Choosing a place for eating out depends on the mood and
appetite. Appeasing the hunger after the beach, avoiding stove
and dirty dishes, requires an easy going hangout, airy, no
shirt needed. At night, strolling around in style with the
family almosts obliges the desmembering of a tasty pizza. If
the intention is a twosome errand, one finds a discreet and
cozy place hidden on a beach or in a quiet backstreet. Those
who can't live without a burger or beer and snacks, rely on
kiosks, bars and diners. There are fine options for everyone
on the northern shores. Check the alternatives in each town.
Eating out or munching at home, the northern shores are a
privileged place to guarantee excellent cuisine options. All
kinds of fish and seafood, an almost colonial styled
agriculture with homemade and tasty manioc and wheat flour,
enormous cattle herds in Caraguatatuba and towns up in the
sierra like Paraibuna and São Luiz do Paraitinga. Bean
plantations, fresh vegetables from small farms all around.
Health and flavour at will.
Old fashioned hospitality
When the region still had no outstanding restaurants like
today, the local Caiçaras and travelers carried their own
lunch on the long trips by canoe or on foot. In those times
they were received with coffee, bananas and affection.
Everyone knew each other, from Bertioga to Paraty. On the
trips by canoe, before the arrival of roads and tourism,
somebody was always the son of Mrs. Soandso or cousin of you
know whom .In that small world around the old northern shores,
the old habits of hospitality handed over from father to son
were followed and resulted in the present friendly and
professionalized reception by the hotels, campings and lodges
Concerned about not bothering others, the Caiçara carried his
own food. Since fridges were unknown, he used salt as the main
conservant for fish, basic item of his nourishment followed by
bananas and manioc or corn flour. His cuisine mixed portuguese
and native habits, with almost no influence from the
afro-americans. With the beginning of the cultivation of sugar
cane, there came the booze and the slaves with their african
recipes. By the way, Paraty became a synonym for booze (
The poet Oswald de Andrade once wrote: " At Princess
Isabels party, the Count D'Eu said: flour from Suruí, booze
from Paraty, tobacco from Baependí its eating, drinking,
smoking and stumbling "( Sorry, it doesn't rhyme in
White Man's Food
By the time of Brazils discovery the natives tasted the white
man's food. They didn't like it! According to Pero Vaz de
Caminha , two tupi indians were taken to the expeditions
flagship and received in person by Pedro Alvares Cabral,
Brazils official discoverer . They proved cooked fish, cookies
and "fartéis" (delicate sweets wrapped in wheat
dough), honey and dried figs. They ate almost nothing. When
they tasted something they immediately spat it out. They
didn't even liked the wine.
On the other hand, the Portuguese appreciated the shrimps that
they alreday knew,but never seen so big. With the implantation
of roads the regional habits changed a lot but are still
preserved in the more isolated communities The change of
habits also extinguished the "tanajura"or
"iça", a delicacy praised by our grandparents and
despised nowadays. The writer Monteiro Lobato once joked:
" The roasted içá is what in the Olympus was called
ambrosia ". (Believe it or not, "iça" and
"tanajura" are leaf-cutter ants !!)
Traditional dishes can be appreciated in the hoses of the old
local families and in the good "caiçara"
restaurants. Fish cooked blue, with bananas; shrimps "à
la paulistinha", showders and stews make everyone happy.
Sweets made with bananas, sophisticated icecreams, there's no
lack of variety in the northern shores rich cuisine and the
exotic flavours served by the international restaurants that
are sprinkled over the shores and cities downtowns.
The shellfish species embodies snails, oysters, clams
,mussels, squids and octopus although the latter don't have
shells. Thanks to the Fishing Institute in Ubatuba, the growth
of mussels was recovered. Based on the experience of the
Galician hatcheries in northern Spain, the biologists
developed a feasable technology. Today there are producers on
beaches like Pulso, Enseada and Ubatumirim.
The collecting of eggs is done with submerged pallets. The
cultivation recovered the natural shell banks. Today mussels
and clams are back on the local menu recovering the
traditional consumption of this delicate and tasty dish.
In the good restaurants or at the kiosks by the waterfront the
mussel is served in its shell with seasonings or in chowders
and pasta, always a good call followed by the simply
unavoidable icecold beer.