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Monocle are shifting their attention to São Paulo.

Nine months after the magazine wrote a special section about Rio de Janeiro, two writers came to South America’s biggest city to anchor a similar section.

I’ve written a few stories for the Monocolumn from São Paulo, this about the floods that besieged the city in January and this about the city’s expanding metro system.

And I got involved with the special section last week, writing reviews on the best bars and restaurants, suggesting top shops and hot chefs and reviewing some of the most important businesses in the city.

The format will be similar to that of the Rio section and I am covering much of the same topics.

Choosing restaurants was made easier because I’d done a similar thing last year for the Wall Street Journal. I hung out with Veja’s Restauranteur of the Year Paulo Barroso de Barros, the chef and owner at Due Cuochi, and we visited his 10 favourite restaurants (see my blog here with links to the Journal piece).

I am also writing about Embraer, which I’ve covered a few times recently for the Financial Times, including this piece for their Aerospace report.

And of course, this being Brazil, there’s an obligatory piece about football, which is always easy, and a pleasure, to cover.

The section is scheduled to come out in a couple of months.

When he chose his best restaurants in SP for my Wall Street Journal piece, top chef Paulo Barroso de Barros said he used just one criteria: the quality of the food.

And sure enough the food in each of the restaurants we went to was absolutely first class. The carne seca in Dalva e Dito (see photo right) was the best carne seca I’ve ever tasted and the duck with truffled-flavoured mashed potatoes in Ici Bistro was amazing.

Unfortunately, I can’t afford to eat in most of the places he chose. And not being such a foodie, I also rate ambience and location high when choosing a place to eat.

So, as an alternative to Paulo’s choices, here are three of my favourite restaurants in Sampa.

La Frontera is top of my list for many reasons. It’s spacious and airy and classy, with a beautiful but understated décor. The food is good but not too expensive and it’s an equally appropriate spot for lunch and dinner. It’s also within walking distance of my home (it’s close to both Av Paulista and the Centro).

There are many reasons not to like Fuad Grill. The bar-restaurant in Santa Cecilia is a glorified pavement, with plastic tables, tacky pictures of owner Fuad embracing local politicians and a posse of slow and charmless waiters. The meat, though, is fantastic from the sizzling chops to the wild boar to the sliced picanha in herbs.

Rascal is sometimes described as a fast food joint but it is a million miles away from McDonalds. It’s a real restaurant but with a salad bar and pizza and pasta always ready to serve. The salad bar does it for me, with loads of grilled vegetables and seafood (including salmon). The lunch offer is 42 reais for unlimited salad and a pizza or pasta. Get the salad and order a pizza to go.

The special Wall Street Journal supplement I was working on is published today with 11 stories about Brazil.

I wrote two pieces, the first one about the 10 best restaurants in the city, according to Veja’s Restauranteur of the Year Paulo Barroso de Barros.

The second piece is a list of 11 of the most interesting events taking place in Brazil this year.

The whole package is available online here.

I posted recently about writing two pieces for the Wall Street Journal. See that post here.

Well, the special Brazil supplement containing my articles and several others will be published on Monday and should be available at the Wall Street Journal site. I’m not sure yet if it will be accessible as some of the Journal’s site is pay per view.

The restauranteur featured is Paulo Barroso de Barros. A top man with some interesting choices for his Top 10 restaurants in São Paulo. I’ll post the Top 10 here on Monday, along with links to the two pieces.

Before I head home for a short visit, I spent a few days working for the Wall Street Journal. It’s my first time working for Rupert Murdoch’s esteemed organ.

I’ve to write two stories before getting on the plane, both for a special Brazil section. The Journal is, I believe, starting to pump out the kind of money-making sections that have been a stock in trade at the Financial Times.

My first piece is a simple one detailing 10 events not to be missed in Brazil this year. The second was more fun and is not unlike the piece I wrote for Monocle about Rio’s Best 10 Bars. I am heading out with one of São Paulo’s coolest young chefs to visit his Top 10 restaurants. (Actually, we’ll only have time to visit half that number but the list will be 10.)

It’ll be no suprise to anyone that we’ll start at D.O.M. Run by Alex Atala, the rock star of Brazil’s culinary scene, D.O.M. has gathered dozens of awards over the last few years.

Does that mean the chef showing me around is Alex Atala? Or is it another of the Brazilian generation of tattoo-ed Jamie/Gordon/Marco-Pierres emulators?

Will Brasil a Gosto make the list? Will there be more Italians than Japanese? How many churrascarias will be there?

I won’t give the game away yet. All will be revealed…

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