São Paulo, Brazil
What makes it special: Sustainability is a buzz word throughout the restaurant world, but few Brazilian chefs match up to what 29-year-old César Costa has achieved since 2018 with his planet-friendly restaurant in São Paulo’s bohemian Vila Madalena neighbourhood. Here, the chef creates vegetable-centric dishes with organic local produce, cutting out plastic, composting all waste and using solar energy.
On the menu: Costa’s simple, seasonal à la carte uses ingredients from the south of São Paulo state like colourful courgettes, grilled okra with spices and red oxheart tomatoes with smoked aubergine. The homemade Corrutela bread is unmissable, as is the île flottante, a creative adaptation of the French ‘floating islands’ recipe, made with jenipapo, a Brazilian fruit that turns the dish a deep blue colour.
About the chef: Raised in Piracicaba in the state of São Paulo with parents who kept chickens and grew everything from herbs to coffee on a small patch of land, Costa was immersed in fresh ingredients from a young age. After stints at Brazilian restaurants including D.O.M. and Remanso do Bosque, Costa worked under the legendary Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, and later at Manfreds with Relae chef Christian Puglisi, both of whom shaped his commitment to environmentally friendly dining.
The vibe: Everything about Corrutela is minimalist, from the industrial-chic interior with exposed ceiling pipes to the silver composting machine in the entranceway. The restaurant attracts a young, eco-conscious clientele, who enjoy cocktails at the bar before learning about the sustainability approach from the chefs in Costa’s open kitchen.