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If you can judge a place by its clientele, then chef Shinya Koike was clearly doing something right when he ran A1 – a small izakaya (Japanese bar with hot food) and long-running favourite with the Japanese suits at the nearby Bank of Tokyo, on Avenida Paulista. Koike relocated a few blocks south when he opened Aizomê back in 2007. The two-storey restaurant, in an old house in Jardins (look for the large ‘39’ on the wall as there’s no sign) serves a mix of sushi, sashimi and hot Japanese dishes.
Koike, whose father ran a sushi bar in Tokyo, is best known for rolling out ‘East meets West’ fusion sushi, adapted with Brazilian ingredients. The sushi may not match the reputation of chefs like Jun Sakamoto, but the all-round Japanese food experience is one of the best in São Paulo. Go for the tasting menu (R$180 for seven courses) – a sequence of hot and cold dishes that changes each day.