Before Alex Atala opened D.O.M. – Deo Optimus Maximus – which, for the benefit of any non-Latin speakers, means ‘God is greatest and best’– the dominant cuisine in high-end restaurants was French and Italian. Today, South American food and ingredients are creeping on to the top tables of gastronomy, not just in the continent from which it hails, but across the world, and Atala has had a major hand in this.
The pioneering chef is also part-historian and part-botanist thanks to his research trips with scientists and anthropologists deep into the Amazon to test potential ingredients for his menu. By doing so he has not only brought his country’s indigenous foodstuffs – many of which are unknown beyond its borders – to the fore, but has helped challenge the notion that familiarity and old-school sensibilities are the key to running a successful top-end establishment.
That’s not to say that the cooking at D.O.M. doesn’t share the same qualities as those of other restaurants on this list. Attention to detail and precise plating are hallmarks of Atala’s colourful creations, which still make use of a lot of classic cooking techniques. But it is in the overall make-up of the dishes that makes the restaurant stand out. Tambaqui ribs with tripe and sausage surrounded by vivid green broad beans, or prawns with mangarito, accompanied by a deep mauve yam, are just two examples of the vibrant dishes in the Brazilian’s extensive repertoire.
- Rua Barão de Capanema, 549 Jardins, São Paulo, Brazil
+55 11 3088 0761