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A brisk 15-minute march uphill from Santana Metrô, Garabed is one of the city’s better-known off-the-beaten track restaurants, like nearby Mocotó. Unlike in most of São Paulo’s Middle Eastern joints, the bread here is homemade; and it’s good, light and chewy. Babaganoush comes doused with toasted pine nuts and herbs, and without the usual underlying acidity, and the juicy, meaty kaftas are served with fluffy rice. Of the imaginative range of esfihas, don’t miss the tasty and surprisingly light Armenian dried-meat version.
The excellent food should help soothe the trauma of the decor, which has all the timeless ambience of an Eastern European waiting room. The only visual relief comes from watching the chefs up at the counter, busy shaping dough next to rows of glistening baklava.