Sporting scarlet leather banquettes and a casually urbane New York–like vibe, the Ritz (Alameda França 1088, Cerqueira César, tel. 11/3062-5830, noon–3 p.m. and 8 p.m.–1 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 1 p.m.–1 a.m. Sat.–Sun., R$15–25) has long been a favorite haunt of Sampa ’s art, fashion, and gay and lesbian crowd, who swear by its gourmet diner fare. Aside from inventive salads and pastas, the star of the menu is the hamburger (charbroiled over volcanic rocks) served with rice balls and garnished with horseradish, hollandaise, and spicy tamarind sauces.
Figueira Rubaiyat (Rua Haddock Lobo 1738, Jardim Paulista, tel. 11/3063-3888, www.rubaiyat.com.br , noon–3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.–12:30 a.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–12:30 a.m. Sat.–Sun., R$45–85) is owned by the Rubaiyat restaurant chain, which is renowned for its succulent cuts of fine beef. The figueira refers to the immense 80-year-old fig tree that spreads its great limbs throughout much of this beautiful restaurant. Such a bewitching setting would seem to be a hard act to follow, but the food doesn’t disappoint. Although the menu features all the delectable meats of its Rubaiyat siblings, the specialty here is fish and seafood. The signature dish is the caixote marinho: a reimagined paella cooked in a custom-made brick oven.