Sunshine can be frustratingly elusive in São Paulo, even in the middle of summer. But as soon as the clouds clear to let the rays rule, the city’s green spaces fill up as fast as you can say ‘que calor’!
After working up a thirst on a sunny afternoon in Parque do Ibirapuera, you can’t go wrong with the recently-opened Bottega Paradiso for cold beer and tasty Italian treats. Just a five-minute walk beyond the park’s portão (gate) 9, on a quiet street corner,
Bottega Paradiso is, much like its patron, part Brazilian, part-Italian. ‘It’s an Italian-themed boteco,’ says Marcello Gritti Della Rosa, a Brazilian with Italian grandparents, who has blended the informality of a local boteco – not to mention local beers like Brahma and Bohemia – with a menu packed with dishes from all over Italy.
Chefs Luciano Moreira and Erivaldo Alcântara do specials at the weekend, but the everyday pestiscos (snacks) are where it’s at. Try the elaborate crostini ai fichi – grilled figs drizzled with honey, balsamic vinegar, melting Camembert cheese, Parma ham and rocket on bread (R$23.10). It’s a mouthful even to read, but oozes heavenly flavours.
Classic Italian rice balls – arancini – are a delight, too, with different fillings and flavours, such as riso salto (Parmesan rice balls with mushrooms) and pomodori secchi with basil and sundried tomato.
A striped beige awning shades the outdoor terrace while a black- and-white tiled floor dominates the interior. And when the sun’s beating down outside, a wall-to-wall illustrated mirror is just perfect – in the immortal words of Genesis – for checking everything is in place.