Image via Biyou'z Instagram.

8 African Restaurants You Need to Visit in São Paulo

Here are some of the best restaurants in Brazil's most "African city."

São Paulo is the African capital of Brazil. This title used to be reserved for Salvador, Bahia Brazil's blackest and most culturally African city. But in 2008, thousands of Africans began to move to São Paulo in search of economic prosperity. Europe was in the middle of an economic recession and Brazil's open doors and booming economy proved to be too much of a temptation. Those immigrants brought with them their families, language and of course food.

Most of São Paulo's new African immigrants are from Nigeria, Senegal, and Congo. Their presence is most visible in the neighborhood of República in the center of São Paulo. In the late 00's and early 2010's West African casual restaurants began to pop up in this neighborhood. Their prices reflected their clientele: immigrants looking for a cheap home-cooked meal. As Brazilians began to discover this authentic African food, some of these restaurants became media darlings and their prices increased along with their popularity. But Africans (and non-Africans on a budget) aren't complaining. There is always a new restaurant offering cheap, tasty and filling African dishes. Thieb (a tomato-based stew served over rice), mafé (peanut stew served over rice) and n'dolé (nuts, Ironweeds, and meat) are the most popular dishes.

With its strong flavors and spiciness, West African food is not a big leap from Bahian food in the northeast of Brazil. And these days it's easier to find authentic West African in São Paulo than it is authentic Bahian food. So it is no surprise that African restaurants in São Paulo are becoming a destination for both black and white Brazilians. Most of the restaurants below call themselves African restaurants, but their best dishes always come from the homeland of the chef, whether it be Senegal, Cameroon or Nigeria.


Alameda Barão de Limeira, 19

Since opening in 2011, Biyou'Z has captured the tongues of Brazilians. The restaurant is helmed by a Cameroonian chef Melanito Biyouha and it offers every popular West African dish—Ndolé (its specialty), Thieb, Mafé, Yassa. When it opened in 2008, it originally served the local African community and served just four dishes. But after Cameroonian soccer fans discovered it during the 2014 World Cup, it gained wider popularity. Since then, Biyouha and her restaurant have been featured in every major Brazilian and international newspaper. The publicity has been a boom for all African restaurants in São Paulo. Although though the prices are far from being popular, the decor and food make up for it and it's sure to impress a man or woman on a date.


Av. Prof. Alfonso Bovero, 382

Does African vegan food exist? It does in São Paulo. Pitchou Luambo, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, settled in the city in 2010 when he fled the conflict in his home country. He started a new life in São Paulo as an actor, cultural producer, and French language teacher. After years of cooking his favorite Congolese dishes for his friends, he finally decided to open a small food stand serving vegan Congolese specialties. The most popular dishes are Ngombe, a gnocchi made of plantains and served with a Shimeji sauce, fufu, and Simba, a Congolese rice pilaf. Since opening in 2016 Congolinária has moved to a new physical space in Vila Madalena, one of São Paulo's trendiest neighborhoods.

Mama África La Bonne Bouffe

Rua Cantagalo 230

Mama África hasn't received as much traditional media attention as Biyou'Z, but it's a hit on social media and among local Brazilians. This is one of the few African restaurants that is not the center of São Paulo, and that has allowed the restaurant to develop a neighborhood clientele. Owner Chef Sam is Cameroonian and maintains very active Youtube and Instagram channels. Obviously the best dishes are the Cameroonian best dishes - Ndolé, Mafé, fufu and fried plantains. Some of Brazil's most famous black people have eaten at the restaurant—Nego do Borel, Preta Rara, Gabby Amarantos. And Chef Sam always posts their photos. He also makes everyone feel so at home that reviewers always vow to return. This is the only African restaurant that has iFood delivery.

Muena's Café

R. Rego Freitas, 570, região central, s/tel.

Angolan Kalengue Muena specializes in coffee from Africa that he brews and sells from a cart in the center of Rio de Janeiro. He prepares specialty coffee beans from his country, in a hot or cold version. The drink made with Mucua, the fruit of the baobab, which can be served as liquor or without alcohol.

Le Petit Village - Bar e Restaurante

Av Vieira de Carvalho, 184

Although Le Petit Village is just around the corner from Biyou´Z, its clientele is much different. Le Petit Village still attracts local Africans. With blue lights and dark lighting, the restaurant feels more like an African club than an African cultural experience, and that's a good thing. The restaurant and bar often host African entertainment at night.

La Lingueré

Av. Sao Joao, 563 Centro, Sao Paulo

La Lingueré is a Senegalese restaurant that specializes only in Senegalese food (Yes!). So there is every type of Thieb on the menu. Every plate on the menu is just 10 Reais ($2.70) and the servings are huge. That's a good enough reason to frequent this new African restaurant in the center of São Paulo.

Restaurante do Pastor

Barão de Limeira, 19, Centro

Restaurante do Pastor is run by a Nigerian man named Pastor. It's so new that there are no reviews, nor any mention of it on the Internet. But it exists as evidenced by the video below! Bitterleaf soup, Fufu and Red Sauce stew are on the menu. And for 15 reais ($4) a plate you can go home with leftovers. They even offer a free bottle of water for your meal.

Bonjour Brasil

Rua Lavapés, 202

This article is focused on African food, but there's some room for our brothers and sisters in the African Diaspora. Haitians moved to Brazil in mass after the 2010 earthquake. Bonjour Brasil is the only Haitian food restaurant in São Paulo. It was opened in 2016 by 36-year-old Jean René Veillard and it offers a daily all-you-can-eat buffet with Haitian food. One of the restaurant's specialties is dried meat with plantains, rice and salad. The restaurant is open for lunch and closes at 6pm.

Still from YouTube

Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

The Mirza-produced song sees both artists singing suggestively about their lovers. "Go go, go all the way," Dyo sings smoothly on the track's chorus.

Still from YouTube

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Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

Make sure to grab your tickets here and we'll see you on the dance floor!

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Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Sho Madjozi "John Cena"

The 19 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sho Madjozi, Odunsi, Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, Fuse ODG, Santi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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