São Paulo, Brazil
A few words on the chef: Named both Latin America’s and World’s Best Female Chef in 2014, Helena Rizzo is one of Brazil’s best-known chefs, as well as a mentor on culinary TV show The Taste Brasil. In 2015 she brought out a cookbook, Maní, with her former restaurant partner Daniel Redondo, featuring some of the restaurant's most popular recipes, as well as forewords written by Joan Roca and Alex Atala. São Paulo natives, or paulistas, and gastro-tourists flock here to try exquisite dishes with a Brazilian twist.
What’s in the name? Maní was named after the indigenous Brazilian God, a beautiful young woman who, legend has it, died mysteriously and was later reincarnated in the form of plants. Mani-Oca (manioc) means ‘house of Maní’ in the Tupi language.
What’s the dining space like? The restaurant is set in a quaint little former house with large wooden doors in São Paulo’s leafy Jardim Paulistano suburb.
Typical dishes: Foie gras ‘bonbons’ with Brazilian guava paste and Port wine or black tucupi-lacquered catch of the day with cabbage, mustard greens and pear.
Where to sit: Ask for a table in the tree-lined outdoor courtyard, or sit inside for a glimpse of the dynamic kitchen team in action.