Cantina Nipolitana

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Italian food in Sao Paulo? Sure, why not. But, you can expect it to have a bit of a Brazilian flare. Bratalian? Whatever you call it, it’s going to be delicious if you’re getting it from Cantina Nipolitana in Jardins, São Paulo. 

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Inside, you feel like you’re really in a family run Italian restaurant. No flare, no frills, just simplicity with a focus on the food. To start, the servers will walk around offering a Bread Basket with olives, tapenade, and eggplant. It’s optional, since they charge for this, it’s not complimentary. But, I highly suggest you get it. It’s only a few dollars per person, and well worth it. The tapenade and eggplant are especially delicious and the bread is light and pillowy. 

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For my drink, I ordered a Caipirinha Pinga Especial ou de Pisco (cachaca, lime, Pisco). This drink was awesome. You start to feel a buzz after a few sips. That’s how you know it’s good, right? Caipirinhas are very traditional, but one with Pisco was extra special. 

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For my entree, I ordered the Truta com legumes (trout, mixed vegetables, rice, Nipolitana potatoes). This dish was amazing. They filleted the fish right in front of me, which, is always great. It was so tender and light, it was some of the best trout, if not fish in general, that I’ve had in a while. The veggies were nice, they’re served this way as a standard mixed vegetable in Brazil. The potatoes were pretty special here too, they reminded me almost of a hush puppy, crispy, yet light on the outside and creamy on the inside. 

The Shorts:
Name: Cantina Nipolitana
Location: Alameda Campinas, 680 – Jardins, São Paulo, Brazil
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely. Everything here was delicious, drink included.
Would I recommend it? For sure. They have an array of dishes, something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed. 

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Bagatelle São Paulo

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So, passing a very inviting restaurant patio, and looking for somewhere nice to have lunch, we were sold on the patio alone. Not even realizing the name of the restaurant, it wasn’t until we were handed menus that read “Bagatelle” that I realized why I felt so at home, as if I were back in NYC. Bagatelle has locations from LA to St Tropez, and also Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo. 

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Trendy, and with a bit of an upscale vibe, they really do an excellent job here from service, to presentation, to food. To start, we ordered their White Sangria. It was light, refreshing, and had a nice crispness and sweetness from the fruits.

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Then, you’re brought some bread. But not just a standard bread basket, lovely, fresh French Bread with spreads (salted butter, pate, tapenade). The bread was crunchy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. I especially loved the tapenade with this. 

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For lunch, they offer a prix fixe option for an extremely affordable price of 45 R (only about $20). For my appetizer, I had a Couscous Salad. This was amazing. It was light and delicate, yet the perfect starting portion. The couscous was flavorful and tender, complimented by the freshness and crispness of the lettuce.  

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For my entree, I had the Peche du Jour (Red Snapper, zucchini carpaccio, zucchini chips). This was incredible. First off, I was really surprised by the generous portion size of the Red Snapper. Did I mention that all of this (including the dessert I’ll discuss later) was only $20? The fish was lightly fried on the outside, giving it a savory, light crunch on the outside. Inside, it was light and flakey with excellent flavor. I really enjoyed the zucchini-two-ways here too. You get the fresh version, thinly sliced, and then the crisp, crunchy, salted zucchini chips.

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Then, for dessert, I had their Cheescake a la Banane (banana cheesecake, ginger crust, banana brûlée, banana anglaise). This dessert was bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I know, old song, but this was seriously an incredible piece of cake. The cheesecake itself was rich, creamy, with the perfect density. There was an excellent banana flavor that came through, enhanced too from the compliments of the brûlée and anglaise. Not to mention that the crust was buttery and delicious. 

The Shorts:
Name: Bagatelle
Location: R. Father John Manuel, 950 – Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Long and Short: Would I go back? In a New York Minute. I mean, a Sao Paulo minute? Doesn’t have the same kind of ring, but, just like its NYC counterpart, I would absolutely return. 
Would I recommend it? Without a doubt. Get yourself over to that patio and enjoy one of the most delightful lunches al fresco.