It is no exaggeration to say that São Paulo is experiencing a “hamburger revolution.” Whether it is classic or gourmet, this popular symbol of North American culture is quickly climbing the culinary ladder in the city. Burger joints like General Prime Burger, MEATS, and Z Deli Sandwich Shop are winning an increasing number of fans thanks to their dedication to serving up premium ingredients, great-tasting sides, and innovative reinterpretations of the classics.
The popular blog Em Busca do Hambúrguer Perfeito, which has set its the mission to find the perfect hamburger in São Paulo, believes that innovation is at the heart of the matter. “General Prime Burger was the burger joint that finally led me to create this blog,” affirms the blog’s creator Fabrício Schibuola D’Abreu. What is his favorite burger? It would have to be the Jack Melted Cheddar: rump steak, crispy lettuce, juicy tomato, fried onion, bacon, topped off with a splash of Jack Daniel’s, and mixed with melted cheese. The smooth bourbon taste means that this one is strictly for the grown-ups!
Make sure you eyeball the milkshake menu too, which includes seven flavors all named after famous sites in the city: Mercadão (the municipal market), Ibirapuera (the huge central park), Augusta (the city’s party neighborhood), Masp and Pinacoteca (two of São Paulo’s biggest museums), Copan (an iconic downtown building), and Paulista Avenue (the city’s principal thoroughfare). The last two concoctions make use of a few unusual ingredients, such as chili peppers and syrups, and jellies made using beer! Once again, these are for adults only!
The blog also has a constantly updated ranking system of the best hamburger joints in the city, and at the top of the heap is Butcher’s Market and MEATS. According to Fabrício, these restaurants have been an “instant success” due to following the success of São Paulo’s more established burger joints, such as Chicohamburger, Tononho & Freitas, and Oregon, places that all make “hamburgers with an unmistakably São Paulo taste.”
Paulo Yoller, chef and partner at MEATS, is a big name in São Paulo due to the various roles he’s held at other successful restaurants in the city. However, it is his work at Butcher’s Market that has propelled him to stardom. Yoller, the chef locally known as the “bacon man” (he even has the ingredient tattooed on his arm), claims that he has “no idea what a gourmet hamburger is.” In his view, preparing the perfect burger is all in the cooking, and nothing else but perfection will do. One of his most popular creations is the interestingly named Hooligan, which contains a mixture of meats, cheddar cheese, gherkins, crispy bacon, and wasabi mayonnaise.
The new Z Deli Sandwich Shop is another gourmet hamburger joint on the up and up, and its signature dish is making it an increasingly popular spot with locals. Their burgers come cooked to perfection as standard, and the garnishes are always fresh.
There’s no doubt that this enlightening tour of São Paulo’s best hamburger restaurants has whet your appetite. The only thing left to do now is to discover your favorite!