sao paolo-taking sfiha out of oven copy

There are between 7 and 10 million Lebanese and Syrians in Brazil. And about 4 million of them are in Sao Paolo alone. As a result, Lebanese food is very familiar to Brazilians and specialities like sfiha (a term that covers both manaqish and fatayer) and kibbe have become part of the national culinary repertoire. And of course there are Lebanese restaurants galore. Some are good and some not so. I have now tried three and each is good in its own way even if they serve a different cuisine from the one I was brought up with. I guess it is because they have been in Brazil for several generations; and despite having preserved their culinary repertoire, serving unusual dishes like shish barak which is not normally found on restaurant menus, they have adapted and changed them slightly. A few days ago, I was taken by adorable Luiz Henrique Ligabue to Casa Garabed which loved, particularly the fact that it is in the garage and one bedroom of the owner’s home giving the restaurant a rather unusual feel: part bistrot and part home dining.

sao paolo-selection of sfiha copy

And I absolutely loved their sfiha even if it is different from both the manaqish and the fatayer I am used to. The dough is crisp and the toppings and fillings delicious except for the za’tar which was a little bitter.

sao paolo-cheese & bastirma sfiha copy

We also tried their Kibbeh bi Labniyeh which was also very good with the kibbeh very close to that in Lebanon although with a thicker shell and shaped in round balls the way they do it in Syria. The yoghurt sauce was a little too plain for my taste with not enough herbs but the yoghurt had a nice sour flavour as if it had been made at home.

sao paolo-kibbeh labniyeh copy

To finish we had one piece of baklava to share between us. It came drizzled with honey which would have raised cries of horror back in the home country! Definitely a place to go to if you are in Sao Paolo.

baklava copy

There is 9 comments on this post

  • As a Brazilian in south England, I miss having these choices on a Friday night.
    Will pass the tip to my family!

  • I love this restaurant!!! So special! I luv to go on sundays evenings, when its calm, and quiet and manage to sit in the top table, just to watch them make everything by hands and bring it fresh from the oven!

  • it is the best sfiha i have had until now in SP and if i lived there, i’d go there as often as you david 🙂

  • Have been to Brazil, have lots of family there..and sadly the sfihas and kibbehs are not so good.pretty awful infact ,and everywhere you go there they are…they have watered down/altered and butchered these exquisite dishes where the only thing authentic about them is the name .. almost everything I tried was off..my impression was the immigrants just want to make money and cut costs, and churn them out and have no interest in culinary culture

  • i think you are being unfair. they may have changed the recipes which is natural after so long away from their home countries but they are very attached to their culinary culture and their heritage in general and they have shared some of their dishes with the brazilians which is lovely. and you find pretty mediocre sfiha and fatayer in lebanon and syria as well 🙂

  • u have a point…..let me change that to culinary integrity then..churning them out is the taste I got in general..this often happens, I suppose anywhere, when u take a very specific,labor intensive cookery and try to mass produce it..

  • yes, it does. it is almost impossible to mass produce food and keep it tasting totally delicious 🙂

  • did you visit the são paulo market ? CIAGESP,

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