São Paulo is a force to be reckoned with for its world class restaurants and innovative gastronomy scene. The biggest city in South America, São Paulo is a melting pot of different cultures and fusion cuisine and has become the driving force behind Brazil’s increasing wine consumption.
A new wave of unpretentious wine bars, intrepid importers and enthusiastic sommeliers are bringing wine to the fore and while the BYO culture is very big in São Paulo, below are a selection of wine bars and restaurants where you’d be missing out if you didn’t try their own wine selection.
With a mission to democratise wine, sommeliers Cássia Campos and Daniela Bravin have an intimate wine bar which spills out onto the cobblestone street. There’s no wine list but they select some 70 new labels each week to open up and pour by the glass to a loyal clientele who come to be surprised and educated in flights of wines from around the world, usually with a natural wine focus. The goal is to open minds and mouths which is why they keep their glass prices low and encourage punters to experiment. On Saturdays a Japanese oyster chef shucks and prepares pairings all afternoon, and the monthly Sunday brunch is the hottest date in São Paulo’s cool, urban wine scene. The Sede261 wine club, with music and wine pairings, keeps their clients’ wine fridges and speakers loaded midweek until the bar opens up again at the weekends.
- Sede 261, Rua Benjamin Égas 261, Pinheiros
- Thurs & Fri 5pm-11pm; Sat 2pm-9pm (open some Sundays)
When natural wine-convert Lis Cereja started looking for biodynamic and natural wines in São Paulo to open a wine bar in 2006, she realised she’d have to import them first. Starting with a small selection of wines she sourced from around South America, her candlelit wine bar and organic, slow food restaurant was one of the catalysts for the growing natural wine scene in Brazil and today Enoteca Saint VinSaint has over 350 artisan, natural wines on their list. Lis also runs the biggest natural wine fair in Latin America, Naturebas, and you can take away wines and organic produce from their store on site. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, live music accompanies throughout the evening.
- Enoteca Saint VinSaint, Rua Professor Atilio Inocenti 811, Vila Nova Conceição
- Tues-Fri 7pm-midnight; Sat 11am-4pm brunch & 8pm-midnight
Serving ‘vinhos descomplicados’ (uncomplicated wines), the ethos behind Boccanera is to get locals drinking more wine. Hence why the owners created the first wine ‘rodizio’: where different bottles circulate the room in an all-you-can-drink format (akin to the Brazilian tradition of a BBQ rodizio). The colourful wine bar also offers Mediterranean-influenced bites and plates to soak up the copious, if uncomplicated, wine.
- Boccanera Bar, Rua Mourato Coelho 1160, Vila Madalena
- Tues-Sat 6pm till late
This petite wine bar is run by young sommelier Bruno Bertoli who opens a collection of organic, biodynamic and natural wines by the glass with many more available by the bottle (or to take away). Artisanal cheeses and daily food specials complete the offering and give Beverino a local, neighbourhood vibe. Keep up with the Instagram for regular winemaker tastings and events.
- Beverino, Rua Generam Jardim 702
- Wed-Sat 2pm-midnight
If you’ve ever underestimated pork, then this restaurant will change your impression of the humble pig forever. Chef Jefferson Rueda grew up in the farm lands of São Paulo state and learnt how to use every cut of pork at the local butcher, which he elevates to some of the most playful, innovative and mouthwatering dishes. You’ll need to work through their list of Brazilian wines, including a winter harvest wine Jefferson makes with Casa Verrone in nearby Serra da Mantiqueira, in order to pair with this extraordinary feast of pork. Start with bubbles for the delicacy of pork tartare with caviar and the perfectly puffed up pork crackling, while the attentive sommelier eases you into their still wines for the homemade charcuterie, deep fried pork belly prepared as sushi and everything else in-between!
- A casa do Porco, Rua Araújo 124, Centro
- Mon-Sat midday to midnight; Sun midday-5pm
Under the hand of one of the most experienced sommeliers in Brazil, Manoel Beato (who oversees wines for the whole Fasano restaurant group), Fasano is one of the most respected restaurants in the city with modern Italian haute cuisine and an unparalleled wine list. The international wine list boasts over 350 labels and while there’s a heavy emphasis on Italian wines, with some highly sought-after Barolo, Brunello and Chianti in particular, some national producers make the Fasano cut too.
- Rua Vittorio Fasano 88, Jardins
- Mon-Sat 7pm till late
No restaurant list about São Paulo can lack D.O.M. Ever since the former DJ and punk rocker Alex Atala stormed onto the gastronomy scene in 1999, D.O.M has become a reference for contemporary Brazilian cuisine with an emphasis on Amazonian ingredients. Named after the Benedictine monk motto ‘Deo Optimo Maximo’ (To God, The Good, The Great), there’s no lack of good and great wines on the wine pairing menu too. Head sommelier Gabriela Monteleone has put a natural wine focus on the tasting menu and seeks out some more unusual labels and old Criolla vines from South America and beyond to pair with their menu.
- Rua Barão de Capanema 549, Jardins
- Mon-Fri lunch & dinner. Sat 7pm-late
With the largest Italian population outside of Italy, the Italian influence in São Paulo quite rightly runs through the cuisine (and the surrounding wine regions). Ristorantino is one of the top Italian restaurants in the city with a romantic setting and a bellissimo wine list. Promising young sommelier Juliana Carani helps diners navigate their way through over 150 labels which represent not only the classics of Italy and the Old World but also some appealing back vintages and harder-to-find artisan producers, alongside emerging classics from the New World and Brazil. Classy and intimate with attentive wine service.
- Ristorantino, Rua Melo Alves 674, Jardins
- Mon-Sat lunch & dinner, Sun midday-5pm
This rising star of modern Korean cuisine in São Paulo has a handful of interesting sake and soju cocktails and some quirky beers to sip on while you inevitably wait in queue for a table at this in-demand restaurant. While many will bring their own wines to uncork alongside the complex and delicious cuisine of young chef Paulo Shin, the restaurant also has a small but well-defined list of local and international wines that sit well with the wide range of exotic flavours that grace the table.
- Komah, Rua Cônego Vicente Miguel Marino 378
- Mon-Sat, lunch & dinner