I might have restaurant fatigue. I might have everything fatigue. You try living in an apartment in Brazil with a broken microwave and no oven — only two electric burners — and you tell me what you think. (In hindsight, I should have held a Twitter challenge. What can I cook on my two electric burners?) Suffice it to say, I ate a lot of yogurt. I may have actually lost weight this trip. Not a bad thing.
In the meantime though, if you ever make it to Sao Paulo, here’s another installment of where I ate…
Avila, Rua Bandeira Paulista, 520. Itaim. This Argentine steakhouse offers a nice businessman’s lunch for 50 Reals, which is quite a steal given that the couvert (bread and sausages) is included, along with a luscious green salad. (Sometimes after a while traveling, all I want to eat is vegetables.) I was one of the only women present in the restaurant during our visit, which was slightly disconcerting. And although my rib tips were nice, the accompanying rice and vegetables were dry and lackluster. The Verdict: Meh. I liked the sausages and salad best.
Butcher’s Market, Rua Bandeira Paulista 164. Itaim. Everyone raves about the burgers here. Next time I’m in town, I need to meet this blogger and this blogger and have them take me to their favorite places. I totally loved the vibe here and I loved the service. But I thought my cheeseburger was just good, not great. That being said, I would try Butcher’s Market again. The Verdict: Good if you’re a homesick American in need of a burger.
Armani Cafe, Shopping Iguatemi, Faria Limia 2223. I had really bad vibes walking into this place, in an open corner of the top floor of the Iguatemi shopping mall. You know where there’s a lot of staff milling about, all in matching outfits, but none of them are actually doing anything? THAT. That being said, my chicken club was surprisingly nice. The Verdict: Not worth a special trip, but fine if you’re in the area.
Bottega Bottagallo, R. Tabapuã, 618. Itaim. Laissez Fare introduce me to his friend Ana, who happened to live right up the street from me in Itaim. She took me to this popular Italian small-plates restaurant. I loved the atmosphere and the service — super friendly and sweet. The food was homey and straightforward — braised beef, pastel with cheese — and sometimes you need that. The Verdict: The right atmosphere. We only sampled two dishes from the menu, so I’d go back to try more.
Kaa, Av. Juscelino Kubitschek, 279, Villa Olimpia: So if you have to go one place while you’re in Sao Paulo, this is really not a bad choice. It’s trendy, the atmosphere is great, and the huge wall of plants is pretty cool. Brazilians love Hearts of Palm, which is great because so do I. I started with two huge palmitos, and then had a nice portion of pumpkin ravioli in almond sauce. All very nice. Service was a little forgetful, but they were better than the servers at the Armani Cafe, so I will forgive them. The Verdict: A nice trendy spot with good food. I can see why people like it here. Did I die over it though? No.
Rascal, Rua Leopoldo Couto Magalhães Jr, 831, Itaim. Everyone loves this popular Brazilian buffet chain. The Itaim location is bright and airy and has one of those living plant walls like Kaa. Only problem? It kinda smelled like water damage the day we were there. The torrential January rains had done their damage. Service was distracted. The buffet lines were packed. And at the end, I ended up eating too much of stuff I never really wanted to eat anyhow. I don’t like buffets in America. Don’t like buffets outside America either. The Verdict: Most people will like it here. I prefer a waiter and a menu.
If you are at all familiar with Brazil, you will probably figure out that I was staying in Itaim Bibi. Traffic can be ridiculously terrible in Sao Paulo, so it’s best to stay local. These guys seriously need a congestion charge or a bike program or a massive subway project. I definitely love the vibe of Sao Paulo, but I’m not sure how this city is going to survive the next 25 years as such a driving city. Crazy town.