Every four years, the World Cup erupts to the joy of millions around the world, some of whom converge on the host country to join the month-long festivities. Although only a fraction of fans manage to attend a match, they all come to celebrate football – and there's no better way to immerse yourself in the Brazil World Cup than by savouring the specialties of some of the competing countries in immigrant-centric São Paulo. Here are nine places to indulge in the eclectic food and drink scene of Brazil’s biggest city.
SPAIN: Sancho’s Bar y Tapas
This classic pintxos bar sits just off Avenida Paulista near the top of unpretentious Baixo Augusta, and caters to an eclectic crowd keen on the wide selection of beers and sangrias, the Flamenco guitar shows on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the tapas or bocadillos (sandwiches) like manchego cheese and jamón serrano (mountain ham). Sancho’s exposed brick, dim setting and decorative touches, including bullfighting posters and dangling black legs of jamón de bellota (acorn-fed ham), make it an easy place to get comfy – little consolation for those longing to stumble into another tapas bar nearby, as is customary in Spain.
Rua Augusta, 1415
Something of a city institution, this no-frills diamond in the rough is a brisk ten-minute walk from downtown’s prominent Estação da Luz, cutting through the exuberant Parque da Luz and ending in the immigrant neighbourhood of Bom Retiro, making it an ideal stop for a lazy lunch and stroll on a sunny day. The blue-and-white tones manage to brighten up Acrópolis’s faded decor, but the real payoff – aside from the ouzo and 600ml bottles of ice-cold beer – comes when you zig-zag your way to the kitchen, where you can peruse the typical fare, such as moussaka and calamari, or point out the home-made dish of your choice to the chef. Opa!
Rua da Graça, 364
FRANCE: Le Jazz Brasserie
Cut from the same cloth as Paris’s tucked-away bistros, the secret has long been out on Le Jazz, and eager patrons bide their time beneath the awning or further out along the sidewalk, pairing their long waits with glasses of wine. It’s well worth the trouble though, with or without a reservation, as the food and service rarely disappoint. With the full repertoire of bistro classics to choose from, the real problem lies in deciding what to order. But with starters like the sublime breaded Camembert with honey, and wines priced around R$50, there’s no reason to rush.
Rua dos Pinheiros, 254