Speranza Dishin' out the dough

Opening in the ‘50s, this traditional Italian eatery was at the forefront of restaurants bringing Italian cooking to Brazil, introducing the ubiquitous Margherita (now the house specialty) and presenting an authentic Italian charm, thanks to the Neapolitan heritage of Sperenza’s owners.

One glimpse at the trays flurrying out of the kitchen and you’ll soon deduce that pizza is the choice of most of Sperenza’s customers but if a slice of pie is not what you’re after, the full menu of pastas, lasagnas and other Italian dishes (we recommend the Tortano, a type of sausage bread), entrees and desserts will surely satisfy.

An ideal spot for a laidback meal with family and friends, Sperenza’s cheerful wait staff place and impassioned gourmandizers ensure the place is as vibrant as any Italian restaurant should typically be.

PÃO Small miracle

In Portuguese, pão means bread—but it is also an acronym for Padaria Artesanal Orgânica (“Artisanal Organic Bakery”), the name of this charming little shop. Owner and expert baker Rafael Rosa turns loaves into fine art: salt is sourced from the Himalayas, yeasts pass through a long fermentation process and the bread itself is baked on hot stones.

PÃO’s intimate (read: tiny) setting means you can watch as your crusty rolls emerge, piping hot, from the oven. In fact, you might even find yourself scoffing the whole batch on the way home. The sandwiches, quiches, salads, cakes and pies often prove equally irresistible: since organic, sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients are the secret to PÃO’s success, its products change with the seasons. There’s always something new to taste!

Octavio Café No ordinary coffee shop

If the roasting, grinding and serving of coffee beans were an art form, then Octavio Café would the National Gallery: the entire establishment is geared towards stimulating the senses of its customers.

The café’s designers Seragine Farné Guardado and Marcello Dantas only employed suitable shapes and colors: the curve of the building is reminiscent of a cup, while the floors are made of irregular rosé wood that harks back to old coffee farms. The building has two main blocks: the café’s wooden/glass box and a stone section that houses the kitchen and the office. Both are filled with beautiful modern furniture. On the first floor is a “coffee university” where visitors can study the magic beans in even greater detail.

Coffee drinkers can choose where to enjoy their rarified brews: there is an indoor lounge, a canteen, a dining room, an internal garden, an outdoor lounge with a fireplace for colder days and a terrace. It is, like everything else at Octavio Café, an embarrassment of coffee-related riches.

Mercado Municipal Strange and wonderful

This colorful, central market is tucked away in an imposing neo-Gothic/Romanesque building (circa 1933) decorated with stained glass windows of agricultural scenes.

The Mercado Municipal sells a great variety of products—some of the exotic fruit and vegetables are not available anywhere else in town. Paulistanos love to buy food here: going for a stroll through the market means joining a great exotic jumble of people, raw tobacco and unfamiliar (and sometimes unfathomable) objects. There a re many delectable delights, but the wildly popular mortadella sandwiches—filled with at least 200g of meat—are not to be missed.

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