It’s no secret that Brazilians love their meat (hello, churrasco!) but over the past 15 years of visiting my family in the city of Sao Paulo, I’ve been committed to seeking out restaurants that offer animal friendly options.
Here are four of my top picks:
1 | Fazenda Floresta Cafe —
I’m probably a little biased, but this cafe, run by my stepmom, Lu Fasano (who is basically the Brazilian version of Bethenny Frankel), has the best vegan sweet treats anywhere in the city. They’re so good that she actually received the award for the best chocolate in the entire mass that is Sao Paulo — and when you consider that it’s a city of 12 million people, you know she’s not messing around.
Whether you want a vegan gelato, a bar of vegan chocolate, or a slice of some warm vegan banana cake to go with the shop’s organic locally roasted coffee, you’ll leave with your sweet tooth satisfied until your next visit (which will probably be the following day).
2 | Sushimar Vegano —
Vegan sushi may sound like an oxymoron, but with the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan, Sao Paulo knows how to sushi right (and yes, even if it’s vegan). At this restaurant you have endless buffet style options in all of the traditional sushi offerings, but in a delectable array of non-traditional dishes.
It’s in one of the prettiest, walkable areas of Sao Paulo (known as the Jardins) so enjoy your sushi and then walk it off whilst taking in the beauty of the garden district afterwards.
3 | Cristal —
If you’ve spent more than a day in Brazil you know that Brazilians love pizza, and while it’s typically offered with meat, this pizzeria is more than happy to accommodate your vegan preferences. (Just make sure to say ‘obrigada.’) A personal favorite is their Diavoletti (hold the cheese and pepperoni, add extra onion).
If you’re visiting the city on a weekend, make sure to pop in on a Sunday night, which is pizza night for many Brazilians. You’ll be sure to get the full pizza experience, sans carne!
4 | Forneria —
I’ve been visiting this restaurant for years, and return for both the delectable menu and that only-to-be-experienced-in-Brazil warmth of the servers. If you’ve not yet tried a Guarana, this is the place to enjoy one with ice and an orange slice (basically the Brazilian version of something much better than Sprite) with one of their next-level salads. The San Pablo and Ficchi (without cheese) are my go-to vegan options. Should you wish to venture here for dinner, they have a variety of pasta options, all of which can be prepared without meat or cheese.
*Insider tip: if you’re wondering what to do after you take in some of the city’s best vegan dishes, head to the bar at the Fasano Hotel or the rooftop terrace at sunset at the Unique Hotel.
Jasmin Jenkins is an intuitive connector and community builder based in Los Angeles. Her family has been in Brazil for nearly 15 years, and she’s come to experience it as her adopted home. She was most recently the Head of Partnerships at THINX, and is currently consulting with mission driven startups. You can find her at The Class over The Standard.