When did good food and service with a smile stop being the only ingredients needed to get diners through the door of a restaurant? These days, we want valet parking. We want live jazz. We want sustainable food. We want the chefs out foraging for the salad. And now, we want retail therapy together with our lunch or dinner. Read on for our ten favourite hybrid eateries.
Rua Artur de Azevedo 517, Jardim Paulista, 3081 4171
With the paint still drying, Feed Food, which opened its doors at the end of February, is the latest offering in the hip, multi-functional space that is Cartel 011. From the edgy salon upstairs to the quality clothes and design objets for sale, the latest string to Cartel’s bow is the restaurant, filling the space of the shady terrace out back. Order one of the all-day snacks, or a lunchtime special, like gnocchi with a homemade sausage ragu. Read more on Cartel 011.
Rua Fradique Coutinho 1248, Vila Madalena, 3812 7431, feiramoderna.com.br
If you’re looking for a taste of Brazil, Feira Moderna ticks the box on a number of levels. The owners Carlos Eduardo and Sueli Galvino source popular arts and crafts from all over Brazil while in the back courtyard, the café offers an unpretentious menu with a simple selection of Brazilian fare. Tuck into a tapioca pancake filled with ham and melted cheese, or indulge in sweet moreish lumps mixed in ice cream.
Rua Princesa Isabel 379, Brooklin, 5092 4816, govindarestaurante.com.br
For Mukesh Shandra, owner of restaurants Govinda (and the newer Ganesh in Shopping Morumbi), bringing India to Brazil has been business as usual for years. Lunchtime patrons at Govinda (and in the evening as well, at Ganesh) can rifle through everything from clothes to vases, cushions and lanterns – all imported by Shandra from India – before sitting down to the star dish, lamb rogan josh. Read more on Govinda.
Rua Harmonia 161, Vila Madalena, 3037 7702, ladavenda.com.br
Oh to wake up every day to a house like this filled with cheery knick-knacks and the smell of baking. A cross between craft shop and farmhouse kitchen, Lá da Venda is a lovingly-curated treasure trove where hams and cheeses hang from the ceiling alongside baskets, hammocks and multi-coloured crochet rugs, while tea towels, knitted dolls, wooden toys and clay pots cram the shelves. Pop by for coffee and one of chef Heloisa Bacellar’s award-winning pães de queijo. Or for something more substantial, cop a spot outside or in the interior courtyard and linger over the daily-changing lunch menu.
Rua Joaquim Antunes 217, Jardim Paulistano, 3081 7204, merceariadoconde.com.br
The clue’s in the name: Mercearia do Conde started out 21 years ago as a bona fide mercearia (grocery store) before evolving into a sit-down-and-eat spot. Now it’s one of the most visually arresting restaurants in town with a surprise waiting in every nook and cranny. The ceiling groans over the weight of objects for sale, from bamboo mobiles to wooden fairies and painted puppets, all rotating overhead, many of which are made by São Paulo-based artists Renata Sandoval and Juliana Bollini. The menu is just as quirky, drawing from Thai, Brazilian, French, Mexican and Italian influences.
Estrada de Santa Inês 3000, Mairiporã, 4485 2084, velhao.com.br
Housed in a charming network of ramshackle buildings which make up the shopping-cum-restaurant complex, O Velhão, you’ll find a number of options for an out of-town lunch here, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Serra da Cantareira urban forest. Shuffle round the shops before hitting the bountiful buffet at As Véia. Read more about As Véia.
Rua Fradique Coutinho 1416, Vila Madalena, 2386 1881, quintaldosorganicos.com.br
Green shoppers can eat their eco hearts out at this temple to organic living. The wooden tables at the front offer a pleasant shady spot for the lunch buffet while inside, a large, airy space sells organic everything, from fruit and veg to wine, meat, clothes and cosmetics.
Rua Fidalga 340, Vila Madalena, 3812 7815, santagula.com.br
Let the candles lead you up the corridor to this hidey-hole of a restaurant. Here, it’s not the food but the magical plant-filled setting that keeps us coming back. Like the look of the rustic decor? Take it home with you. Everything from the furniture, lamps, candelabra, art and even the plate you’re eating on, is for sale. Read more on Santa Gula.
Rua Harmonia 303, 3032 9856, reciclamundo.com.br
Just a few blocks up from Lá da Venda is another Vila Madalena treasure trove of trinkets, gifts and home decor. Contemplate your purchases over tea and cake at the secret garden café out the back.
Rua da Consolação 3212, Jardim Paulista, 3064 0970, casatavares.com.br
This Jardins restaurant/deli/emporium caters to modern living, serving food as well as selling a selection of stylish gifts from 7am through to midnight. The wood and bright colours in the converted 1950s house are – like the products for sale – an interesting contemporary–rustic blend. Pick up a set of Illy coffee cups, a vase, a gorgeous loaf or perhaps just a nice bottle of wine.