Despite the incredibly vast number of food types found in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city is somewhat short on vegan/vegetarian restaurants. There are many stores which cater to the non-animal eating community, but when it comes to restaurants serving exclusively non-animal products, the city is somewhat restricted. Nonetheless, here are five strictly vegan/vegetarian restaurants in São Paulo that you should try while you are in town.
Among trees and flowers in the Pinheiros neighborhood, the Casa Jaya not only offers a delicious vegan meal at its Nectare Restaurant, but also hosts cultural activities, yoga and meditation classes and has an art gallery. The lunch buffet includes organic salads, veggie burgers, açaí in the bowl, tapioca, and a great variety of juice blends, as well as vegetable cheeses, cakes, teas and organic espresso. Among the most requested meals are the tapioca crêpes filled with mushrooms or vegetables.
Within walking distance from University of São Paulo (USP), Vegan & Co. is a hit with the students who come to the restaurant daily to purchase animal-free sandwiches, salads and snacks. At the beginning of February the restaurant moved to a new location, with a bigger dining area and a vegetable garden where customers can see planted the vegetables they are consuming. Served by the owners themselves, you feel at home in this unassuming restaurant, where there is always a warm word and where customers and employees know each other by name.
One of the few gourmet vegetarian restaurants in São Paulo, Banana Verde lies on a tree-lined area in the heart of Vila Madalena. During lunch hour, the line at the door usually invades the sidewalk, and with reason. The palm spaghetti with chestnuts and tomatoes and the roasted pumpkin risotto, prepared with black rice, mushroom, and brie cheese, are favorites among the crowd who order à la carte. If your hunger is greater, however, go for the lunch buffet, which usually includes several types of salads, soups, and tofu-prepared ‘meats’.
Alternativa Casa do Natural | Courtesy of Casa do Natural
The front part of Alternativa Casa do Natural is a store with a wide variety of natural and organic products. But as you make your way to the back of the building the smell of sweet potatoes or roasting peppers will make your mouth water. The buffet offers about a half dozen hot and cold dishes, all organic. Some of the dishes are garlic- or onion-free for those who practice meditation. The dessert table is not that exciting, with fruits and some sweets, but if you come across the incredible coconut pudding, go for a double serving.
The small restaurant with ivy on its outer walls serves a tasty variety of whole grain pastas and quiches. The restaurant’s many types of pies are considered some of the best in town. The Peruvian parsnip gnocchi is also a favorite among vegetarians. The lunch menu usually includes two entrée choices, one pasta-based and one cereal/grain-based, along with a salad or a quiche.