12 kinds of food that you must try in São Paulo

Close-up image of a cracked pie in half on a white plate, with part of the shredded codfish filling scattered on the plate.

Codfish pastel

São Paulo gathers the best restaurants in Latin America and the world. There are more than 15.000 restaurants and 20.000 bars that offer the most varied types of cuisine, from different countries and with different prices.

In addition, São Paulo has its own cuisine, offering varied options like siri coxinha and camel grass brigadeiro. Get to know some goodies that you can only try when you come visit São Paulo.

Baloney sandwich
As a traditional snack from São Paulo, the baloney sandwich is a classic and you must check it out. In a Brazilian French roll, almost a pound of baloney is placed. There are several shops that offer this delicacy at the Municipal Market of São Paulo, known as the Mercadão (big market). To find the most traditional version, go to the Bar do Mané which sandwich, besides baloney, includes yellow cheese, lettuce and tomato.

Codfish pastel
Another gastronomic symbol of the city is the Codfish pastel. Stuffed with a generous portion of codfish soaked in olive oil, this pastel is a success of food stands at the Mercadão. To enjoy the most traditional version, go to the Hocca Bar, which has a secret and family spice.

Close-up image of a sandwich with melted cheese, sliced tomatoes and sliced roast beef on french bread.

Bauru sandwich at Ponto Chic.

Snack created in Bauru city, in the countryside of the State of São Paulo. It was invented in the 1920s and is made with a Brazilian French roll, four kinds of cheese, roast beef and slices of tomato and cucumber. The first diner to bring this snack to the capital was Ponto Chic, opened over 90 years ago in Largo do Paissandu (Paissandu Square), downtown, which has the Certificate of Bauru city that attests the originality and exclusiveness of the real sandwich.

Pastel da Maria
The most rewarded pastel stand at the city is Maria’s, a Japanese woman who came to Brazil in 1963 and whose real name is actually Kuniko. There are more than 20 flavors of sweet and salty, and the meat one is the most requested and winner of several awards. You can find the Pastel da Maria in five different street markets. The most traditional one is at Charles Miller square, in front of the Pacaembu Stadium, and there are six more stores throughout the city.

Pork haunch sandwich
Traditional snack sold outside of soccer stadiums, the pork haunch sandwich is made with a Brazilian French roll, half a pound of this meat and vinaigrette sauce. To try it, go to the Estadão Bar & Lanches on Viaduto Nove de Julho, which was open over 40 years ago and works 24 hours, or enjoy getting to know the CEAGESP, a supply warehouse, and try the sandwich at Zezé do Pernil, which doesn’t cost more than R$8.00.


Image in close up. Pizza margherita topped with tomato sauce, buffalo cheese and basil leaves.

Try the best pizzas in town. Foto: divulgação.

As it houses the largest Italian community in Brazil, São Paulo can say it has the best pizza in the country. There are hundreds of pizza places that offer a huge variety of flavors, from the classic margherita until the exotic shimeji mushroom. The 1900 is a must-go traditional pizza place. It has six branches and serves special pizzas like the carciofini, which includes heart of artichoke and Parmesan. The rewarded Bráz Pizzaria has three branches in São Paulo and has been elected by the magazines Época e Veja the best pizza place in town.

At the city, the simple cheeseburger receives a special touch and turns into a burger marinated in Pale Ale beer, and comes with beer mayonnaise. For those who prefer a more traditional snack, it is worth to know Hamburgueria do Sujinho, Hambúrguer do Seu Oswaldo and Z Deli Sanduíches, which even in a small space offers juicy, soft and famous sandwiches. At Vapor, the Duxelle snack is fit up on a brioche sprinkled with black sesame seeds with portobello and Paris mushrooms added to it. At Meat Chopper, the hamburgers are prepared with half a pound of grinded flank meat, right there. The house burger, with cheese salad moistened with spiced mayonnaise and cucumber relish, and the onion’n’cheese, made with Emmenthaler cheese and lots of caramelized onions are options you can’t miss.

A while ago, this candie is no longer just a kid’s party thing or a reason to fight at home to decide who is going to lick the pan. In São Paulo, there are lots of specialized shops in such a traditional dessert. Maria Brigadeiro  was one of the first to become a specialist and nowadays prepares 40 versions of this candie, for R$3.50 each. Some of the most unusual flavors are Sicilian lemon, whiskey, honey, pepper and Port wine. Brigaderia prepares more than 10.000 units of brigadeiro for all its branches. The menu presents more than 30 varieties of this goody, like Boa Vida cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane brandy), goiabada (guava sweet) cheesecake and pistachio.

The most famous and beloved snack at bars and botecos (Brazilian dive bars) gets a special touch in São Paulo. At restaurants like Mimo, the snack appears in a small version, made of white carrot with Sicilian lemon. At Marcelino Pan y Vino, the coxinha trio’s recipe includes the upper part of the chicken wing with its bone wrapped up in a paste with panko Japanese flour. At Las Chicas, the paste is made of cassava and filled with shrimp and Roquefort cheese. At Rothko, duck confit is used in preparation. If you want a more traditional version, go to Frangó and Armazém Veloso.

[1] Translator’s note: a snack that consists of shredded chicken meat inside a fried paste that looks like a pear.

Image in close up. Portion of pasta type Farfalle with tomato sauce, cubes of meat and leaves of basil.

Kid goat stew, red wine and aromatic spices of Famiglia Mancini.

The Italian community is one of the most influential communities on São Paulo’s culture. Their idiosyncrasies and accent were incorporated by the locals, as well as their celebrations and cuisine. Spread all over the city, there are Italian canteens that offer the best and most traditional Italian food. At Famiglia Mancini canteen, the starters are a special attraction. The menu includes a wide variety of cheese, olives, Neapolitan sardela, asparagus, anchovies, many types of carpaccio and several others. Many pastas can be enjoyed such as the Ricotta ravioli, spinach and walnuts with tomato sauce, black olives and herbs, and the farfalle with kid goat ragú (photo). Among meat dishes, the most ordered is still the beef parmigiana. Among the most traditional canteens in Bixiga neighborhood, an Italian community region, there are the Cantina C… Que sabe! and the Generale, decorated with checkered tablecloths as well as visible wine and olive oils.

Street food
Popular food stands can be easily found close to subway stations, bus terminals and universities. They offer food like hot dog, corn, popcorn, barbecue, French fries, yakisoba and churros at popular prices. Street food may be greasy, but they’re delicious.

Virado à paulista
This is a very traditional dish served on Mondays and made with rice, smothered collard greens, banana milanese , sausage, pork crackling and tutu (Brazilian refried beans). This is a very simple meal and every “kilo” or a la carte restaurant offers this delicacy that people from São Paulo really enjoy.

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