Photo: Le Bilboquet
São Paulo is often called the New York City of South America, so it makes sense that there seems to be a restaurant trend in the last few years of well-known New York City restaurants opening up in São Paulo, many of those being their first foray into the international market. And why not? Both cities are worldwide gastronomic hubs; they share an eat-or-be-eaten lifestyle; and both cities never close. They might as well have dinner together, too.
Here is our three favorite spots to take a bite out of the Big Apple in Brazil:
Well, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, anyway. Michelin‘s famed culinary Bibles, known simply as the Red Guide, have long been the end-all, be-all of gastronomy in Europe (gaining – or losing – a coveted star in the guide’s three-star system can cause tectonic shifts in a country’s culinary scene), will introduce their first Brazilian guide in April.
Got an early morning in Santiago and want to start it off with flaky pastry, or some crusty bread? Or you’ve already had a hotel breakfast but walking around downtown Santiago and beyond has got you hankering for a mid-morning snack? The French are masters of pastry, and whether it’s a second breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, Santiago’s many French bakery/cafés have got you covered, from downtown, up through Bellas Artes, Providencia, in Las Condes and Vitacura. A croissant and a café au lait, or your drink of choice is never too far away at one of these French or French-inspired cafés.
Surrounded, and often overshadowed, by the countries that border it — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru — Bolivia remains mysterious to many travelers. Luckily, there’s a small but vibrant Bolivian presence in Buenos Aires that’s on colorful display at street festivals and in the city’s very own Barrio Boliviano.
No doubt due to an insufferable hangover, most folks already know that Brazil’s national cocktail is the caipirinha, made from the national spirit, cachaça, along with sugar and fresh limes, but what else is there to drink?
When you are ready to shake things up a bit, branch out and ask the bartender for Brazil’s next best cocktail, the Caju Amigo (Cashew Fruit Friend) – every bit as Brazilian as the caipirinha but not nearly as famous.
Photo: Holy Burger
If you have a sweet tooth – you know who you are – than Brazil is going to knock you out. Some foreigners even complain that some of Brazil’s most beloved desserts are just too sweet but no self-respecting sugar addict would ever say such a blasphemous thing, now would they?
Brazilian sweets come in all shapes and sizes and are available everywhere from the streets and beaches to padarias (bakeries) to dessert specialty cafes – you are never far from a sugar coma – and owe a debt to combined influences from Portugal (anything with eggs as the main ingredient!) to West Africa (certain pastries and the like).
Here’s how to get your sugar high in Brazil!
For many years, Valdivia, together with all its rivers, was subsumed into Chile’s famous Lakes Region, leafy and splashy and beautiful, yet different. In 2007, this region got a name of its own, and Valdivia is its cultural capital, La Región de Los Ríos, or the Rivers Region of Chile.
A century ago, it was the place for Buenos Aires’ Italian immigrants to stock up on imported cheeses and replacement wheel spokes for their horse-drawn carriages. Today, you can still come to San Telmo’s old-fashioned market to pick up provolone—plus a vintage tango poster and a perfectly prepared cappuccino.
Photo: Peter Merholz
It may be frigid across most of the northern hemisphere, but it’s always ice cream weather in Colombia – which could explain why the locals are always hungry for ice cream. It’s possible to find delicious dairy treats on just about any street corner, though if you’re looking for something extra-special, you may want to check out one of Colombia’s several excellent chains. Rest assured, though, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with ice cream here.
São Paulo’s Liberdade neighborhood is the epicenter of what is said to be the largest Japanese population outside Japan. Brazil is home to an estimated 1.5 million Japanese-Brazilians, many of them living right here in this bustling neighborhood 1km south of Centro, with a tad bit of Chinese and Korean sprinkled in for good measure (some of the city’s best Chinese restaurants are here and South Korea’s Melona honeydew melon-flavored popsicles are wildly popular in the streets as well).