Rock’n’roll, tattoos, and pans. That would be a good combination of words to start describing the chef Henrique Fogaça. He created a strong brand and identity that reaches several areas, such as gastronomy, music, and entertainment. Based in São Paulo, Fogaça runs the kitchen of a few restaurants in the city; he’s the vocalist of a hardcore band called Oitão, and he’s also one of the judges of MasterChef Brasil (along with the chefs Paola Carosella and Eric Jacquin).
I love to eat, and visiting the restaurants of one of the most famous chefs in Brazil was something that I was willing to do. Also, as a MasterChef fan, I could not miss the opportunity of trying Fogaça’s food. He runs the kitchen of Sal Gastronomia, Cão Véio, and Admiral’s Place, three different places full of personality. You can check them out below.
Obs: Henrique Fogaça is also the chef of the restaurant Jamile, which I have not visited yet, but I’m planning to. It will be on this list as soon as I go there!
Sal Gastronomia is a small and minimalist restaurant in the heart of São Paulo (close to Paulista Avenue), the ambiance is clean but comfy, you can see the skull – which is Fogaça’s symbol – on some details around the restaurant. There are only a few tables inside and some spots on the balcony available, and they get busy quickly. There are also some tables outside, at the entrance, but I wouldn’t recommend sitting there, the light is not so good (at night at least) and there’s nothing special about the ambiance. To have a full experience I’d say: Seat inside!
The chef values the use of good quality ingredients and defends the idea that food should not be a luxury item. To enjoy his delicious creations, you can choose the tasting menu (R$167 to R$308, depends on how many courses you choose); the executive lunch menu (R$56, includes appetizer, main course, and dessert); or the a la carte options (prices vary from R$54 to R$110). There’s also an appetizer menu (R$27 to R$48), and the desserts (R$17 to R$29). The food comes out of the kitchen pretty fast, and the service is good and polite.
My order: Lamb loin, mashed potatoes with two kinds of cheese (aligot), funghi and jabuticaba sauce; the Filet mignon medallion with brie risotto, herbs, and roti sauce.
Complaint: I only have one complaint regarding the food, the point of the meat was not the one I ordered.
Tip: GET. THERE. EARLY. Seriously, if you don’t have a reservation for dinner (which has to be made months in advance), you have to get there before the place opens – like at least 1h before. We got there at 7:20 pm (it opens at 8 pm), and there was already three tables in front of us. Result: 2h40 of waiting. You can call me crazy for waiting that long to dine, but I really wanted to eat there on that day – I had a coupon of two dishes for one that was about to expire, and that was my last chance to use it. The hostess arrives way before the place opens, to fill out the waiting list with the names of the hopeful people that will get there without a reservation (HELLO! ME!).
Address: Rua Minas Gerais 352 – Higienópolis, São Paulo
The name Cão Véio means “Old Dog” (cão = dog; véio = slang for old), and that gives you an idea of the theme of the place, the dog is the star. The main dishes are burgers and sandwiches, but they also serve some delicious appetizers (great to share with a small group of friends). Since 2016 they started offering a lunch menu with exclusive dishes – also some burgers, of course.
The names of the dishes are dog-related, such as Boxer, Bruto, Scooby Doo, Rottweiler, Cão Monstro (aka Monster Dog), and so on. All the sandwiches come with a small side of rustic fries, or fried yuca, or salad, which is great. The appetizer section is called Pra Roer, which means “To Gnaw,” and they have names like Dalmata and Bulldog Frances (aka French Bulldog). There’s also a light section called Cão Magro, which means “Skinny Dog.” The drinks menu is complete (includes national and imported products), with cocktails, beer, wine, and soft drinks.
With a casual vibe (just as a burger place + pub should be), Cão Véio is a nice spot to have a drink with friends and grab some comfort food. The prices vary, the appetizers can cost from R$22 to R$45, the burgers and sandwiches from R$30 to R$35. The drinks are mostly up to R$30, and the beers (small ones) start at R$15 (ish).
My order: Dogue Alemão; and X-Cordeiro.
Tip: Make a reservation or get there early in case you don’t have one. I tried to have dinner there twice without a reservation (during the weekend), and it was just impossible. After these two failed attempts I decided to make a reservation on a weekday. Just to guarantee that I was really going to eat. It worked! One hour later the place was packed; I’m glad I had my table.
Address: Rua João Moura 871 – Pinheiros, São Paulo
The Admiral’s Place is a sophisticated bar and restaurant located above Sal Gastronomia. Low lights, comfortable sofas, 20’s/30’s vibe, and a big distillates menu – think whiskey. There’s also a good variety of other drinks, like cocktails (R$28-R$42), wine, and beers (even one that carries the chef’s name, Fogaça), to please every drinker. The food menu is developed by Henrique Fogaça and it’s all about appetizers. I visited the Admiral’s Place while I was waiting for a table at Sal’s. I guess most people do that while they wait.
My order: Daiquiri.
Tip: According to the bartender, Thursday is the jazz night!
Address: Rua Minas Gerais 352 – Higienópolis, São Paulo
The prices presented here are from March of 2017 and the currency is Brazilian Real