Being born and raised in São Paulo, my heart holds a true love for the city. Not only because we are a financial and cultural center, but also because the city never sleeps, there are lots of things to do here, any day, any time. So with the FIFA World Cup just around the corner, it is time for us to take a walk in São Paulo, the biggest city of South America and get to know the best places to eat while here. If you are veggie, vegan or just curious and hoping to visit us, this is a must-see guide.
Indian vibes and laid-back gourmet options here. A very cozy place, fair prices and a delicious menu. I tend to always choose the same dish, the stew cashew – a vegan version of a traditional dish made in the north of Brazil combined with black rice. Watch out here: they don’t ever use eggs, but you can find some cheese on the menu, so in doubt, ask the waiter for the lacto-free options.
Where: Rua dos Pinheiros, 267 – Pinheiros
Conveniently located in one of the most famous street in the city, near Paulista Avenue, Mate Por Favor is always full of tattoo artists that work in a tattoo shop in the same gallery. Here you can find traditional Brazilian snacks with an all-vegan twist, usually accompanied by a cold mate tea. I always enjoy a traditional coxinha and a guaraná soda – you can’t blame me for not always going for the healthy option!
Where: Rua Augusta, 1492 – Cerqueira César – São Paulo
More than 10 years serving vegans and straight-edges delicious ice-cream, this place seems untouchable by the chaos of São Paulo, specially in the Baixo-Augusta that’s fighting hard to keep the historical places and underground clubs alive while big companies are charging ahead with plans of building skyscrapers. My tip: take the green line of the subway and get out at Consolação Station, go to Mate Por Favor, have some snacks and get here by foot so you can enjoy a walk in one of our most famous streets. Here, refresh yourself with lots of banana, açai, lemon and chocolate ice cream.
Where: Rua Augusta, 305 – Consolação
This cosy establishment offers many vegan goodies – this is where vegetarians and other veg-curious consumers enjoy amazing pies and diet-breaking desserts, but don’t worry, there is also a bunch of mouthwatering salads if you are planning to stay on track. You can come here with non-veggie friends – I can guarantee they will appreciate the food as much as we do. Also, you can do a little shopping at the small market located inside the restaurant, where they offer organic, gluten-free, veggie and vegan food and beauty products.
This little bakery is far from the city center and you probably will prefer to come here by taxi – but it definitely will be worth the ride. If you are on a gluten-free diet, this is the place for you – Diaita offers the best gluten and lacto-free cakes and brownies in town. However, if you aren’t dying for the dessert, there are burgers, pies and other delicious savoury delicacies. And the best of all: there are lots of good stuff to take home, including the cakes, vegan and gluten-free breads, a huge variety of snacks and much more. Eggs are used in some recipes, so check labels or simly ask.
Where: Rua Padre Luciano, 122 – Jardim França – São Paulo
This is a gorgeous restaurant in a chic neighborhood. It’s not an all-vegan restaurant, but the menu offers delicious organic vegan and vegetarian creative options, so it’s easy for us veggies to enjoy our meal. A bottle of wine is the best choice to go with the food at this intimate space, especially if you’re with a friend or on a date. If you tend to stick to a gluten-free diet just like me, don’t worry, they’ve got you covered.
Where: Rua Domingos Fernandes, 608 – Vila Nova Conceição
First thing you should do when you get to Drosoplyla with your friends: order some traditional caipirinha with lemon or any other fruit you may want or may not even know you want. Beyond Brazil’s most traditional drink, they have a varied list of drinks you can choose from. Drinks all set, it’s time to choose the food. If you look around, some people do have dinner here, but the major vibe of this place is the finger foods and they have vegan options, of course – I usually go with the potatoes. Major tip: check out the cocktail menu of this cool-vibe space.
Where: Rua Pedro Taques, 80 – Consolação – São Paulo
When it comes to restaurants with typical ethnical food, there’s tons to choose from. From Vietnã to Mexico, going trough Lebanon, Europe and America, you can find most tastes of the world in São Paulo. Some are very traditional and true to their ethnicity, while others may be mixed with some Brazilian flavours, but since São Paulo is a melting pot of nationalities from all around the globe, it’s a prime location to taste international dishes. Saj is a delicious Lebanese restaurant chain present in different neighborhoods, making it easy to find one near you. Here, I usually go with the stone-baked pita bread accompanied by hummus, baba ganouch or mhammara to spread on them . Have some space left? Choose the falafel and have a happy vegan, super-delicious Lebanese meal.
Where: Rua Girassol, 523 – Vila Madalena | Rua Fernando de Albuquerque, 255 – Consolação | Rua Joaquim Antunes, 260 – Jardins | Av. Roque Petroni Junior, 1089 – Shopping Morumbi
Top photo by Ricardo Santos on Flickr Creative Commons