A little bird once told me that the Sao Paulo restaurant scene has the largest number of different cuisines in the world. Brazil has been a big recipient of immigrants throughout history, mostly from Japan, Europe and the Middle East. This has left a tremendous mark on Brazil’s demography and language, but also its culture. Foreign cuisines were embraced as their own, making this city the ultimate culinary destination. Street food carts and local cafés will serve you amazing local dishes at tiny prices, however visiting a few fine restaurants in the centre is an absolute must.
You will not only be amazed by the food but also the unique interiors of these places. I once visited Figueira Rubaiyat, a restaurant built around an enormous tree in the middle of the dining room. Also I had the best Japanese food that I’ve ever eaten in Sao Paulo (note that I’ve never actually been to Japan). If you are a foodie, just like me, this is reason enough to visit this city.
Art and Architecture
Hosting some of the biggest art fairs, such as SP Arte and Bienal, Sao Paulo can call itself the art capital of South America. There’s always a cultural event on the calendar here, but even walking down the streets of the hip neighbourhood ‘Villa Madalena’ can be an artistic experience on its own. The area is filled with avant-garde art galleries and Beco do Batman, a small street full of street art.
Sao Paulo is home to great artists, such as Henrique Oliveira and Ana Elisa Egreja whose works have travelled to the world’s best museums and galleries. Nonetheless, Sao Paulo has its own impressive collections in the Museu de Arte, Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art. The city’s architecture blends some of the most emblematic buildings influenced by different style and periods.
Sao Paulo’s crown jewel may be the Ibirapuera Park, filled with monumental buildings by Oscar Niemayer surrounded by a phenomenal exotic garden, combining two of Brazil’s biggest treasures in the most organic way.