Somebody feed Ron (São Paulo Edition)..

Actuary out of the Box
6 min readNov 14, 2022

Inspired by the Rio de Janeiro episode of Somebody feel Phil, this is my guide to eating well in Sao Paulo, the largest city in the Americas.

This blog replaces my original blog entitled, How to be fat and poor in Sao Paulo which focused on high end eateries . This blog is lot more egalitarian and includes my fav dishes. Disclaimer.. I live in Moema so my recommendations are all in Zona Sul of Sao Paulo, Capital.

Chiado (Portuguese)

The owner also run Bela Sintra which is the most expensive Portuguese restaurant in Brazil! Here’s the thing… Chiado has the same quality at half the price! OK, the décor is kitschy but nothing’s perfect.

My standard orders are

· Bolinhos de Bacalau (Half portion)

· Bacalhau a Braz or Paella (modo da casa)

· Pastel de nata (not always available.. which is annoying)

My Plan B for Portuguese is Rancho Portuguesa but imho, Chiado is lot better

L’amitie (French)

It’s not that easy to find really great French restaurants, this one is a favorite with the French ex-pat community, very solid and accepts walk in customers without reservations.

EMA (Brazilian)

Only went once but it was ‘love at first bite’

Reminds me of ZaZa Bistro in Rio de Janeiro, but I think that this is better

Manioca (Brazilian)

Tucked behind a multimarca fashon store in Shopping Iguatemi is this hidden gem. It’s next to Burberry’s. It`s kind of associated (long story) with Mani (top 50 in the world), but its much more economical. Excellent bang for your buck. Many items are shared between the restaurants. The menu is a fusion of Brazilian and contemporary cuisine. The wait times can test your patience., so go early and during the week! Since it`s in a mall, you can walk around whilst you wait. Everything is superb.

Tre Bicchieri (Italian)

My vote for ‘best in class’, but it ain’t cheap! My standard order is as follows.

· Carpacchio (salmao and tuna)

· Lasanha (when it’s available) or Lamb or Pepperoni Pizza or Spaghetti Carbonara

· Tiramisu

Barreto — Jazz Bar (Italian)

The place to be on a Saturday night in Sao Paulo. This is Fasano`s music bar. 2 live Jazz/Bossa Nova bands accompany a small but amazing Italian menu with the most impeccable service.

Pecorino (Italian). Vila Nova location

This is now a crappy chain located in many shopping centers, but I am recommending the 1st restaurant to be opened.. the mothership which is still awesome. Address is R. Domingos Leme, 687 — Vila Nova. My order includes

· Bruschetta (mushooms)

· Lamb (paleta) with roasted potatoes (batatas rusticas)

· Pistachio cream (world’s best ever). Pecorino started off life as an ice cream palour.

Reet Namaste (Indian)

After living 25 years in Brazil, I finally found a great curry house. Tips

· Food is always served mild, so if you want vindaloo or phaal you have to ask

· Biryani is always available, no need to pre-order

· My standard order is as follows.

o Vegetable Samosas (never the meat).. with mint sauce

o Potato Naan. Roti, Chapatis

o Mutton Biryani (with Basmati rice)

o Dhal Masala

o Tandoori Chicken

o Rogan Josh

o Butter Chicken (but not always)

o Kulfi (only one flavor)

Yong Dim Sum Bar (Chinese)

Alex (chef) learnt his trade in Hong Hong. Place is super small, so make reservations or you must wait your turn. No valet parking

I ordered the following.

· Char Siu Pow

· Spare ribs

· Peking Duck

· Crunchy Shrimp

· Shumai

· Cheung Fung — pork (char siu)

· French Toast for dessert

Ton Hoi (Chinese)

Another one visit wonder. I am pretty confident about this selection, since I used to be a loyal customer of China Lake which is the gold standard of Chinese restaurants in Brazil and imho, Ton Hoi beats China Lake hands down!

· Valet Parking is free (Yay!)

· Closes early (15.00)

· Peking Duck is around R$500. It’s huge and it must be pre-ordered! Whereas Yong Dim Sum bar includes a very small portion of Peking Duck on its menu.

Kazou (Japanese)

Ok, I’m a tad fickle with my japanese restaurants. Right now this is my favourite. Its very expensive, so I only go at lunch at order their Bento Box. No choice at all, but it’s divine and will not break the bank.

Kinoshita (Japanese)

· Yes it’s probably the best in Brazil, yes it has Michelin stars but it’s toooo expensive. You have no idea!

· I only go during the week for lunch.. 5 course set menu is around R$120 per person. Fantastic value for money!

· If you have Amex card, then parking is free

Frutaria Sao Paulo (Vila Nova location)

If you want to detox, then this is the place! Has a super cool vibe. My usual order is

· Caipirinha (without sugar)

· Humus and Carpaccio (yes 2 starters)

· Grilled Salmon with quinoa

· Dessert; Ok this is the weird part… if your bill is over R$150 and you pay in cash, any dessert is FREE!

Mestico (Thai). Vila Nova location

Best Thai in Sao Paulo. The Vila Nova restaurant is fairly new, but the Paulista branch has been a fixture for decades. My standard order includes

· Krathong-thong

· Pad Thai.. but with extra jumbo shrimps