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Alberto Landgraf

Alberto Landgraf

Photo by André Vieira

As host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil is hotter than ever. For those lucky enough to get there, know that Brazilian cuisine isn’t all about grilled meat, beans and rice.

Nearly 15 years ago, São Paulo-based chef Alex Atala opened restaurant D.O.M., putting a Brazilian twist on European fine-dining. Diners went crazy for it, and so did critics: It’s considered the best restaurant in South America. With that came an onslaught of talented chefs opening some of the planet’s most refined and interesting restaurants.

Currently, Epice, located in São Paulo’s Jardins District, garners all the buzz. Run by English major-turned-chef Alberto Landgraf, the modern bistro serves what the chef calls “naturalist Brazilian” fare. Landgraf often incorporates elements from the rain forest into his cuisine.

Epice’s most beloved dishes include cured mackerel served with lemon purée; pig skin with tucupi (a traditional Brazilian sauce made from manioc root, found in the Amazon jungle) and red onions with tapioca and fermented cream.

“One local food critic gave the best description for our food,” says Landgraf. “It’s very complicated to come up with, but rather easy to assimilate.”

Molly Mogren

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