São Paulo's restaurant scene is known for two things: amazing pizza
and amazing sushi. There are literally thousands of sushi and pizza joints all over town, many of them absolutely world-class. In the last few years, however, only a few have been able to emerge as the clear frontrunners: Kinoshita and Jun Sakamoto for sushi, and the three branches of Bráz as the top places for pizza.
I've long been a fan of the Bráz flagship, in a nondescript street of the Pinheiros district.
I simply love it: the retro décor, the super efficient service, the impeccable draft beers served in mini glasses so they don't have time to warm up in the summer heat.
But last week I finally went to the newest Bráz, actually called Quintal do Bráz, in Vila Mariana. WOW. It has been racking up prizes, the most important one being "best pizza" in Veja magazine's annual Comer e Beber guide - and now I know why.
First of all, the place is beautiful, as are the pizza ovens themselves.
The best tables, by far, are the ones in the "Quintal", or backyard, which is actually a beautifully landscaped outdoor dining area sheltered from summer rainstorms by gigantic ombrellones.
I tasted the house specialty, a pizza made with aspargus spears, taleggio cheese and
raw eggs that are cooked in the brick oven, with yolks that come out of the infernal heat still deliciously runny.
Even the desserts won top marks. There is a tartlet of guava paste topped with
a dollop of Catupiry cheese - one of the greatest pairings ever invented, and a
classic that can be found nearly everywhere, albeit not so well executed.
The pannacotta was incredibly velvety, truly delightful.
Quintal do Bráz
447 Gandavo Street, Vila Mariana, São Paulo
tel: (55-11) 5082-3800
MondaysThurs, 18h30/0h30, Fridays and Saturdays, 18h30/1h30, Sundays 18h30/0h30