It's such a rare treat to find a restaurant that is pleasant and serves excellent food...
That's why I was thrilled to discover Tappo Trattoria, in the Jardins district of São Paulo. As soon as I arrived I was impressed by the coziness of the room - narrow like the interior of a train - and the warm welcome given by our server.
The décor was simple, yet elegant, and featured ultra-comfortable chairs.
To start, fresh crisp bread, top-notch olive oil and sea salt. A good omen of what was to come...
My vitello tonnato, an old classic, had a different twist: one slice of fresh tuna, lightly seared on the outside, with a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Nicely done.
My friend's appetizer was huge: focaccia with perfectly seasoned cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.
We'd heard rave reviews of Tappo's lasagna, and as soon as we mentioned that to our waiter, he said he'd bring us a little taste of it. Wow, what a delicacy, the thin squares of fresh pasta gently layered with bolognese sauce à la minute. Its fame is fully justified.
Lea's branzino was another winner, perfectly seared and served atop a light tomato broth with basil and onions.
Constance ordered the dish of the day: squid ink spaghetti, made in-house, with a plethora of seafood, big enough to feed a family!
The absolute winner, however, was my gnocchi with beef ragout. Pillow-soft dumplings contrasting with the deep-flavoured stew and an ultra-concentrated tomato reduction - absolute perfection!
Even Tappo's desserts are first rate. They serve cannolis,
and a tiramisu in a glass:
There's also a semifreddo, pure velvety chocolate goodness, surrounded by a sweet puddle of crème anglaise.
And the fourth (!!!) dessert we tasted, which happened to be our favorite, was the big surprise of the day. Lime ice cream, prosecco and vodka combined to create a creamy and ever-so-slightly sparkly mixture that gave us welcome respite from a scorching hot summer day.
In short, this is one of São Paulo's top Italian restaurants, without any doubt.
Tappo Trattoria: Rua da Consolação, 2967, tel. 3063-4864