São Paulo is one of the world’s biggest cities and its cosmopolitan nature means it is blessed with an incredible array of excellent eateries. With all those people (the official figures say 21.1 million live in Greater São Paulo), the city also has a very active dating scene. If you’re in SP and looking for somewhere to take your best guy or gal, here is a selection of some of the city’s most romantic restaurants.
While São Paulo can be a bit of a concrete jungle, there is beauty to be found in this sprawling man-made metropolis. The best way to experience this for yourself is at a romantic dinner at one of the city’s exquisite and stunning rooftop restaurants. Terraço Itália, at the top of a 46-storey skyscraper in São Paulo’s historic center, is top of this list. The food is top-notch, with divine risotti and mouth-watering seafood dishes, and the view is out of this world.
The Hotel Unique, deep in the swanky neighborhood of Jardins and a couple of blocks from Ibirapuera Park, is one of São Paulo’s most popular and stunning hotels. On the top floor, there is the Skye Restaurant and Bar, which offers an incredible view of the gigantic city around you. The menu is designed by French chef Emmanuel Bassoleil, and after the meal, diners can head out to the beautiful roof terrace, complete with a stylish sunken pool.
Hidden down a tight alleyway in the financial district of Vila Olimpia, Ruella is a beautifully designed restaurant which serves up excellent French cuisine in a truly romantic environment. The dining room is reminiscent of a tiny village in the south of France, guaranteed to impress your date. Ruella has since expanded, opening two new addresses in Pinheiros and Jardins, both successfully recreating the intimate atmosphere of the original.
Another of São Paulo’s rooftop venues, The View is located on the top floor of the Transamérica Hotel, only one block from the busy Paulista Avenue. As the name suggests, the vista is the biggest selling point. Being situated in the highest region of the city, diners can look out onto the city below and its seemingly endless blanket of high-rise buildings. While traditionally known as a bar, The View also has a restaurant serving traditional and well-executed French and Italian cuisine. They also offer a three-course set “Romantic Dinner” menu, which must be reserved in advance.
Era uma vez um Chalézinho (“Once upon a time in a Little Chalet”) is one of the first places to be mentioned when the topic is romantic restaurants in São Paulo. With an interior designed to look like a quaint Swiss chalet, it’s a cheaper alternative to a skiing weekend in the Alps. They serve good Alpine cuisine, as well as (of course) fondue and raclette. Set menus include the “Premium Experience”, which comprises all-you-can-eat meat, cheese and chocolate fondues.
In the upmarket neighborhood of Moema is La Nonna di Lucca, one of São Paulo’s most popular Italian restaurants. The décor is intimate and cozy, especially during winter. The main event on the menu is the spaghetti al formaggio, tossed at the table inside a massive wheel of aged parmesan cheese. Though perhaps not the best for a first date, it’s an excellent choice for anniversaries and an all-round memorable experience.
It would be amiss to finish this list without at least one São Paulo pizzeria. The city is renowned worldwide for its excellent pizzas (locals say nowhere else on the planet can compare) and there are plenty of super-romantic restaurants for a slightly more affordable but no-less memorable date. Carlos, in Vila Madalena, is a relatively new option in the city, but the quality of its pizza and its charming dining room have made it an instant favorite.