Anyone who walks around Rua Carlos Weber, right in the heart of Vila Leopoldina, in the west of São Paulo, must have difficulty imagining that, just two decades ago, the neighborhood was different. Where today you can see bars, restaurants, cafes and lots of people walking along the sidewalks, before there were only large warehouses, many of them abandoned.
The scenario began to change in 1994, with the opening of the Villa-Lobos park, and gained extra strength with the opening of the mall of the same name, six years later. On the ride, came the large residential condominiums that repopulated the surroundings.
Even so, the neighborhood had a hard time attracting commercial houses. Marcia Marques, owner of the MariaLima restaurant, was one of the pioneers. She was already living in Vila Leopoldina when she opened the place, in 2004, and witnessed the transformation.
“I think we were the second establishment, just behind the Ritto pizzeria. I opened the restaurant because I wanted to have a nice place to have a cold beer close to home. It was a simple, shy neighborhood, with few buildings and many deactivated warehouses”, he recalls.
A partner of chef Paola Carosella at the La Guapa chain, which has had a unit in Vila Leopoldina for two years, Benny Goldenberg arrived shortly after Marcia. He moved there in 2009 and in 2011 he opened the Mangiare restaurant, which was open until last year.
“I bought an apartment in the first real estate boom in the neighborhood, I saw many buildings going up and I saw the opportunity to have a restaurant. The streets were cobbled. The clientele had many young couples with small children, only people from the neighborhood”, he recalls.
For decades, the only nerve center in Vila Leopoldina was the Companhia de Entrepostos e Armazéns Gerais do Estado de São Paulo, Ceagesp, inaugurated in 1969. Saturdays and Sundays, the place maintains a popular gastronomic space —from May to August, the main attraction is the Soup Festival.
But there is much more to discover in Vila Leopoldina. In recent years, the neighborhood has grown quite a bit. It gained bakeries, cafes, restaurants, bars and emporiums and attracted reputable chain units in the city, such as Bráz Elettrica, Dama, Saj and Rinconcito Peruano.
On sunny weekends, especially on Sundays, Rua Carlos Weber and its transversals are the points for those who walk, run or cycle in the vicinity of the park and take the opportunity to have a bite. Check out the highlights of the region below.
The menu of individual New York-style pizzas, to eat without cutlery, is the same as the other seven units. The vegan Cajupiry takes garlic, basil, mushrooms, red onion, vegan parmesan and cashew apple and costs R$39.
R. Carlos Weber, 576, tel. (11) 5555-2048, brazelettrica.com.br, Instagram @brazelettrica
The house hit is the Criminal: 140 g hamburger, American-style cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, artisanal pickles, bacon and house mayonnaise (R$ 35).
R. Nanuque, 595, tel. (11) 2659-7165, criminalburguer.com.br, Instagram @criminalburguer
Gastronomic Space Ceagesp
Until August 28, from Wednesday to Sunday, the Soup Festival operates at a single price: R$ 64.90 per person. The buffet includes breads, seasoned ricotta, roasted pepperoni, fried garlic and grated cheese all you want — antipasti, drinks and desserts are charged separately. The menu, updated weekly on the website, lists soups, broths and even fondue. Only onion soup is fixed on the menu.
Av. Doctor Gastão Vidigal, 1946, entrance through Gate 4, festivalceagesp.com.br
With its own micro-roasting, it works exclusively with specialty coffees, available in different extraction methods. Filtered in Hario V60, Chemex, Clever, Aeropress and French press cost between R$10 and R$11.
R. Guaipá, 186, WhatsApp (11) 91118-0025, Instagram @jcafesp
With an outdoor deck, chef Paola Carosella’s store sells 11 versions of empanadas, such as the nugget, stuffed with smoked bacon, mushrooms and cheese, and the vegan one, which has quinoa dough and stuffing with broccoli, pumpkin, zucchini and walnuts. -ask. Each one costs R$ 8.90.
R. Carlos Weber, 754, tel. (11) 3835-6008, laguapa.com.br, Instagram @laguapasp
From the typical cantineira cuisine, dishes like the filet mignon capelet with white sauce, gratin with parmesan (R$ 74) are available.
R. Carlos Weber, 594, tel. (11) 3644-3364, mamaggiore.com.br, Instagram @mamaggiore
One of the oldest in the neighborhood, it is famous for its half-moon mignon, a paillard stuffed with three cheeses, accompanied by leek risotto. The dish costs R$ 60.
R. Carlos Weber, 1490, tel. (11) 3645-0932, Instagram @marialima_restaurante
With 85 m² and 35 seats, the Confeitaria Dama store works inside the Mambo supermarket and has an exclusive menu, with pudding, quindim and brigadeirão (R$ 13.50 each slice). Common to the other units, carolinas (R$ 8.50 a unit) and donuts (R$ 75) have different fillings.
R. Aliança Liberal, 322, confeitariadama.com.br, Instagram @confeitariadama
Picanharia dos Amigos
The chain, born in Casa Verde, gained this branch in 2019. Meat and skewers are cooked on the grill, in front of the customers. Before the beef rib, which costs R$129 and is enough for two, the tradition is to order the portion of termite drumstick (R$49.90, with six units).
R. Guaipá, 1017, tel. (11) 3645-4586, picanhariadosamigos.com, Instagram @picanhariadosamigos
The chain of Peruvian chef Edgard Villar, with ten stores, specializes in recipes from his country. The ceviches, from R$43.90, are available in vegetarian, white fish, salmon and seafood versions.
R. Tripoli, 144, tel. (11) 2129-6002, rinconcitoperuano.com.br, Instagram @rinconcitoperuano
With eight units in Greater São Paulo, its specialty is Lebanese cuisine. In the cold, the b’labanie, curd soup with small kibbehs inside (R$65) is a hit.
R. Carlos Weber, 1512, tel. (11) 3037-7701 and 98033-1489, sajrestaurante.com.br, Instagram @sajrestaurante
Its highlights are healthy meals, with breads and smoothies for breakfast and closed menus for lunch. The snack of organic tofu seasoned with soy and ginger, carrots, herb pate and leaves on grain bread costs R$43.
R. Carlos Weber, 1622, tel. (11) 3628-8209, wheat.com.br, Instagram @biopadariawheat
I am currently a news writer for News Bulletin247 where I mostly cover sports news. I have always been interested in writing and it is something I am very passionate about. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.