Friday, May 13, 2011

Sao Paulo 10 Best Pizzas!

Typical Marguerita Pizza in Sao Paulo, Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil!

According to Ray and Gil's experience as native Paulitanos, here is a follow up from our World's Best Pizza Post.
One thing you should always keep in mind is that it is a SIN, no, really, a SIN to eat Pizza for lunch!
Pizza is eaten at night. I have never even seen a Paulistana Pizzeria opened during the day, Pizza is a dinner meal, period, Paulista Pizza is not too fatty so help yourself with some great Olive Oil, always available at any Paulista Pizzeria, catchup or mustard will get you a "straight jacket" faster than you can say "Rio" :)
You may find some Pizza places open during the day, but you will not find them making or serving Pizzas, if they have different dishes, such as salads, steaks and pastas, then that is what they will be making and serving during the day for lunch.
So, here we go, 10 best Pizzerias in Sao Paulo according to Ray and Gil.
( Also the 10 best in the world, in my opinion ;)
Enjoy! :)

# 10 Degas Pizzaria - Pompeia
        Degas Pizzaria - Pinheiros ( we know the one at Rua Teodoro Sampaio)
One of Gil's favorite, in the Pinheiros neighborhood of Sao Paulo, Rua Teodoro Sampaio to be more specific, and they also have a newer, Pompeia Branch that we have never visited.
It is a super traditional place, inaugurated in 1969, and more recently started serving Pizza Rodizio style and we even spotted a Pepperoni Pizza, have we told you how much we HATE and DESPISE Pepperonis? Just because of this disgusting addition to their menu, they got bumped to last place on our 10 best Sao Paulo Pizzas :)  ( Sorry dear friend Danielle, we know you love Pepperoni, so I decided to add this one just for you! I hope you enjoy it and give me your review :)
When we used to go to Degas they were not Rodizio and they were great. We are curious to find out if they lost any quality when they adopted this despicable style of service, yeah, we also despise Pizzerias Rodizio style, can you tell ? ;) Yes, we are picky with our freaking Pizzas!
But we loved Degas so much that we decided to include them anyway.
Escarole Pizza is my favorite and I always asked them to hold the "aliche" ( anchovies), I just can't stand aliche in my Pizza,  if you order Escarole Pizza in Sao Paulo, expect it to have either bacon or aliche on top of your Escarole, so if you are a vegetarian or don't want either aliche or bacon on your Escarole Pizza ask them to leave it out, don't say I didn't warn you. :)
They also have a "Churrascaria" within their Pizzaria, and they are famous for making the BEST "Parmigiana" Steaks in the city, here is a great review with pictures of their Parmigiana Steak, which you can choose from Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon or Chicken breast.
Degas is not expensive, they are a great place to take the whole family, not your trendy place where everyone wants to be seen and where they park fancy Ferraris at the front door.
Their location is at Teodoro Sampaio street, which has the biggest concentration of Music Instruments stores in the city, Piano stores, guitars etc...
The area also has many Furniture stores, not the best or largest place in the city, but they have a good selection, not Ikea type of assemble yourself crap, but real hardwood quality furniture for decent prices.

Gil and I have never tried Braz, however, dear fellow blogger Jana from went to Braz and gave us great reviews. Also, we found out BRAZ has branches in Rio, so Rachel, Jim, Sara, Ginger and all our other Rio readers can try one of the best Pizzas from Sao Paulo, if not the best. Oh, last but not least, they also have a branch in Campinas making accessible to "The Reader and her Pizza loving boys", Nina ( you are not far from Campinas ) and Danielle, you can stop at Braz when you drive thru Sao Paulo or just go over to the Campinas branch when you visit your MIL. ;)
Who knows, after we try it, we might just move BRAZ to the top of our list. :)
Just a word of advice, as per Jana's comment on our Pizza post, Braz is on the higher end price wise, but the quality totally pays off according to everyone we spoke to about Braz.
For those not familiar with the city of Sao Paulo, Braz is a traditional industrial neighborhood on the East side of the city, however there are no Braz Pizzarias in the actual Braz area. I still don't know the connection between the name and the area.

Cristal is not exactly your "traditional" Pizza place, Cristal is super trendy, it's in a very exclusive neighborhood of Sao Paulo called Cidade Jardim. But their Pizzas are really good, they are sold individually, so each person chooses each owns Pizza. They also have great grilled steaks and awesome salads. We usually went to Cristal when we had a group of friends and some people wanted Pizza and others wanted something else, then Cristal is your perfect location, everyone will be happy, they have a great selection, even the crazy chocolate/banana dessert Pizzas ( not our cup of tea ) but you might like it.
Cristal is also on the higher end price wise, but totally worth it for those days you want something a little more special and different.
Most importantly, they have some AWESOME wood BRICK ovens right in the middle of the restaurant, everything is prepared right there in front of you and your guests.
We highly recommend it.

Don Peppe Di Napoli used to be a hole in the wall with charming small tables with checkered table cloth, a big wood burning Brick oven in the back that you could see the flames from the street, today, they have completely gone "Outback House" on us, they have branches all over the place, I lost track.
I still go to their original location in the Moema area of Sao Paulo, close to Ibirapuera Mall, but across on the other side of Ibirapuera Avenue.
They used to have a salad washing station in the middle of the restaurant where you always saw them washing lots of fresh heads of Arugula, Escarole, Romaine and Boston Lettuce, Chicory, Mustard Greens and "Serralha" ( from the dandelion family ).
See, the reasons we love this place is not only because of their Pizza, or they would probably make 1st place on my all time favorite restaurants. They have a lot more than Pizza. Their Pizza is great, they even built an exclusive new place next door only to serve Pizza. The main restaurant was expanded, they did away with the old charming salad washing station and now their salads come from a pre-washed and pre-cut from a processing plant nearby, lost a little of the old school charm, but they are still a great place.
My favorite item on their restaurant menu is "Spaghetti a Francesco Paolo", yes, this is how it's written in the menu, maybe a guy Francesco Paolo created, who cares, it's freaking delicious, it is "Durum Wheat Spaghetti pasta" fresh tomatoes "chunky tomato sauce" ( you can taste the difference), small cubes of heavenly tender "Filet Mignon" steak, same sized cubed cut roasted "Egg Plant", fresh Basil leaves and "Small black Olives", it is the BEST FREAKING SPAGHETTI in the WORLD, I dare you to find a better one, anywhere :)
Oh, they also make a mean "Paella", I know Paella is a spanish dish, but Don Pepe Di Napoli is a Italian/Spanish inspired restaurant, actually they grew into a chain a many different restaurants today, worth trying every one of them ;)

This is Gil's all time favorite, probably one of the most traditional Pizza places we now, founded in the 1930's, you will find old waiters who worked at the restaurant all their lives. Very affordable, they have maintained their only downtown location, never expanded, still managed by the same family.
The "Portuguesa" is their best Pizza in our opinion, loaded with veggies.
Their crust is heavenly thin, no thick crust option here.
It is surrounded by the good old Gigantic sized Theaters of Sao Paulo's golden era, popular with artists and musicians for almost a century.
Also popular with the students from the many Colleges and Universities in that area of downtown Sao Paulo.
It is definitely a family Pizza place, not trendy at all, children running all over the place and large tables with entire families, grandparents and infants. A great place if you are paying the bill for a large group of family or friends ;)

Ok, Mancini is your Pizzeria if you LOVE WINE along with a great Paulista Pizza, they are supposed to have one of the best WINE SELECTIONS in Sao Paulo.
They have traditionally served Pizzas at their old restaurant downtown, but recently bought the building next door and built a massive AWESOME all glass and beautiful wood restaurant divided in 3 large areas, each area have their own stage with a different type of live music band. Yes, the place is that big, it is SUPER popular, probably the most popular in the whole city. Their waiting time is ridiculous and they have a super great snacks bar by the weight for folks in the waiting areas, they also serve free drinks at the waiting areas, trust me, the waiting for a table is an important part of the experience, if you have a reservation, you might get in in 30 minutes to 1 hour, no reservation, good luck and BE PATIENT! :)
You can try them at cold winter nights when the wait is more reasonable, but then you would never experience the energy from the crowds. ;)
Most people go to Mancini Pizzeria or their Restaurant next door on Sunday for lunch with the entire family or late at night after a Theater play or musical, they stay opened late and I have seen famous Brazilian actors and actresses several times, many times, the same ones from the plays you just watched.
They are on the higher end for pricing. They didn't use to be this way, but they got so popular their price just went thru the roof.
Talking about going thru the roof, they have some awesome large trees that were there before the restaurant, so they literally built the restaurant around these large trees.
You HAVE to visit Famiglia Mancini at least once in your life and don't miss their all time favorite snack bar by the weight. They give you small plates and you load them with all kinds of different fancy cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, egg plants, artichoke hearts, Prosciutto, Salami from all parts of Italy, it is heaven on earth if you appreciate good living.

Micheluccio is also very traditional, founded in 1957, at Consolacao Avenue ( Near the intersection with Paulista Avenue ).
They are a different type of PIZZA, yes, believe it or not, Sao Paulo has THICK CRUST PIZZA, nothing like your Chicago deep dish pan type Pizza and nothing like your typical thick crust Pizzas found around the United States, this is a Sao Paulo thick crust Pizza. Gil's absolute favorite.
My Dad loves Micheluccio as well and we usually went to Micheluccio after a Soccer match at Pacaembu Stadium, if you know the area, you will understand why. Off course, we would only go if Corinthians WON, if Corinthians lost we would get Pizza delivery near our home and call it a night :(
Also, not your trendy, fancy Pizza place, it is a low key family Pizza, the area has become a popular with the gays lately, so it stays open almost all night to serve the crowds coming out of the many night clubs, theathers and cinemas in the area.

Camelo is my brother's absolute favorite restaurant in Sao Paulo. My aunt and my cousin's also swear by it. Gil has never been there, I love it too, it is a popular meeting point for our family and many of our friends.
They make an awesome Pizza, they are not your trendy fancy place either like Cristal or Braz, no, this is your neighborhood, everyday place, not expensive, traditional type Pizza restaurant that also make other great dishes such as Stroganoff, the real German/Sao Paulo style made with Filet Mignon, butter and real cream, not your typical Hamburger Helper crap Stroganoff made with ground chuck and mixed with a box filled with chemicals for flavoring...  ;)
The Camelo we always go to is the one at Pamplona Street in Jardins, Rua Estados Unidos, I have never been to any of the new locations scattered all over the city, but they also deliver, so check out their web site and order a great meal from them on that day you just don't have time to cook.

This is an AWESOME PIZZA place, it serves exclusively Pizza and drinks, nothing else.
They are not the cheapest but also not the most expensive.
Margueritta is not your fancy, trendy place, but you will usually see a younger crowd, small groups of friends and rarely see large families in large tables like you do see in most traditional Pizzarias in Sao Paulo. 
They make one of my all time favorite Pizzas, "Palmito com requeijao" "Hearts of Palm with Brazilian soft fresh cheese", it is out of this world good. You will never forget it good! You will come back over and over again good! You get the idea :)
Their crust is really great, thin and off course they still have a mean wood burning brick oven working full time.
Marguerita has only one location in the heart of Jardins, a short distance, maybe a couple blocks from the "Renaissance Hotel" in Sao Paulo, they do have valet parking at the door and it's not expensive.
It is a large place, but they still have a good crowd on weekends and most week night as well, so expect to wait like any other good restaurant in Sao Paulo. People usually ask for drinks and chat around the entrance drinking and waiting for you table. This is a very typical thing to do in Sao Paulo, you socialized with friends while drinking and waiting for your table.
Ah, remember to take a cab if you don't have a designated driver, the "ZERO TOLERANCE" law is taken very seriously and you will get caught. Not worth the risk, cabs are not expensive in Sao Paulo by the way.
One of our favorite things at Marguerita, besides the Palmito c/ Requeijao Pizza, is their Sangria, made with delicious chilled wine and loads of fresh fruit served on a large glass pitcher, trust me, one pitcher won't be enough ;)
You cannot miss a visit to Marguerita if you go to Sao Paulo.


 A little background on this wonderful Pizzaria Paulista:
( English version translated from the original version in Portuguese below)

Inaugurated 33 years ago by Gino Belettato and his children, Gino's Pizzaria is one of the most traditional Pizzarias in the ABC region of Sao Paulo, being one of the pioneers in Sao Bernardo do Campo.
Gino was born in Sao Paulo and his parents were immigrants from Padova, a town in the province of Venetto, Northern Italy, which is an area of Italy were most Sao Paulo immigrants originated.
Gino was a carpenter, like many Italian immigrants in that time, and came to Sao Bernardo do work in the traditional Furniture Industry which had a strong presence in the region. He ended up owning and operating one of the largest and most popular furniture stores in the city. However culinary was always Gino's biggest passion, particularly Pizzas.
Gino had a wood burning Pizza oven in his backyard, he loved making Pizzas for his friends and family and loved creating different toppings for his art of Pizza making.
After strong encouragement from his friends, in 1976, Gino decided to open his Pizzaria downtown Sao Bernardo, which is about 25 minutes driving from downtown Sao Paulo taking Via Anchieta highway, totally worth the drive.
One of Gino's trade mark was the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant where his customers could watch their Pizzas being prepared, the Pizzaiolo ( Pizza cook ) would hand the children watching a  treat called "enroladinho" which is a rolled mozzarella cheese with ham, it became a tradition and today a popular Pizza is the "enroladinho" Pizza. 
They started with a small Pizza place for 60 people and today have expanded into a restaurant for 130 people.

( Original Portuguese version from Gino's website )

Inaugurada há 33 anos por Gino Belettato e seus filhos, a Pizzaria do Gino é uma das mais tradicionais do ABC, sendo a pioneira em São Bernardo do Campo.
Gino era filho de italianos de Padova, trabalhou toda a sua vida como entalhador e marcineiro (ofício de muitos imigrantes italianos) em várias das tradicionais fábricas de móveis da cidade, também foi sócio proprietário de uma das primeiras lojas de móveis da rua Jurubatuba, mas sempre teve gosto pela culinária, em particular pelas pizzas.
Gino e sua filha Ivete

Gino tinha um forno à lenha em sua casa, onde gostava de reunir os amigos e familiares e servir várias fornadas de pizzas, sempre criando novidades. Foi por isso e incentivado por esses mesmos amigos que resolveu em 1976 abrir a pizzaria do Gino.
Uma das novidades da casa era a cozinha aberta e iluminada onde todas as pessoas (amigos e clientes) podiam ver como eram preparadas as pizzas. As crianças se aproximavam do forno e o pizzaiolo Gino às presenteava com um enroladinho de muzzarela e presunto.Aliás devido ao tamanho sucesso do enroladinho, virou uma das inúmeras pizzas hoje oferecidos pela casa.
No início a pizzaria tinha capacidade para apenas 60 pessoas, hoje a casa acomoda 130 pessoas em um ambiente agradável e familiar.

Why we love Gino's Pizza!

First and foremost it's because this is an old School Pizza place, nothing fancy, nothing trendy, they make a great thin crust Pizza loaded with the best quality ingredients, which makes the whole difference.
They use the BEST BUFFALO MUZZARELLA CHEESE in the whole wide WORLD and they have an AWESOME Italian aliche, which I never allow it on my Escarole Pizza by the way ;)
My favorite Gino's Pizza are Portuguesa and Escarole WITHOUT aliche please!!!
Gino was retired when he opened his place in the 70's, he wasn't obsessed with profits at all costs like many other places who jeopardize quality over profits.
Gino was proud of his Pizza, he accepted nothing but the BEST, his kids kept the tradition.
Gino's daughters and sons all know me and my entire family by name, my great aunts, my grandma, they went to high school together, they know all the gossip going around our suburban town, the people who died, who got married, who got divorced, the whole scoop.
Gino has already passed away but his kids kept the tradition, his daughters are in the 50's and 60's, they are super cool, ( think House wifes of  New Jersey ), they wear long shiny gowns on weekends, heavy colorful make up, super cool 60's style hair doos and long fake nails ( at least I thing they are fake, how knows? :) they walk around the tables talk to everyone and make sure the place is running perfect, just like Mr.Gino did in the 70's and 80's. They joke with everyone and are always in a great mood.
My grandmother and my aunts go to Gino every single week. I make a point of going to Gino every time I go to Sao Paulo. I have never missed them on any visit yet. Hell, I dream with Gino's Pizza very often :(
They are not expensive at all, this is a hard core true old school restaurant, don't even expect them to accept credit cards, they finally surrendered and started accepting Debit Cards, Visa Electron and a couple Bank cards. Until recently they only accepted CASH, I never know if my American Debt Cards will work, so I always bring CASH, just to be on the safe side.
There waiters have worked there forever, they are great, the best service you will see anywhere.
There is always a 20 to 30 minute wait on weekends and the same goes for some days of the week.
I also love their ice cream desserts, my favorite is Tartufo Bianco, also found in many other restaurants around Sao Paulo.
I found a picture to show you, it is Chocolate ice cream Rum in the center surrounded by a ball of Coconut Ice Cream with a light fresh graded coconut crust. It is heaven on earth. Ask for it at Gino, after trying Sao Paulo's best Pizza. ;)

Delicious Tartufo Bianco ice cream dessert found in many Sao Paulo restaurants


Jana said...

Ohh you have out done yourself! Alex and I have declared our Sundays as "must eat pizza" day so I think we are just going to work our way down the list =) Estou agradecido !!!!!!!

American Heart Brazilian Soul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
American Heart Brazilian Soul said...

Dear Jana,

You are so lucky to be in Sao Paulo, I can't wait to get there :)
If you made Sunday your "must eat Pizza" day, you are definitely turning into Paulistas ;)
There is nothing more typical of Paulista families than having Pizza for dinner on Sunday nights, and by the way, there is a joke that we love roasted Chicken, farofa, potato salad ( Brazilian style ) and Spaguetti for Sunday lunches :)
Email me when you are ready to go to Gino's and I will give them a call to let them know you are coming!
Ahhh, I can't wait to get there :)


Born Again Brazilian said...

Hooray! My new guide to the city!! Thanks for this.

Armando said...

Good god! I am from Padova an d visiting Sao Paulo first time. I am very proud to read about Gino's. Hope I can make a visit to this Pizzeria.
Thank you for your tips!

Anonymous said...

This is a quality establishment. Fantastic pizza from all angles, from the crust to the sauce to the ingredients. Incredibly flavorful and delicious every time.

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