy for the restaurant. The menu focuses on comforting yet inventive recipes, such as garum-marinated eryngii mushrooms with cashew nut cream and fried peanuts or a soup au pistou made with shrimps and chayote (a classic combination in Brazilian houses). The kitchen aims to use ingredients entirely, including stalks and peels. For a surprising hit, try the polenta, made with cornmeal ground in the restaurant’s stone mill and nothing else.

A cook’s hands prepare a next of crispy chive roots on top of a soup bowl of onions, bread and melty cheese with a small bit of broth at the bottom.
Veggie grilled onion soup, served with brioche, cheese, and crispy chive roots.
Carol Gherardi / Flair Coletivo

Chou

Chef Gabriela Barretto (who also runs the hip Futuro Refeitório) evokes extreme flavors and textures from cooking over wood and charcoal fires. Her homey restaurant, Chou, boasts an excellent backyard patio perfect for warm nights, and dining in the convivial, charming atmosphere is like going to a good friend’s cookout. Barretto serves cassava cooked over charcoal with sea salt and fresh marjoram; fresh clams and orzo pasta with preserved lemon; and grilled octopus with sweet paprika and lemon. Dishes often emerge still smoking from the grill. 

A cast iron pan of squid in sauce, with bread nearby.
Squid with harissa and white wine.
Chou

Maní

MasterChef host and award-winning chef Helena Rizzo runs the kitchen at this contemporary Brazilian restaurant. With decades of experience in the São Paulo dining scene, Rizzo delivers a thoughtful tasting menu of exciting dishes like creamy mullet bottarga with corn cream, pancetta, and katsuobushi, or goat slowly roasted overnight in turmeric leaves and served in a pool of luscious broth and marinated shiitake.

Diners sit in outdoor seating area beneath a roof of branches that leads seamlessly into an open dining room beyond.
The patio at Maní.
NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Metzi

Husband-and-wife team Mexican chef Eduardo Ortiz and Brazilian chef Luana Sabino met while working at New York’s Cosme, before deciding to create their own project in São Paulo. In an unfussy but elegant space dominated by natural materials (wood, leather, and wicker), they combine Mexican recipes and techniques with local Brazilian produce. Some highlights are the soft shell crab with chicatana ants mole and palm heart (a ubiquitous local ingredient) and a version of tres leches with foam made from cupuaçu (a native fruit).

A hand swipes up a pool of mole with a tortilla.
Mole negro with queijo fresco and plantain
Metzi

Evvai

Luiz Filipe Souza leads a new generation of talented chefs in the city. At Evvai, his first restaurant as a partner and head chef, he showcases modern Italian-accented dishes with worldwide inspirations. His creativity shines the most in inventive recreations of classics, like his take on the caprese salad (highlighting the textures of different tomatoes combined with house-made mozzarella) or the tournedos Rossini in which the foie gras is covered in onion molasses and then grilled in wood, delivered with a side of guava seasoned with juniper and watercress. Be sure to try the outstanding spaghetti with cauliflower and thick, flavorful chicken broth. 

A kitchen team works in an open kitchen, with steel kitchen machines, a bright backsplash, and their uniforms all contrasting colorfully, all seen through the cutout from a dark dining room.
The kitchen at Evvai.
Tadeu Brunelli

Restaurante Banzeiro

After a decade running Banzeiro in Manaus — a city at the entrance to the Amazon forest — chef Felipe Schaedler decided it was time to open a branch in São Paulo to bring his unconventional dishes and rainforest ingredients to the city. The space reflects the union of those two places, with elegant furniture and tableware accented by a green wall, tropical plants, and a massive canoe hanging on one wall. Schaedler begins diners with finger food like Amazonian tambaqui fish ribs with sweet-sour sauce, bao stuffed with fried pirarucu (another Amazonian fish), and pickled victoria amazonica (an Amazonian flower) with wild arugula. Check out the chef’s special, a whole tambaqui slow-roasted over coals and served with classic regional side dishes such as tiny, yellow santarém beans and farofa (toasted flour sautéed with mix-ins) made with manioc flour from Uarini.

An unseen server pours broth from a serving pitcher into a bowl of tambaqui fish fillet, cauliflower, carrots, and a poached egg. The glazed bowl sits on a dark wooden table.
Tambaqui stew.
Rubens Kato

Brasserie Victória

The city’s long legacy of Syrian and Lebanese cuisine is best exemplified by traditional spots like Brasserie Victoria. For more than 50 years this family restaurant has served a pitch-perfect puff pastry sfiha, a pizza-like dish very popular in Lebanon and Syria. Founder Victória Feres’s recipe has not changed over the years, and the pastries always arrive at the table crispy and tender.

A plate of cheesy sfihas.
Esfihas de queijo.
Brasserie Victória

Bar Original

You can’t leave São Paulo without tasting a chopp, a frosty glass of beer straight from the tap — a necessity in a country where the temperature rarely dips below 70 degrees. You can find chopp nearly anywhere, but Original is one of the city’s great bars. With walls covered in old photos and cartoons, wooden tables crammed together, and retro lighting fixtures, Original is the perfect laid-back environment to experience cheerful Brazilian hospitality. After a few rounds, go upstairs for a more elevated experience, where a second bar serves a selection of Brazil’s best craft beers on tap.