Nov 23, 2009

Alex Atala reclaims helm of Dava e Dito restaurant in São Paulo

The number one term searched by those who visit this blog is "Alex Atala", and I'm sure that's no coincidence. He is, in fact, the country's top food ambassador and in the past couple of years acquired the status of celeb-chef, showing up in mobile phone ads, multiple magazine covers and on the 50 Best Restaurants list.

So I feel I should give an update on his much talked-about second restaurant, Dalva e Dito. A while after a scathing review in Veja São Paulo, Alain Poletto, the French chef who'd been put in charge of the place, was pulled out (he says he left to pursue a new challenge, but don't they all say that?).

In Poletto's place, Atala very intelligently put... himself! :)

He understood that the public had turned against something they saw as a pricey exercise in branding, rather than a project that Atala actually had his heart in.

So now Atala's steering the ship, and he's thought up a new menu filled with real homey classics that every São Paulo native knows from family meals. Genius: the Brazilians go for comfort food, the gringos go to discover what real home-made Brazilian food tastes like. Hopefully, the execution in on par with what is expected of him.

I've decided to reproduce here the menu in its entirety, since I've gotten a few requests from readers. Voilà:

Dalva e Dito

Brazilian Food

Prix fixe lunch 47 Reais (or 72 reais on weekends and holidays with the dessert of the day)

Dalva e Dito salad: greens, tomato, fresh heart of palm, onion

Sides: white rice, brown beans, black beans, crisp potatoes, wilted kale, farofa

Enjoy a choice of:

Contrafilé steak,

Pork tenderloin

Roast chicken


Crispy Saint-pierre

To start...

Cuscuz paulista (traditional cornmeal terrine with tomatoes, peas and eggs)

With shrimp and salad

Salad of cavaquinha (Brazilian langoustine)

Slow-poached sous vide and served with heirloom cucumber, tomato, citrus and a bisque vinaigrette

Salad of fradinho beans and pulled beef tendon

The meat is slow-cooked until tender, served shredded and tossed with onion, green pepper, brown beans, parsley and green peas.

Fresh heart of palm salad

Cooked and raw wedges of rustic heart of palm, diced pienaple, marinated shrimp, herbs, cream and cinnamon.

Lambe-lambe clams

An homage to the classic seafood stew served at the beach restaurant Dalmo Bárbaro

Oysters from Santa Catarina state

Garnished with lime and salt

Cod brandade

With black beans and julienne of wilted kale

From land and air...

Red rice from Northeastern Brazil with skewer of coalho cheese and grilled vegetables

A rice dish typical of the arid countryside paired with the charred cheese that is the quintessential Northeastern beach snack

Pig in a can with potato mash and pequi

Confit of pork ribs slow-cooked in a can combined with the exotic flavour of the pequi, a fruit that grows in the plains of Central Brazil

Oxtail with and canjiquinha

A classic of Minas Gerais state, a hearty mix of slow-cooked oxtail, crunchy watercress and white corn porridge

Roast chicken with homestyle risotto

Roasted and soft chicken made by our Rotissol. Only it knows how to do that

Quail stuffed with dried bananas and cashews

A very Brazilian stuffing enhances the flavourful bird. On the side, a lighter and tropical take on the risotto: less creamy and made with the common agulhinha rice instead of arborio.

Skewer of picanha beef, Gaucho style, with farofa

The classic from Rio Grande do Sul state: 300 grams of prime steak grilled on the spit, served with the traditional farofa (toasted manioc flour)

Beef tenderloin with sautéed onions, topped with a fried egg, and white rice

A São Paulo classic, served at most family tables

Steak milanese with potato salad

Another classic: generous portion of crisp, breaded deep-fried meat and a cool salad as contrast

Rack of lamb with crispy potatoes

Lamb prepared gaucho style on the spit and served pink, with chimi curri sauce and potatoes.

Rack of goat with broccoli tossed in olive oil, and baked onion (for two)

From the water…

Pirarucu a la plancha with Brazil nut vinaigrette and ratatouille of vegetables from the Northeast

The largest fish species from our rivers, farmed sustainably, paired with diced and roasted manioc, maxixe, jiló, okra, sweet potato and jerimum squash

Surubim with jambu and lemongrass, white rice and manioc flour

Also farmed sustainably, guaranteeing even quality and flavor, the fish is served with jambu, a herb from the North which is unique in that it makes the tongue tingle

Salt-crusted catch of the day with crispy potatoes

Whatever is best at the market. Please allow a 35 minute preparation time.

Bahian moqueca with white rice and fish porridge

Badejo steaks in a traditional palm oil and coconut milk stew (for one, 45 reais)

(fresh chopped cilantro is optional)

Capixaba moqueca with white rice and fish porridge

Light, delicate and tasty. The moqueca typical of Espírito Santo state

Shrimp in the pumpkin

A Brazilian classic: shrimp in a thick and creamy Catupiry cheese sauce served in a pumpkin, with white rice on the side

Shrimp a la plancha with mandioquinha mousseline

Extra-large shrimp served sizzling and topped with chopped parsley and lime, with a silky purée of Brazil’s tastiest root vegetable

Dona Dalva cod

Top-notch Dias salted cod served in a casserole with stewed tomatoes, potatoes and onions and the best Portuguese olive oil

Octopus with manioc mash

Grilled tentacles served with chunky concassé of roasted manioc

In homage to the cookery of Brazilian grandmas, aunts and mothers...

Homestyle risotto

Not at all like the Italian version: baked casserole of rice, peas, tomatoes and carrots, au gratin

Manteiguinha beans from Pará state

The name of these beans translates to “little butter” – and for good reason...

Roasted Pupunha heart of palm

A great ingredient, baked whole, in the palm trunk

Mousseline of mandioquinha

A silky purée of Brazil’s tastiest root vegetable

Ratatouille of the Sertão

Diced and roasted exotic vegetables from the Northeast region - manioc, maxixe, jiló, okra, sweet potato and jerimum squash – finished with a drizzle of manteiga de garrafa, Brazil’s version of the Indian ghee butter

Crispy potatoes

Fried whole, rustic and delicious

Potato salad

Diced potatoes tossed with eggs, chopped onion and mayo


Toasted manioc flour

Broccoli tossed in olive oil and baked onion

Potato mash with pequi fruit

Classic mashed potatoes laced with the exotic scent of Brazil’s heartland

Manioc mash

Chunky concassé of roasted manioc

To sweeten life...

Selection of farmstead compotes

With fresh cheese

(As traditional as it gets)

Romeo and Juliet

The pairing of guava paste and Catupiry cheese got this name because it is a match made in heaven. To our version we add guava cream and guava sorbet.

Açaí with banana, guarana, spices, tapioca ice cream and granola

A dressed-up preparation of the Amazonian fruit, served unsweetened as is the custom in its place of origin.

Papaya cream with a drizzle of catuaba

Papaya whipped with vanilla ice cream and topped with drops of catuaba liqueur

Brazilian fruit sorbets

Exotic even to Brazilians, although they shouldn’t be...

Cashew fruit, graviola, and papaya with pitanga

Fruits of the moment

Chocolate and priprioca custard

Single-origin cocoa in a silky cream laced with the essence of an exotic root from Pará state

Crème caramel

Brazilian-style and in a generous serving, to overcome my childhood yearning

Ambrosia with passion fruit jam

A classic dessert made with milk, eggs and sugar. Souvenirs of my father

Flambéed strawberries

Served with cinnamon ice cream

Mango mousse, coconut ice cream, ginger syrup

The only sugar in this light dessert is the fruit’s own

Raviolis with banana and passion fruit stuffing, tangerine sorbet

Baba à la cachaça, golden egg custard

Dalva e Dito
Rua Padre João Manuel, 1115, Jardins, 3062-6282

And more Alex Atala on this blog:

And also, two videos I made at D.O.M.:

1 comment:

  1. Olá Alexandra,
    Parabéns pelo seu trabalho.
    Bem, estou decidindo com meu marido sobre mudarmos pra Montreal, e gostaria muito de saber sua opinião sobre trabalho nesta área.
    Atualmante tenho um restaurante juntamente com minha família no interior de SP e pretendo continuar estudando.
    Porém gostaria muito de trabalhar. Você pode me passar algumas dicas...
    Ah! Conversei com o Rodrigo sobre a viagem espetacular para os EUA e através dele conheci o seu trabalho.
    Nada acontece por acaso...