Sao Paulo Restaurants and Dining

(Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Photograph of the downtown skylinePaulistanos love to eat out and Sao Paulo boasts a fabulously rich dining culture. Almost any cuisine can be found in the city of Sao Paulo and the Japanese, German and Italian neighbourhoods feature excellent restaurants and eateries serving traditional dishes. Having said this, most areas in the city offer extensive choice ranging from cheap lanchonetes (lunch bars) to fashionable quilo restaurants, where diners pay a price according to the weight of their meal.

Locals tend to stick to set mealtimes, and if you are peckish outside of these hours you may find dining establishments empty or even closed. Breakfast in Sao Paulo is served between 07:00 and 10:00, lunch between 11:00 and 15:00 and dinner between 19:00 and 23:00. Restaurant servings tend to be massive and are often enough for two to share, although half servings are becoming increasingly more common within the city.

Downtown picture, showing locals and tourists

What to Eat

A melting pot of cultures and traditions, Sao Paulo is home to a vast number of tasty dishes and regional specialities, and probably boasts the best food in the country. The 'churrascarias' (barbecue houses) are popular among carnivores, and the succulent steaks and other meats tend to be of excellent quality.

The 'feijoada' (pork and blackbean stew) is a regional favourite and locals wash it down with exotic fruit juices or 'caldo de cana' (sugar cane and lime juice). You can find wonderful pastas and pizzas in the city's restaurants, as well as Japanese delicacies such as sushi, and German pastries and meats.

Image of traffic on the Avenida Paulista

Where to Eat

For fine dining and a modern take on traditional local foods, head to Figueira Rubaiyat on Rua Haddock. This luxurious grill restaurant is a little pricey, but if you've got the cash it's well worth a splurge, as it serves some of Sao Paulo's best meat dishes, as well as a selection of international dishes, such as foie gras and smoked oysters.

The Vila Madalena district is home to numerous bars and restaurants, and is known among artists and young professionals for its gastronomy. The Liberade district undoubtedly features some of the world's best Japanese restaurants, while the Avenida Paulista is home to an assortment of exclusive restaurants and cafés.

The best place to get tasty Italian food is probably the excellent Familglia Mancini restaurant in the Italian district of central Sao Paulo, though the area contains numerous decent dining venues and in fact, great Italian food can be had throughout the city.

The only people that may have trouble enjoying the wonderful choice of foods within Sao Paulo are vegetarians, as many meals tend to be based around big hunks of meat. There are some decent vegetarian restaurants and dining options dotted throughout the city however, including the excellent Gopala Prasada in the centre of the city, and the Sativa Indian restaurant in Jardins.

Japanese and Italian are not the only international foods available. In the winter, Swiss fondue is a particular favourite of many locals, while an excellent selection of French, Indian and Thai restaurants can be found scattered through the city.

Being one of the world's biggest exporters of coffee, Sao Paulo is home to a large number of cafés, ranging from cosy budget ones to chic, high end, trendy places. Stopping for a coffee is a favourite pastime for Paulistanos throughout the city.