Last night for dinner here in São Paulo, instead of a Churrascaria, Bruno suggested a pizza place he really likes. As he described it, I sorta didn't get the appeal, but as a good guest, I was up for whatever our host was proposing. Quite honestly, Bruno never gets it wrong, so I trust that there was something about the place that his description didn't relay. He said :
- It's in the middle of nowhere
- they don't have plates
- The don't have knives and forks either
- There's no table service
- You get your own drinks
- It's really expensive
- It only has valet parking
It turned out that he was right about every point, and it really was great.
He wasn't kidding about the "middle of nowhere" part. São Paulo is a massive city, and we actually drove outside of it. I was expecting a "Welcome To Argentina" sign at any moment. We turned off the main street (which really was a residential street with speedbumps) and went down a sidestreet with woods on one side and small houses on the other, up into more brush and woods, and there it was "A Tam da Pizza". After giving the car to the valet (!), we went into a large-ish building of 3 adjacent levels, like steps - the place was built on a hill - with standard tables and chairs. No place settings, but just a basket of napkins. No table service - you go down to the lowest level where two wood-fired ovens were in full swing, with one guy moving pizza in and out, and two people making. You literally told the pizza makers what you wanted, and then went and found yourself a drink. Really - bottles of liquor out on a table, a rack of wine bottles, and refrigerators of soda, water and beer (and chilled wines). You just took what you wanted, and wrote it down on a piece of paper you got from the pizza makers.
The menu was very simple. Each page was just a closeup of 1/2 a pizza, and a little poem about what was in it. (I have to take Bruno's word on it... the poem was in Portuguese). Gorgeous. The pizza eventually arrive - ok, so there is some table service - they bring you the pizza. Everyone just grabs a slice - the dough is thin and firm, and there's no need for plates or cutlery. It was phenomenal. We had two vegetarians with us, so were getting both veggie pizzas and meat. (How can a vegetarian actually get past immigration in this country? I don't think that there's a word for "vegetarian" here... "salad... it's what food eats...") All the pizzas were great - even the final "dessert pizza", which was banana, cinnamon and sugar baked until everything carmelized, and then drizzled with a touch of rum. Simply fantastic.