São Paulo, Brazil
What makes it special: A Casa do Porco (House of the Pig in Portuguese) is a celebration of pork in myriad forms. At a farm in his hometown of São José do Rio Pardo in São Paulo state, Jefferson Rueda rears local pigs on a natural diet of whey and vegetables. After slaughter in his own slaughterhouse, the chef then makes use of every part of the animal in inventive dishes such as pork jowl sushi and homemade blood sausage. The atmosphere is more fun than fine dining, with a main room adorned with miniature pigs, colourful décor and interesting artefacts from the chef’s travels.
The tasting menu: Guests can go for pork-based à la carte or even takeaway sandwiches from the fast-food window, but those who wait in line for this no-reservations restaurant should order the O Porco É (Pork is…) degustation. It includes Rueda’s signature pork tartare and crispy pancetta crackling with guava jam as well as the Porco San Zé main course and a version of his wife Janaina’s signature feijoada stew.
About the chef: Starting out as a butcher, Rueda made his name at Italian restaurant Pomodoro in São Paulo, before moving on to Attimo, which entered Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants at No.32 in 2013. He gained international experience at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and opened A Casa do Porco in 2015.
Value for money: Community-focused husband-and-wife team Jefferson and Janaina Rueda are on a mission to make their restaurants accessible to all, and a 10-course tasting menu here costs around $33. On the à la carte menu, the showstopping Porco San Zé main course comes in at just $13 and is a complete meal of crispy pork belly, beans, cabbage and banana.
Other ventures: The Ruedas have concentrated their family of restaurants in a small corner of downtown São Paulo, so diners can hop across the road for a casual hotdog at the Hot Pork kiosk or an ice cream at Sorveteria do Centro. For a more laidback dinner with superlative cocktails, there’s also Janaina’s Bar da Dona Onça.