I can’t deny the excitement of coming to Santos every year is also related to the fact there is always a new restaurant, café or bar to brag about here. Brazil, as you may know, is already considered a “gourmet destination” and a paradise for a foodie pilgrimage.
For my luck, this famous city in the coastline of Sao Paulo is also a good spot to drink and eat well. I always thought that nothing can’t beat the sea breeze and still warm temperatures of a Brazilian springtime by the beach, anyways.
We genuinely like being outside and it is also validated when talking about eating out.
This time, I was looking for perfect places to go for a happy hour with friends. My partner in crime and friend, Vivian, took me to the buzzing Azevedo Sodré street at “Vila Rica”. Located between canals 2 and 3, this is the are of the city where you can find food emporiums, fashion boutiques, gorgeous cafes and a wicked bars and restaurants.
Before enjoying one drink or two, why not find a perfect spot for a brunch? Manuia Café seemed to be a good match. You know, behind a good coffee shop, there is always someone with a creative concept and idea to stand out.
Manuia is already well-known for its famous chocolate brownie – which I didn’t try yet.
To me, it’s a coffee shop full of charm, where you can chill playing a board game, or invite your friends for a Feijoada or eat the cake of the day. Cakes that are actually delicious indeed. I have been there twice now, and I can’t wait to have another excuse to pop around it.
First impressions: the cosiest space with the friendliest staff ever. I felt at home. Not a surprise that we spent so much time there, both times I have been there.
If you’re a sweet tooth, ask for the triple chocolate cake or the Indian carrot cake with a gorgeous cup of salted caramel coffee. I guarantee no regrets. It’s total heaven on earth!
If you’re looking for a quiet place to work, ask for your coffee in the Hario V60 coffee brew method while enjoying the people-watching.
Manuia serves originality. I have the pleasure to have a tour of the space that also offers workshops and other cultural events. It’s not only becoming a gem of Azevedo Sodré, but also a reference for coffee shops in Santos.
After cakes and coffee, it was time for the drinks – of course. We just needed to walk a few metres to find Arapuka Bar. Apparently, it’s a place for a gin and tonic. Oh yes, gin is also a big thing in Brazil now and served during happy hours – which is more popular than ever.
Arapuka does a great job when combines usually Brazilian flavours with Dry gin. We were curious and adventurous and asked for the Pitaya Rosa – with pitaya cream, lemon, gin and tonic and a Triple T – with tangerine, Seager’s gin and tonic.
Then we tried the Arapuka – with watermelon, watermelon syrup, gin and tonic. Our last choice was the Classic one with lime, rosemary, juniper, gin and tonic. All gins were Seagers – which I never tried before it’s a London Dry that is not the strongest gin ever, but it’s quite affordable and popular in Brazil. They also serve Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater and Gordons.
You can ask for your favourite G&T for a quite affordable price from Tuesday to Sunday – from 5 pm to 8 pm. It seemed too good to be true.
I like its modern decor, which neon signs and contemporary art spread all over the place. It’s young and vibrant. It seems to be a successful spot for girls’ meetings.
Food is also something. I have confessed that I was curious about the mushroom croquettes – made with shimeji and Parmesan cheese. It’s more like a fried bite and it was a bit salty for our taste.
However, the Sticks of Tapioca with curd cheese served with a strawberry and chilli jam was sensational. Loved it to bits. It’s definitely an easy place to find vegetarian bites. But both portions do the trick.
I like the vibe, food and drinks. But after 8 pm it becomes more like a pit stop for people preparing to go out.
If you already read my blogs on What I Ate in Santos, you know I am a big fan of this place. It’s located next to my parent’s house and my friends and I adopted this restaurant and bar as one of our favourite points to drink and eat.
As a non-meat eater, I confess Bodegaia is not my favourite place to eat anymore. Food is gorgeous, I have no doubt. But there are not many options for vegans or vegetarians there.
But this is the perfect “boteco” to enjoy a typical caipirinha. That famous Brazilian drink that you heard so much about here before. Caipirinhas are a must-try at Bodegaia. They also nail a happy hour drink.
And if you are in doubt about what to ask first, I would recommend going straight for the Jaboticaba’s one made with coconut water (vodka or cachaça – the Brazilian rum). It’s unforgettable. And a great way of ending your night out.