São Paulo, Brazil
What it’s all about: A carnivore’s idea of heaven, A Casa do Porco means ‘House of the Pig’ in Portuguese, and with everything from crunchy chunks of pancetta crackling to pork tartare, it’s a true porcine pilgrimage, with all meat 100% Brazilian. In 2019, it debuted in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list at No.39.
About the chef: Born in the interior of São Paulo state, Rueda started out as a butcher in his hometown. He trained at a Brazilian offshoot of the Culinary Institute of America and worked at numerous top restaurants in São Paulo, later gaining experience at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. He was also known for his stint as head chef at Attimo, where he worked from 2011 to 2015, entering the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list at No.32 in 2013.
On the menu: An extensive list of pork-based options is divided into “eating with the hands” – pork jowl sushi, pork croquettes, blood sausage; “with a spoon” – a porky take on the Brazilian mocotó cow’s feet stew; “from the grill” – tongue and sausage; and “from the pig’s belly” – pork belly and pancetta crackling. There are also salads, egg dishes, pasta and rice options, and a mouth-watering list of cured hams.
To drink: To wash down all that meat, there’s a similarly vast beverage list with strong cocktail options including classics such as Negroni, Bloody Mary and New York Sour. There are also cachaças, bitters, whiskys, beers and vodkas.
Other ventures: In 2008, Rueda and his wife Janaina opened Bar da Dona Onça in São Paulo, where he still remains as a consultant. For her efforts uniting the country’s gastronomic community and feeding vulnerable communities, Janaina received the American Express Icon Award 2020 in Latin America.