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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.

Rodeio Gettin' down to business

Rodeio make not have the class of A Figueira Rubaiyat, but it is cooler—and the steaks are of a similarly lofty order. Besides, the rustic decor only adds to its charm.

A favorite for family dinners and Sunday lunch with friends, this restaurant attracts all ages and income brackets: after all, it serves some of the best meat around (and the bar is raised pretty high in ranch-filled Brazil).

Rodeio’s most famous dishes include Picanha (sliced rump steak), which is grilled quite literally right in front of your eyes, and the not-to-be-missed crunchy rice extravaganza Arroz Rodeio. Top it all off with a whiskey at the bar and you’ll barely be able to toddle back home.

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.

Masseria Homemade, hand-crafted

This friendly, semi-secret kitchen only opens on demand. If you have a hankering for bread that’s still warm from the oven, just ring up Claudio Lorezo—an artist from Buenos Aires who exchanged the canvas for cuisine—and schedule a dinner date.

Lorezo’s palette includes a delicious array of empanadas, baked goods and divinely fresh pasta, which arrives accompanied by a glass or two of good wine: truly, Masseria’s spreads are enough to make a Greek god jealous.

Housed in a studio formerly used for engraving, Masseria also hosts a “Clube do Pão” (Bread Club) whose associates take three new breads a week home with them. Frozen versions of Lorezo’s treats are also available for takeaway.

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