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Rafael Cagali's guide to São Paulo

Rafael Cagali and the São Paulo cityscape.

Photo: Touchfood/iStock

Rafael Cagali's guide to São Paulo

The Brazilian chef from London's Da Terra and Elis restaurants shares his favourite spots to eat in his home city.
01 March, 2023

For me, São Paulo is one of the best places to eat in the world. Brazilians love to eat and love to share food with people. Brazilian culture and food have been massively influenced by immigrants and their cultures; we are shaped by African, Indian, German, Portuguese, Italian, French, Japanese, etc. Although it’s hard to define Brazilian cuisine, I like to say it's the way we eat, as opposed to what we eat. You see a lot of European-style dishes and techniques being adapted to the local environment and produce that’s available. I go back as much as I can to try new places, old institutions and of course, my mum's cooking!

A Casa do Porco

Dishes at A Casa do Porco in São Paulo.

Mauro Holanda

A Casa do Porco is run by some of my favourite people in the industry, Janaína and Jefferson Rueda. As the name suggests, they only do pork, but from purely Brazilian breeds of pig, with a menu that uses the whole animal in so many different ways, classic and creative. Deserving of all its accolades.


A dish at Evvai in São Paulo.

Tadeu Brunelli

The food that Luiz Filipe is cooking at Evvai is so creative and rooted in Brazilian and Italian influences, so it is great to see another restaurant capturing the cuisines and philosophies like we do at Da Terra.

Hotel Unique

I love the rooftop bar at Hotel Unique. It’s a buzzing space and a great bar to grab a few late night drinks with a great view over the city skyline.

Jun Sakamoto

São Paulo is crazy for Japanese food. When I am back home, I always try to get myself to one of the many brilliant Japanese restaurants. The counter at Jun Sakamoto is one of the best.


A prawn dish at Maní in São Paulo.

Roberto Seba 

I’m a big fan of Helena Rizzo and Willem Vendeven and what they’re doing at Maní. They use proper Brazilian produce and work with a lot of things from the Amazon.


A dish at Mocotó in São Paulo.

Ricardo D'Angelo

Another classic on the Brazilian food scene, specialising in food from the northeast. Rodrigo Oliveira is an inspiration when it comes to using Brazilian ingredients.

NB Steak

Steak and red wine at NB Steak in São Paulo.

NB Steakhouse might be more of what people typically associate with Brazilian cooking. Meat on skewers is put in front of you and you can say yes or no. There’s a big buffet of salads – abundance is important to Brazilians.

Pastelaria Brasileira

A classic old-school bakery near Allianz Parque selling pies and snacks all day long. My favourite Pastel in São Paulo, I go there every trip – it’s a must!

Tan Tan

Great cocktail bar with some incredible bites.


Cooking barreado at Tordesilhas in São Paulo.

Werner Rudhart

This place has been open for over 30 years and Mara Salles is still behind the stoves in this classic Brazilian restaurant, showcasing Brazilian cuisine at its finest.