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Best Restaurants in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for 2024

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2 weeks ago

Belo Horizonte often gets overlooked by visitors to Brazil. Sadly for Béaga (Beh-aga) as it’s lovingly known, it can’t compete with Rio de Janeiro or Recife for beaches or iconic landscapes. For most visitors, Belo Horizonte is simply the closest major gateway to the stunning colonial town of Ouro Preto (which should be on every Brazil travel itinerary).

However, if you’re traveling through Brazil, the country’s sixth largest city is worth your time. In many ways, Belo Horizonte is the ideal city for a deeper understanding of Brazilian urban culture: gargantuan, complex and yet without global status or foreign visitors.

Beyond having countless things to do (including a unique architecture district), Belo Horizonte is home to one of Brazil’s best dining scenes – rivalling the trendy eateries of Ipanema and the glitzy restaurants of São Paulo. With that, here are our best restaurants in Belo Horizonte for this year.

Coffee and Brunch

A Pão de Quiejeria

You’ll often hear that the best pão de queijo (cheese bread) in Brazil comes from Belo Horizonte, the home of Brazilian cheese. And without a doubt, the best pão de quejo in Belo Horizonte can be found at A Pão de Quijeria. With locations in both upmarket Savassi and the Mercado Novo, this is the ideal place to pick up pão de quejo sandwiches, or breakfast platters.

I personally prefer the Savassi location because of its outdoor, streetside dining. And because, quite frankly, there are too many other delicious things to keep one busy in the Mercado Novo.

Magri Café

On the top floor of the Mercado Novo is my favorite café in Belo Horizonte. It’s small, nondescript and doesn’t offer much more than coffee. But as you’d expect, the beans are masterfully roasted, there are milk alternatives (a rarity in Brazil) and lots of seating to people watch the hipsters of Belo Horizonte in action.

Lunch and dinner

In our recommendations, we always try to focus on up-and-coming restaurants and unique eating experiences. In saying that, there are a number of establishment Mineiro-style restuarants in Belo Horizonte which are well worth your time. Some of our favorites include: Xapuri, Dona Lucinha and Maria das Tranças.

Café com Letras

Easily one of trendy Savassi’s ‘it restaurants’, this bookstore-cum-restaurant features a nightly DJ, Gaudi-esque mosaics and some of the friendliest staff in Brazil.

If you’re lucky enough to get a table, the menu at Café com Letras offers a range of pan-Brazilian options, with everything from mushroom crepes to salmon and risotto. If you’re just after something light, the tapioca dadinhos are always a hit. The lunch menu of the day is also usually a good bet.

Cuzinha Tupis

If you only eat at one restaurant on this list, make it Cuzinha Tupis. In my opinion, chef Henrique Gilberto’s star restaurant will likely be one of the best meals you eat in Brazil.

Set in the Mercado Novo (you’ll quickly realise that this is the heart of Béaga dining), during the week Cuzinha Tupis offers lunch from 11:30 am to 3 pm and dinner from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. On the weekends, their hours often change and you’ll want to check their Instagram.

If you’re traveling on a budget, the daily lunch menu offers an excellent value, high-quality lunch. The menu changes daily, but they announce it in the morning on Instagram and will always have a vegetarian option.

Despite the fame and aura surrounding this restaurant, don’t expect some kind of white tablecloth fine dining establishment. Cuzinha Tupis is very much a refined market experience, with kitchen-side stools and beer on tap.

Glouton

For those seeking the finest dining in Belo Horizonte, look no further than Glouton. The guiding ethos of Glouton is that no ingredient is better than a local ingredient – meaning this is one of the best Belo Horizonte restaurants in the truest sense. A self-styled fusion restaurant, Glouton synthesiszs the best of Minheiro and indigenous Brazilian produce with the flavors of Europe, Brazil and West Africa.

In case it wasn’t obvious yet, I’m a big fan of Minheiro cheese. Glouton’s Minas cheese pastille with honey is worth visiting this restaurant alone. Glouton is extremely popular and you’ll want to make sure to reserve well in advance.

Yan Shan Zay

I may be a little biased, but I can’t be the only one who sometimes craves high-quality Asian food. And I also can’t be the only vegetarian navigating Brazilian barbecue culture. Yan Shan Zay hits both those boxes, offering Belo Horizonte’s very own Taiwanese-style vegetarian buffet.

The buffet is extensive with many classic Taiwanese staples, dumplings, sushi and, best of all, vegetarian takes on Brazilian classics. If you feel that you’ve missed out on classic Brazilian dishes like feijoada (the classic Brazilian meal and bean stew). Best of all, this family-run team is so incredibly helpful. As you debate what to choose, the family will keep coming out with toothpicks full of taste testers to help you decide!

Something sweet

Companhia Mineira de Picolé

If you’ve eaten at any of the best restaurants in Belo Horizonte’s Mercado Novo, you’re probably going to need something sweet to wash it down.

This small popsicle stand offers some incredible homemade style ice cream sticks. You’ll find a good split between creamy and lactose-free options. Best of all, Companhia Mineira de Picolé offers a number of flavors reflecting the best of Brazilian cuisine. Some of my favorites include: brigadeiro, caiprinha and pineapple with coconut.


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