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Portuguese Restaurants in São Paulo

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Alameda Lorena, 1884 - Jardim Paulista - Phone: (11) 3082-3015
This is the São Paulo branch of the original Antiquarius in Rio de Janeiro, which has been often appointed as THE best restaurant in Rio. In São Paulo, Veja magazine considered Antiquarius the best Portuguese restaurant; see lists of best restaurants in São Paulo.

»Rei do Bacalhau
Rua Dr. Bianchi Bertoldi, 36 - Pinheiros - Phone: (11) 3814-7653
The name means "King of Codfish". The house offers eight varieties of codfish, including the traditionals Bacalhau do Brás and Bacalhau Gomes de Sá.

»A Bela Sintra
Rua Bela Cintra, 2325 - Jardim Paulista - Phone: (11) 3891-0740
The name is a pun envolving the address of the restaurant and the city of Sintra, in Portugal.
The chef Carlos Bettencourt worked several years at Antiquarius before starting his own place. Pn the website, Bettencourt gives an interesting lesson about codfish and the Portuguese cuisine:
"When thinking of Portuguese cuisine, most people remember codfish. That makes sense. The Portuguese navigators came across this fish in the 15th century, in the cold waters near North Pole. They developed a process to dry and salt the codfish, to solve one of the problems of the long transmaritime journeys: the conservation of food, in an epoch when refrigeration was not known; at the same time, the process permitted that people in the interior lands of Portugal consumed the fish. Besides, Portugal was a Catholic country; the Church commanded abstinence of meat during Lent; only fish was allowed; abundant and cheap, the codfish was added into the liturgical practices.
The Portuguese created many recipes with the codfish; some say 300, others 600. But the Portuguese cuisine was never limited to codfish. It masterly uses other fish and seafood. The "caldeiradas" (big pots) are anthological. The "enchidos" (stuffed dishes) have no rival. The stewed and baked dishes are precious. And who can resist the Portuguese grains, starting with rices? Many people ask why the traditional Portuguese cuisine is still successful, in a world which privileges novelties. The answer is simple. It is still successful because it doesn't give up the quality of ingredients, and one of its principles is the respect to the aromas and natural flavors of the ingredients. Is there a more modern concept than this?
Portuguese candies. No other country makes so many candies as Portugal. The reason is simple. Since the 15th century, Portugal had plenty of sugar. At first, sugar coming from Madeira and other islands in the Atlantic, where D. Henrique had ordered the cultivation of sugar cane. Later, sugar was produced in Brazil. No other country had this ready access to sugar; back then, sugar was expensive, used as medicine.
Other feature of the Portuguese candies is the predominance of eggs. These recipes originated in convents. Many young girls in the convents came from the rich and noble Portuguese families, who brough their refined habits. In the 18th century, the Portuguese authorities stimulated the rising of chicken in convents, because the chicken meat was considered important for protection against plagues and recovering of the ill people. At the same epoch, the wine producers of Portugal sent large amounts of yokes to the convents; the wine production utilized only the whites of eggs, which were used to remove particles after fermentation. With plenty of sugar, eggs and yokes, the Portuguese convents created the egg candies."

Rua Visconde de Parnaíba, 2438 - Brás - Phone (11) 6292-8683
Established in 1962, this is one of the most traditional Portuguese restaurants in São Paulo.
The website tells a bit of the History of the restaurant. The name President was a tribute to old President Juscelino Kubitschek, who was admired by the owners. Since its opening, the restaurant is run by three Portuguese partners; the business started as a small "boteco" (cheap eating and drinking place), and thanks to the success of the codfish, it gained more and more fame. The fame brought prizes, and prizes brought offers of association with bigger chains; the owners refused, because, according to them, "we could not keep the quality". In the late 1990s, they moved to the current place, with 60 seats; it is better than the old boteco, but still not comparable to the luxurious restaurants in the Jardins, where "more money goes toward decoration than toward the food". The owner Manoel proudly says that his sons all went to college, but sadly admits that "this kind of food will die"; none of his sons thinks of staying up late taking care of the kitchen: "it's too tough a life".
This restaurant is at a short distance from the Bresser subway station.

»Bacalhau, Vinho e Cia.
Rua Barra Funda, 1067 - Barra Funda - Phone: (11) 3666-0381
The name means Codfish, Wine and More. Established in 1973.

»Alfama dos Marinheiros
Rua Pamplona, 1285 - Jardim Paulista - Phone: (11) 3883-9203
Actually, there are two restaurants in the same house. In the lower floor, a fish and seafood restaurant called Brasa Maritima. In the upper floor, the Portuguese restaurant Alfama dos Marinheiros (Alfama is a district of Lisbon, and marinheiros = sailors); at Alfama, there are shows of fado (the Portuguse folk music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics), from Thursday to Saturday.

»Alcatruz (website used to be www.alcatruz.com.br, but seems to be down.
Rua Paes de Araújo, 147 - Itaim Bibi - Phone: (11) 3167-3389
Cuisine from Algarve, region in the Southern part of Portugal.

Rua Martim Francisco, 427 - Santa Cecília - Phone: (11) 3826-3033
Chiappetta was an Italian immigrant who opened an stand at the Municipal Market in 1908, selling varied delicacies. Today, the family runs a restaurant in a mall and this codfish-only restaurant in the downtown area.

codfish bacalhau

»O Bacalhau do Porto
Rua Vergueiro, 8333 - Ipiranga - Phone: (11) 6163-6502
The name means Codfish from Porto; the city of Porto, in the North of Portugal, is called Oporto in English. Speciality is "bacalhau à brás", made with pieces of codfish, sliced onion, french fries, scrambled eggs and plenty of olive oil.

« Photos from O Bacalhau do Porto

»Casa Portuguesa
Rua Cunha Gago, 656 - Pinheiros - Phone: (11) 3819-1987
The name means Portuguese House; the restaurant is in a simple house, with facade in white and blue.

»A Casota
Rua Doutor Alceu de Campos Rodrigues, 527 - Itaim Bibi - Phone: (11) 3044-2906
Run by Mrs. Maria de Lourdes Palmela, the highlights of the house are codfish with curry, and the desserts.

»Ora Pois !
Rua Fidalga, 408 - Vila Madalena - Phone: (11) 3815-8224
The name is a reference to an interjection used by the Portuguese to express surprise (something like What the Heck !). There are tables inside the main hall and outside, in a large balcony.

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