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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

Smokedeli Kosher, São Paulo, Brazil: A Tale of Two Delis

Smokedeli Kosher Delicatessens, São Paulo, Brazil

Smokedeli kosher resturant at the Hebraica Jewish Club in São Paulo, Brazil
Smokedeli kosher restaurant at the Hebraica Jewish Club in São Paulo, Brazil

While travelling in São Paulo, Brazil, I thought I would miss my New York Kosher Deli meat sandwiches. Much to my surprise, I found a kosher delicatessen with two locations in São Paulo. I speak of none other than Smokedeli Kosher restaurants.

“As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the fun and quirky slogans. "Matzoh Balls to the Wall" and "Home is Where the Challah Is" made me chuckle.”

Smokedeli - Hebraica

My first encounter was at the Smokedeli tucked away inside the prestigious Hebraica Jewish Club at R. Hungria, 1000. As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the fun and quirky slogans. "Matzoh Balls to the Wall" and "Home is Where the Challah Is" made me chuckle.

The decor took me straight to the streets of New York. It felt like I was in a classic New York kosher delicatessen. The menu was had an array of kosher favorites. Appetizers included chicken nuggets, falafel patties, and kibbeh stuffed with chumus. Some of the main dishes offered are grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, and steak. There are many mouthwatering sandwiches to choose from including pulled ribs, schnitzel, and roast beef.

Taking a recommendation from a fellow diner, I settled for a burger and fries. The hamburger was dressed with BBQ bourbon, purple onion and the house mayonnaise. My meal was perfectly cooked and if I closed my eyes, I would think I was back in New York City.

As I ate my meal, there were some kids running around near the restaurant in the Clube Hebraica, having fun as kids should do. Founded in the early 20th century, Clube Hebraica was established as a social and recreational center for the Jewish community in São Paulo. It was envisioned as a space where members could come together to celebrate Jewish culture, traditions, and heritage, all while enjoying various amenities.

Clube Hebraica offers a wide range of facilities, including sports courts, swimming pools, theaters, and event halls. These amenities cater to a variety of interests and age groups. The club is renowned for hosting an array of cultural events, including concerts, theatrical performances, lectures, and workshops. Many of these events highlight Jewish traditions, festivals, and holidays, ensuring that members remain connected to their roots.

Its emphasis on sports provides facilities and training for several sports, such as basketball, soccer, tennis, and swimming, among others. The club often competes in inter-club tournaments, representing the Jewish community of São Paulo.

Beyond leisure and recreation, Clube Hebraica is deeply involved in community outreach and philanthropy. The club often organizes charitable events, drives, and initiatives to support various causes, both within and outside the Jewish community.

Situated in the upscale Jardim Paulistano neighborhood, Clube Hebraica is in a prime location, making it easily accessible for members and visitors. While it caters primarily to the Jewish community, the club's doors are open to people from all backgrounds who appreciate its values, traditions, and offerings.

Smokedeli - Higienópolis

On a subsequent day of my trip, I found myself in the heart of the Higienópolis neighborhood, known for its high-end malls and diverse architecture. Since I had a nice experience at the first restaurant, I decided to try the second Smokedeli located at Rua Baronesa de Itu 375, right in this neighborhood.

Choosing a table outside, I poured over the menu. I decided on the pastrami sandwich. The meat was cured in spices for 30 days and smoked for 24 hours. It was served on brioche bread with pickles and mustard. I also enjoyed the crispy shell of the pastrami croquets accompanied by smoked mustard sauce. A side of fries made my meal complete.

Higienópolis is one of São Paulo's most traditional and charming neighborhoods. Higienópolis, which translates to "Hygienopolis" or "City of Hygiene," was developed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its name reflects the early urban planners' desire to create a clean, modern area, a refuge from the bustling city center.

One of the most distinctive aspects of Higienópolis is its architecture. As you stroll through its streets, you'll encounter a mix of traditional mansions, art deco buildings, and modern structures. The neighborhood is home to several heritage-listed buildings, illustrating the rich tapestry of its architectural history.

One of the neighborhood's most famous landmarks is the Shopping Pátio Higienópolis, a luxurious shopping mall with a variety of high-end stores, eateries, and entertainment options.

Generally considered one of São Paulo's safer neighborhoods, Higienópolis is often described as having a calm, almost European ambiance. Its tree-lined streets, historical mansions, and bustling cafes offer a blend of urban energy and tranquil retreat.

Higienópolis is also known for its significant Jewish community. Over the years, many synagogues and kosher establishments have opened here, adding to the area's diversity. The neighborhood is well-connected, with various metro stations and bus lines making it easy to navigate the city.

Higienópolis boasts several theaters, galleries, and cultural centers. The FAAP (Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado) is one such institution, known for its theater, museum, and important courses in the arts and communication. Higienópolis houses some renowned educational institutions. Aside from FAAP, there's the Mackenzie University, one of the oldest and most respected in Brazil.

The neighborhood is home to Praça Buenos Aires, a beautifully maintained park that serves as a relaxation spot for residents. Here, families, joggers, and visitors can enjoy lush greenery, sculptures, and even a library.

My deli experiences at both São Paulo’s Smokedelis were both positive. It was really nice to have a taste of home while being so far away. If you have a chance to visit either of these two great establishments, let me know about your experience there!


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