The 9 Best São Paulo Restaurants: Top Traditional Dining Spots

With over 20 million people residing in the wider metropolitan area of São Paulo, you can be sure that this enchanting city has something for everyone.

With so much to do and see in São Paulo, you’re sure to work up a healthy appetite. Thankfully, there is plenty of choice between the restaurants and cuisine in the city.

São Paulo sets the bar high in a country so impassioned by its national food. Consequently, São Paulo contains some of the best restaurant in Brazil – if not the world. With that in mind, here is our top recommendations for the 9 Best Restaurants in São Paulo.

Tordesilhas

Brazilian cuisine
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The respect for Brazilian cuisine is celebrated nowhere more lovingly than in the charming restaurant of Tordesilhas. As you enter, you wont help but notice the striking wall of jars in a variety of reds and oranges. These make up over 100 jars of Tordesilhas’ homemade infused peppers that you may be lucky enough to try. The rustic yet sophisticated space lacks self-consciousness among the high-end restaurants that line the Jardins district of São Paulo. Its simple approach has stood the test of time after celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020.

Under the expertise of owner and chef: Mara Salles, Tordesilhas acknowledges the food that makes up the staple of the Brazilian diet. Her dishes evolve into new directions and taking inspiration from international cuisines. There is something for every taste on the menu. Humble rice and bean stews to Portuguese style Petiscos (sharing plates), and many gastronomy level dishes are available. As much loved as the food is in Tordesilhas, the drinks are just as important for the dining experience. A well paired wine can be recommended for every dish, or cocktails made with the most popular Brazilian sugarcane spirit of Cachaça. Round off the meal with an exquisite dessert and strongly brewed coffee.

The variety of different dishes that revolve around Brazilian cuisine lets you taste a variety of national favorites. The dining experience at Tordesilhas is very much about making yourself at home. The menu helps you settle in while surprising you with a combination of tradition and innovation. Prices per person at Tordesilhas average between $35-$45 for a main meal. This provides a great middle ground between affordability and upmarket dining.

Maní

chefs hands
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Maní may be one of the best fusion restaurants in São Paulo, and it is clear to see why. The restaurant blends together an inspiration of Brazilian, European, and Asian styles. These differing cuisines manage to surprise while working together seamlessly. Diners will enjoy a journey through traditional, contemporary, and international flavors. Located in the trendy bohemian district of Pinheiros, Maní is led by Helena Rizzo, (World’s Best Female Chef 2014). Her artisan dishes and creative combinations won her restaurant a MICHELEN star among many other awards and stellar reviews.

Expect a culinary experience at Maní as you delve into interesting and unique flavors. Ordering the tasting menu is a great way to try the fusion of dishes with a pairing of wines. Maní’s tasting menus start at $120, but is a worthwhile experience for enthusiastic foodies who want to try something a little different. If are happy to commit to something off the traditional menu, you can expect much more variety in price from anywhere between $25-$100. One of Maní’s primary celebrations is their seafood menu, with the classic Brazilian moqueca fish stew and sea bream ceviche being just a few customer favorites.

chefs at work
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This modern restaurant understands that the dining experience is not just about the food, but the setting too. The partial outdoor dining area is the recommended place to book a table at sunny lunchtimes. From there you can enjoy the natural light while the sounds of the warm Brazilian breeze provides a sweet escape from the heat and noise of São Paulo. If you prefer to dine inside the restaurant, quirky artwork and interesting layouts such as the art gallery/hallway are sure to make the experience even more unique. Despite Maní’s global acclaim, it is also a popular restaurant for locals in its handling of Brazilian cuisine. Enjoying good food among the residents of São Paulo always makes for a more authentic experience.

Hocca Bar

Hocca Bar
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After the obligatory wild night out in São Paulo with potentially too much Cachaça consumption, a big sandwich filled to bursting is the perfect remedy. Hocca Bar provides just that, and despite the simplicity of the meal, it proves a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

There are a few Hocca Bar’s dotted around central São Paulo, with the main eatery located in the Mercado Municipal. This is a popular market center where fruit, fish, and cereals among many other fresh local produce are sold. The busy interior of Hocca Bar is wholly dedicated to big portions of quick and simple food which arrives within minutes of ordering. The name of the restaurant eludes to a bar. This point to the casual setting with on-tap beer and cocktails being a popular accompaniment for the food. Hocca Bar even has its own Cachaça – worth trying for the full Hocca experience! Another charm within this buzzing São Paulo sandwich bar is its lively and non-fussy atmosphere. During many lunchtimes, a long line forms out the door and tables quickly fill up with hungry clientele – showing the popularity of this tasty food in massive portions.

No matter how large the appetite, it is easily combated with as much meat and cheese that can be stuffed between two slices of bread or pastry. Menu options at Hocca Bar include the gluttonous Mortadella (Italian sausage) sandwich, or the popular pastel de bacalhau (codfish pastries). These filling foods are very much a meal rather than a snack and clientele recommend skipping breakfast before heading to Hocca Bar for lunch. If you’re looking to save money on your trip in São Paulo, Hocca bar has wallet friendly prices. The average cost of a sandwich is around $4 to $7, and many pastries cost even less. Whatever you order on the menu at this surprising favorite of São Paulo, pair it well with a side of fries and Hocca Bar’s ever flowing drinks.

Attimo Per Quattro

Italian pizza
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Attimo Per Quattro, or Attimo (Italian for ‘moment’) lives up to it’s name as a culinary moment worth remembering. The restaurant was founded in partnership by São Paulo native chef Marcelo Fernandes, and French trained Jefferson Rueda. Attimo’s menu is based on the recipes served by Rueda’s Italian grandparents. The combined talents and inspirations of both chefs produces a new take on culinary traditions. Using the freshest of Brazilian ingredients, this restaurant puts a local twist on Italian cuisine. With the two chefs not wanting to forget their São Paulo roots, the compromise of Brazilian and Italian flavors make for a more unique experience. ‘Per Quattro’ in the restaurant’s name alludes to the seasonal produce that is selected throughout the year to refresh their dishes each quarter.

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Based in the trendy dining district of Vila Nova Conceição, Attimo is the perfect spot for a romantic meal in São Paulo. Many suspected Italian classics are available on the menu. Risotto, pasta, and meat dishes make up the bulk of the mains. Also available are a large variety of traditional appetizers and desserts with creative flourishes. Each dish is flavorful with with decent portion sizes. There is also a great selection of Italian wines to go alongside the meal. The Brazilian ingredients and twists to the recipes makes Attimo stand out from other Italian restaurants in São Paulo. There is a clear attention to detail and love that goes into each dish, from the presentation of the plate to the accompanying sauce.

This fine dining Italian/Brazilian restaurant gets everything right. The experience of eating at Attimo is all tied together with the stunning architecture. Designed by architect Naoki Otake, the use of white marble and lots of glass brings a clean refinement to open up the setting. Choosing to sit outside surrounded by plants, ponds, and palm trees offers a natural beauty and tranquility to the experience. With fresh seasonal ingredients, exquisite food, and a superb setting, you can expect a pricier bill than the average Italian restaurant. A typical meal and wine at Attimo can easily reach over $100 per person, but the quality and taste is hard to beat.

Varanda Grill

grilled bbq
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In a place like Brazil, meat, steak and barbecue are taken seriously. Nowhere more seriously perhaps, than in São Paulo’s Varanda Grill. While the primary restaurant is located in the Pinheiros district, there are a few other Varanda restaurants in central São Paulo. The restaurant owner Sylvio Lazzarini is a specialist when it comes to steak, being a previous member of the Brazilian Cattle Breeders’ Association. His experience in good quality meat is clear, with Varanda Grill scoring within the top 100 best restaurants in São Paulo on Tripadvisor, and earning a MICHELIN plate rating for good food.

There are a large range of high quality cuts available for you to try at Varanda Grill, with the steaks being classified by their country of origin. You can therefore try and compare the finest cuts of Brazilian, American, and Argentinian meat. If steak isn’t your thing, Varanda Grill also provides fresh fish dishes daily. Along with the food, you can be sure to find the perfect accompanying wine. From their hugely extensive cellar of hundreds of bottles, the knowledgeable servers can suggest an excellent pairing with the meal. The waiting bar is also available to enjoy an aperitif before you sit down to dine.

This superior steakhouse has a luxurious feel with it’s solid wood and comfortable leather furniture. Varanda Grill shows that a good meal doesn’t have to be about small and fancy dishes. The warmth of the setting and the simplicity of the food provides a high quality  and well suited experience. With the average meal costing $120, you can count on stellar food, wine, and service. The quality at Varanda Grill cannot be beaten by any other steakhouse in Brazil. If steak is your desire, Varanda Grill is your answer.

Amedeus

seafood
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Seafood and wine are the expertise of the family run Amedeus. The restaurant is located appropriately in the quality dining district of Jardins. Amadeus is run by head chef Bella Masano who is the daughter of the founding couple. The Masano family could not be more qualified to run a fish restaurant. They stock their menu by delving into the produce of their very own oyster and clam farm in Florianópolis – the coastal capital of Santa Catarina State in the south of Brazil. Amadeus really knows its fish, and the fresh produce and knowledge of the product makes their meals all the more expertly crafted.

Eating at Amadeus is an all-round classy affair. If driving up to the door, you will be greeted with valet parking before being welcomed into the modern and sophisticated interior. There is also the option to sit outside on the plant adorned patio on commonly sunny days. Among the family farmed shellfish, Amadeus is also renowned for its many shrimp courses. Examples include the shrimp in cognac sauce entree or traditional shrimp moqueca (fish stew). Other main courses worth a try are the fantastic seafood pasta or mixed seafood dishes. The Commander’s Boiler for two is a good for sharing while trying lots of different seafood. Along with such good a good fish menu, wine is almost a requirement. Amadeus offers an extensive wine list, and the servers are happy to help you pair each glass with the meal.

Time and time again, Amadeus places near the top for best restaurants in São Paulo, and certainly one of the most prestigious fish restaurants in the city. Prices are high here, with many of the mains costing well over $100. From the reviews and ratings of praise, it seems that the price of this top quality seafood restaurant is worth every penny.

A Casa de Porco

Pork Sushi
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Pork lovers rejoice! Located in downtown São Paulo, A Casa de Porco is run by butcher turned chef Jefferson Rueda and his wife. Rueda began his venture into the world of pork after his co-partnership at Attimo (mentioned previously in this article). A Casa de Porco translates to House of the Pig in Portuguese, and is equipped with two huge barbecue grills for roasting whole boned animals.

The strong ethos around A Casa de Porco is not just in the eating. Rueda takes responsibility for every step of the food before it even arrives in the restaurant. Rueda rears his own pigs, slaughters them in his own slaughterhouse, and produces his own dishes. Using every part of the pig, Rueda feels a respect for the meals he creates. What can’t be produced by Rueda, he outsources to small, local businesses to ensure high quality products and a respect for his community.

At A Casa de Porco, pork is prepared in many innovative ways. One way the food is experimented with at A Casa de Porco is in the evolution of international classics to create new recipes. One such innovation is a take on Kibbeh – a Lebanese croquette of ground meat and spices. This was created to celebrate the Middle Eastern community in São Paulo. Pork jowl sushi is another interesting menu choice that puts a twist on a Japanese favorite. There are also plenty of less experimental but equally tasty options, such as the slow-roasted pork sandwich and pork tartare topped with crispy pancetta crackling.

The interior of A Casa de Porco is a trendy and lovingly decorated space. Quirky pig related decor and colorful features create a fun and homely vibe. The soft leather chairs and booths mean you can nestle in and enjoy heartwarming Brazilian cuisine in a comfortable setting. If you prefer, there is also the option to takeaway certain foods from the fast food window. Roast pork, vegetarian, or vegan sandwiches can all be picked up for a delicious on-the-go meal.

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On top of all other benefits, A Casa de Porco is a great place for those not wanting to pay premium prices while still being able to eat premium food. It is another of Rueda’s beliefs that good food should not have to cost a fortune. The 10 course tasting menu costs only $33, and the mains cost much less. For such a reasonable price, being able to provide a dining experience that is so lovingly, carefully, and responsibly crafted is an impressive feat.

D.O.M

chef in the kitchen
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D.O.M is an essential addition to any top restaurant list in São Paulo. It is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Brazil and the world. The restaurant uses traditional Brazilian flavors and ingredients to create new gastronomical dishes. The final product is a masterclass in experimenting with traditional Brazilian cuisine to make a totally unique sensory experience both visually, and for the palate.

You may recognize D.O.M’s masterful chef: Alex Atala, from Season 2 of Netflix’s Chef Table. In this foodie documentary style show, he discusses his passion for using fresh and regional ingredients. Much of the produce he uses is bought from small communities and local farmers to ensure responsible sourcing and a more authentic final dish. You can learn more about the local and traditional ingredients used in the restaurants dishes by checking out their website. Some interesting inclusions are aromatic roots and lemongrass flavored Amazonian ants.

Alex Atala recommends the tasting menu to first time visitors. This is a great way to get acquainted with a wide selection of the creative dishes. The tasting menu does mean just a taste, and isn’t suited for ravenous appetites. The four or eight small gastronomical plates you will be served are about experiencing interesting ingredients combined in unique ways. It is easy to see that the upmost care and precision has been considering when dining at D.O.M. Alex Atala has curated a modern restaurant that always harks back to the important traditions of growing, preparing, and eating food in Brazil.

If you are intrigued by D.O.M’s experimentation and ethos, give it a go. It is probably important to mention to be prepared for a bill within the hundreds of dollars. You must also book a table months in advance, as the popularity and renown of this double MICHELIN star winning restaurant shows no signs of slowing down.

Vista

fine dining
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Located atop the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vila Mariana, Vista offers some of the best views of São Paulo. The well known Ibirapuera Park sits across the street, where you can gaze down into lush green trees and tranquil ponds. The open and contemporary dining room is a beautiful setting that lets in the natural light. The terrace and wide windows provide great photo opportunities of the São Paulo skyline. Apart from the amazing view, the combination of international and Brazilian cuisine is the focus for this rooftop restaurant.

Run by chef Marcelo Corrêa Bastos, Vista has a MICHELIN plate for good food among plenty other great reviews. There is something for everyone in this wide ranging menu, making Vista the best choice for families and larger groups. Some of Vista’s most popular dishes include the duck in tupica sauce, roasted suckling pig, and seafood rice. Additionally, you will find a good variety of appetizers, cheese platters, and desserts available. Alongside the busy restaurant is the Obelisco bar, which is a nice place to spend time relaxing with a drink before the meal. The combined restaurant, bar, and observation area of Vista makes it a fantastic venue for gastronomical fairs. If you want to keep up to date with Vista’s latest additions to the menu and events, check out the news/special project section of their website.

Vista is a good all-rounder restaurant in São Paulo. It’s delicious and well presented plates, fantastic views, and varying prices are a treat for many. The restaurant has a large dining space, wide windows,and a terrace to let you see for miles around. This makes Vista a perfect spot for visitors who want a good variety of courses while getting the best of the São Paulo sites. Since long waits are common, it is recommended to book your table at Vista in advance.

São Paulo food
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How much does a meal cost in São Paulo?

The average price of a meal in São Paulo costs about $24 per person, per day However, due to the wide variety of restaurants available in São Paulo: from budget eateries like Hocca Bar, to the best of fine dining found at D.O.M, prices can range from anywhere between $10 to many hundreds of dollars.

If you spend a little (or a lot) more money in São Paulo’s finest restaurants, we wouldn’t blame you. A city with such notoriety for its dining establishments is a significant reason for many people to visit. Many upmarket restaurants in São Paulo offer tasting menus, which is a good way to sample a variety of exquisite dishes. Spending the $100 or so on a special culinary experience may be a once in a lifetime experience. There’s no better place to try such a menu than in a city with such prestigious cuisine and abundance of so many world acclaimed restaurants.

A fancy tasting menu might be too straining on your budget, but you don’t have to eat poorly to save money. Some of the best rated and even MICHELEN recognized restaurants in São Paulo offer reasonably affordable meals. Prices can average between the $30-$50 mark per person for a main course and drink.

How many restaurants are in São Paulo?

There are over 17,000 restaurants in the city of São Paulo. With so many restaurants available, it is easy to find a great place to eat. Wherever you are staying in the city, there should be plenty of choices within walking distance of your hotel.

Along with some of the best restaurants for trying both traditional and experimental Brazilian food; cuisine from almost every other country in the world is also available in high supply. Restaurants in São Paulo boast some of the best international menus outside of their own countries. Italian, Japanese, and Middle Eastern restaurants are very numerous in São Paulo as the city contains a large percentage of natives from each of these destinations.

Whether you’re a fanatical foodie or just looking to try new dishes, there is a restaurant for every taste, budget, and occasion in São Paulo. No matter what brings you to the city, it is likely that the cuisine will entice you back.

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