Festive feasting south of the equator is an evening affair in most households, with families gathering on Christmas Eve for the traditional ceia de natal – Christmas dinner. We've rounded up three of the best festive menus for a special dinner on the 24 December, as well as three restaurants to settle in for a long lunch on Christmas Day.
A Figueira Rubaiyat
Rua Haddock Lobo 1738, Jardim Paulista (3087 1399/ rubaiyat.com.br)
A candle-lit dinner under the stars in the garden at A Figueira Rubaiyat has all the ingredients for a special Christmas Eve. So long as the tropical rains stay well away, although te . For its ceia de natal, the restaurant is planning a set dinner with a rocket-and-peach salad starter, roast turkey breast stuffed with bread, Parmesan, walnuts and more rocket, followed by a choice of either pork or beef from the Rubaiyat's own farm. The fixed price menu includes a bottle of wine per couple. R$350.
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Fogo de Chão
Avenida Santo Amaro 6824, Santo Amaro (5524 0500/ fogodechao.com.br)
At this, the best-known brand of Brazilian churrascaria (barbecue-style steak-house), the usual endless supply of meats, sliced directly on to your plate by circulating waiters, is complemented by an elaborate salad buffet, including a ham salad with pineapple, mango and mozzarella. Do we really need to say it? Go easy on the carbs to make the most of the delicious meat. R$150.
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Rua da Consolação 3555, Jardim Paulista (3064 3089/ marcelrestaurante.com.br)
Chef Raphael Despirite has earned an excellent reputation for his creative French-inspired cooking. On Christmas Eve, opt for the roast lamb with gnocchi and sautéed mushrooms (cordeiro assado com nhoques dourados e cogumelos salteados). Or for a change from meat, Despirite is also serving sea-bass with an asparagus sauce and grilled courgettes (robalo ao molho de aspargos e abobrinhas grelhadas). R$165.
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|Pork terrine at Praça São Lourenço|
Bar des Arts
Rua Pedro Humberto 9, Itaim Bibi (3074 6363/ bardesarts.com.br)
If it's looking like the sun will shine on Christmas Day, book in for a slow afternoon of eating and drinking in the elegant and lovely garden at Bar des Arts, where a buffet will blend French and Italian cuisine with Brazilian touches in dishes such as turkey roasted in cachaça and mustard. R$115.
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Rua Oscar Freire 384, Jardim Paulista (3068 4393/ emiliano.com.br)
Turn breakfast into lunch over as many glasses of Mumm champagne as tickles your fancy at the Emiliano hotel's Christmas brunch. Unlike the usual hotel breakfast buffet, at the Emiliano you can order a succession of small dishes from the special menu. Choose from dishes such as salt-cod risotto with a black olive crumb (risoto de bacalhau com farofa de azeitonas pretas) or turkey in wine with a raisin crumb (peru ao vinho com farofa de uva-passa). Reservations essential. R$210
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Praça São Lourenço
Rua Casa do Ator 608, Vila Olímpia (3053 9300/ pracasaolourenco.com.br)
A great choice for families, Praça São Lourenço is a spacious wood-decked restaurant in Vila Olímpia where families can set up camp at a table outside in the shade by the large, shallow (20cm) carp pond. On Christmas Day, besides the mega buffet of salads, help yourself to roast turkey, served with a pomegranate sauce (peru ao molho de romã), or a super-sized paella. Father Christmas is also planning to stop by to say a merry hello to the little ones. R$120.