On a prime-shopping street in Sao Paulo's Jardins district, in the shade of the towering Fasano Hotel, a sleek modernist eatery offers a cutting edge design and hip dining room for die-hard steak lovers. The façade of the building featurse heavy use of raw metals and natural wood that lend a futuristic-vibe. Having been to their conservative Rio-outpost, the restaurant's modern design and quirky dining room was rather unexpected but welcome. A lofty main room is laid in dark wood floors with high, retractable ceilings and walls that open during warmer months. A separate bar area offers a local watering hole for evening shoppers as well as diners waiting to be seated. While we usually cringe at any restaurant that has more than one or two locations, Esplanda Grill offers a one-off dining experience that is worth the additional visit.
A youthful waiter with stylish lochs welcomes diners with a two-handed selection of appetizers including warm breads, garlic olives and traditional yucca flour. The menu features Brazilian steakhouse specialties and hearty appetizers perfect for sharing. Meals begin with market fresh salads as well as small-plate seafood specialties like grilled octopus and calamari or jumbo shrimp cocktail. If you’re a vegetarian you’re probably in the wrong place, as main courses are a meaty symphony of kilo-sized fillets, porterhouses and double T-bones. Meats are presented on a signature iron grill, seared to perfection and normally on the rare side of medium. Desserts are a more predictable presentation of house cakes, ice creams and baked goods.
Far more fashionable and hip than it’s Rio-sibbling, dress-to-impress and try not to make your reservation before 11pm.