What I ate | Sea Street Food at Paru – Santos, Sao Paulo

I am back in my hometown Santos this month, and besides spending some quality time with family and friends, I do like to eat out when I am here. For my luck, Santos has some of the best food you can go for in São Paulo.

And if you are by the sea, you can’t skip eating seafood and fish. One of the places to visit in the city is Paru, restaurant of the Chef Dario Costa, a well-known Masterchef Brazil contestant, and winner of Mestre do Sabor– another popular food competition on telly. I am a big fan of his food and have tried his food before.

What is Paru? 

Paru – a sea street food restaurant – is his 4th (or 5th) gastronomic adventure. Yep. As you can imagine, Chef Dario’s expertise is seafood and fish, but he works with what he calls Effective cuisine.

Placed on the mezzanine floor (a kind of lower balcony) of the local Fish Market, Paru is a kind of seafood restaurant, with informal food and a short menu, based on sandwiches (there is even a hot dog but with seafood sausage), portions, grilled fish, and seafood.

I paid a visit to the restaurant last week, with the idea that I would find what I have pictured – an unpretentious place where family and friends go to eat creative and tasty food made with the fresh and best ingredients that we can find in the sea.

It’s also a place that you can visit after or before visiting the local fish market – meaning, no need to dress up for the occasion.

The building was recently inaugurated in 2020, as a new home to the old fish market nearby dating back to 1982.

As soon as you enter it, you will find several boards on the walls displaying menus for drinks and food. It can be a bit confusing to understand how it works, so it is better to ask for some help if you feel lost. Well, I did.

But that was my fault. It works just exactly like you do when you ask for a fast-food meal in the shopping centre, right?

It was easy to find a table, despite hearing it was incredibly packed sometimes. It was also quite quick to make our order and pay for the drinks.

What did I eat? 

I got the menu and felt tempted to ask for a seafood plate but ended up going for the grilled fish of the day that comes with farofa (typical Brazilian side made of fried manioc flour) and vinaigrette. The fish was cooked to perfection and comes in the right size portion.  And it was delicious.

I just found it particularly difficult to eat it with a plastic knife and fork. But I loved the fact the fish is served with its head still on it.

Something that is quite common in Brazilian restaurants but may be a bit weird for British people that don’t live nearby the seaside. The farofa and vinaigrette were delicious too.

My friend chose a gorgeous Shrimp roll that comes with some homemade chips. The sandwich is packed with shrimp and herb mayo. She loved the fact it is served in homemade bread. I had a bite of it, and it was absolutely delicious indeed.

By the way, the concept of “fast food of the sea” works quite well here. Not only for its modest space to eat with spacious tables and laid-back serving when you ask for the food, pay for it before, grab it, eat, and dispose of it. Just like you do when you ask for your fast-food meal in a shopping centre, right?

But also, for its menu with a lot of bits to go for and the presentation is quite gorgeous too.

What did I drink?


For drinks, I was quite curious about their Moscow Mule, and my friend got some beer which is perfect with seafood. And yes, the drinks were served in paper cups, but it didn’t make it less tasty. We loved the vibe and Paru is definitely a great addition to the city.

You can visit the fish market and end up checking the latest Eduardo Kobra’s graffiti mural right in front of it. Don’t be scared if you notice the presence of many herons in front of the market.

They are obviously trying their luck to catch a free fish but also became a tourist attraction in the market. They are considered a symbol of the city and you will see a lot of them around. Overall, it is worth it to eat at Paru – especially if you are looking for authentic and fresh food that comes from the sea.

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Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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