For those of you who have followed me along, you know by now how much I adore this city. Besides being my hometown, it is a world class city. It has it all. The cultural experiences are what fascinate me the most. There are more plays showing than Broadway!! After all, it is a 20 million people city. And exactly because of that, I find it extremely democratic, there is something for everyone: Michelin star restaurants, delicious affordable street foods, here you can find all the international top designer clothing as well as locally made and great clothes, free concerts, you name it.. During this trip I tried a bit of everything, I attended the city ballet, went to fancy restaurants on roof tops, made the most of the city's current sales, amazing stuff by the way, up to 70% off! But one thing is completely unique; the per kilo restaurants. Paulistas, how we call who are born in São Paulo, are very busy as you can imagine, however they always make a point of having one hour lunch break for some air and a light balanced meal, that's when the 'per kilo' concept comes in handy, the restaurants have these huge buffet with a vast range of salads, vegetables, pasta, rice, beans, fish, poultry and meats to choose from, you pick what you want to eat and weigh your plate. The best and quickest option on-the-go ever! Brilliant for busy people who want to watch what they eat and save time in the process. Now when it comes to fashion, the city has the sky to offer. Like any other big city, it's easy to get overwhelmed, for this reason I have prepared for you a guide so you can enjoy the best the city has to offer. July is a great time to visit, because it is school holidays which makes the traffic much lighter (what doesn't mean light), and there is the semi-annual sales going on. Despite being Winter, the temperatures are very mild and have "little summers" in between as a bonus. So let's start:
Hot tips from a local
I recommend you drop your luggage in your room and try an exotic fruit juice for starters. You can find freshly squeezed fruit juices anywhere! As well as the famous pão de queijo, (cheese bread) which is a great local treat and other brazilian savory treats like coxinha and esfiha, d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. For juice try graviola, acerola, açai or pitanga, it will blow your socks off! Then I would get on to check one of the cities museums starting with Masp (museum of São Paulo) is a must-see, the building was built by the famous brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, then Mam (Museum of Modern Art), the building has been recently renovated and the roof-top is a 360.o degree view of the Ibirapuera park! The bonus is the Vista restaurant also at the roof top with a modern touch of the brazilian cuisine. You also want to check out the Centro Cultural Fiesp, lots of free high quality plays and ballets daily, for tickets it's best to register online, Instituto Itau Cultural, for concert, workshops, expositions. The city several 'casas' houses converted into museums telling the story of the people who lived there, they are amazingly full of art, history, and food, as they generally have a cafe or high tea salon. It's a great way to get to know the city and get close to nature. Try Fundacao Maria Luiza e Oscar Americano, you will be delighted and last but not least try, Museu da Casa Brasileira (museum of the brazilian house), the house of the an illustrous family and their history. Also with a fantastic back yard full of sculptures and native trees where you can have a light lunch or a snack besides the gorgeous interior.
By now you should be ready for a cocktail, right? I suggest you head to a roof top for a nice city view in the twilight. Try Esther Roof Top, owned by the french famous chef Olivier Anchier, where you can also enjoy a nice meal or the iconic Terraço Italia, both at the city centre, the latter you pay a $10 just to enter the bar, but the view is worth it. You can also enjoy the restaurant, but the view is better from the bar. Stll in the cocktail front, another more affordable option but not less picturesque, is a caipirinha with a popsicle on top, the famous 'caipilé', a great option is the bar Salve Jorge at the suburb Vila Madalena, a very bohemian and fun suburb.
For dinner, the sky is the limit, really. After all, São Paulo is the city that never sleeps. You can't go wrong with neither Italian, Japanese or Brazilian cuisines. Did you know that São Paulo has the biggest japanese colony out of Japan? So if you are in the mood for some seriously traditional Italian or japanese meals, you have got to head to these suburbs, Bixiga, the italian one and Liberdade, the japanese one. You will be immediately transported to those countries. If what you are after is more of a fine dining experience, then my suggestion is D.O.M, by famous chef Alex Atala, Sal or Arturito. Last but not least, there are the popular 'Churrascarias', brazilian steak houses, with an abundance of meat, poultry and fish options plus salad bars and hot dishes. They are everywhere and are worth trying out. The list goes on, but I feel that I have covered the best ones.
On Week Days
There are innumerous options of lunch but the 'per kilo' restaurants are your best bet. They are fairly cheap and quick so you don't waste time. Remember, São Paulo is a fast pace city during the week :)
Finally when it comes to shopping, São Paulo is addictive. As predictable, the city has an insurmountable number of malls and some of them are really worth a visit. Paulistas love visiting malls, it is a traditional thing for families to do on weekends. Try Shopping Iguatemi, Shopping Pateo Higienopolis, Shopping Cidade Jardim or Shopping Iguatemi JK, if you are in the mood for some fancy shops. Alternatively, you can try more affordable yet very charming ones like Morumbi or Ibirapuera Malls. As for designers there is something for everyone, there are very expensive local designers with a unique style as well as great and affordable ones, and equally exciting. Below I listed my favourite ones. If you want to try something very popular and fun, try a street mall where you will be able to find anything you want at extremely affordable price tags, the most popular one is at suburb called Bom Retiro, close to the city centre. But you won't be able to try anything on, because the stores don't have fitting room and be prepared to find a crowd, specially if you go during the weekend! And let's not forget the shoes, which are the best in my opinion. They are great quality and beautiful! I will have to write another post on accessories alone... Hope you enjoyed. Kisses from Brazil xx