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World's Greatest Restaurants
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D.O.M has become a priority destination for all globe-hopping gastronomes, not that chef Alex Atala is resting on his laurels. Instead he scours the Amazon to pepper his with indigenous ingredients, from the staple manioc tuber and its tupuci juice to Amazonian herbs and the huge white-fleshed pirarucu fish to ensure his restaurant is unlike any other on the list. FastForward in D.O.M kitchen is a nice feature on their website.

Alex Atala is a imaginative and edgy chef, Alex Atala is known in Brazil and throughout the world for exploring, through classical bases and classical techniques, and most importantly the gastronomical possibilities of Brazilian ingredients.

Atala began his profession when he was 19 in Belgium, at the École Hôtelière de Namur. Later In France he worked at Jean Pierre Bruneau’s Michelin 3-star restaurant, and staged at Hotel de la Cote D’Or with Chef Bernard Loiseau. Later he headed to new ventures in the cuisines of Montpellier, France and Milan, Italy. The work at Michelin rated restaurant had given him the necessary experience to back to Sao Paulo to start his solo career.

In 1994 he returned to São Paulo, where his performance in several establishments around the city attracted the attention of journalists and gourmands. By the end of 1999 he opened D.O.M. restaurant. In 2009 Atala opened his second restaurant, Dalva e Dito, to critical acclaim.

Atala’s work has brought him around the world. He’s participated in numerous events for the Ritz-Carlton and presented at gastronomical conferences, including Alimentaria and Madrid Fusion. He has appeared on Mesa pra Dois, and recently published Alex Atala: Por uma Gastronomia Brasileira (Alex Atala – For a Brazilian Gastronomy), a two volume cookbook of recipes and documentary photographs featuring indigenous Brazilian ingredients.

Number of reviews are out there but here is one that captured my attention:

NyTimes:
Alex Atala, the chef at this restaurant, was vaulted to international fame for using Brazilian ingredients in majestically executed contemporary dishes. One example: scallops marinated in coconut milk with a crispy mango chip (resembling a dragonfly wing).
The restaurant’s name stands for Dominus Optimo Maximo, signifying Mr. Atala’s desire to have the “home” of the “best” “and greatest” cooking. It is fancy but not regal, warm but not intimate. It could be, based just on looks, a slightly stuffy French restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The service, attentive to what some would consider a fault, includes greetings from everyone, pushing your chair in under you when you’re seated, that kind of thing.

Entrees were another blow-out success. Carolina, again proving her ordering prowess, got the baby pork ribs and forbidden rice with catupiry (73 reais). Forbidden rice, a purple-black heirloom strain that is not native to Brazil, worked fantastically with the catupiry, a creamy cheese that is a sort of national spread that goes in or on everything from fried appetizers to pizza. And the ribs managed to be in the zone where falling off the bone meets slightly crispy. It was, and I’ve never said this before, a rib I will remember a long time.

You can order desserts like cagaita sorbet — another fruit not even on my list — or you could just wait for the outrageous tray of sweets that comes with your espresso. They include Dadinho candies, little cubes of sugary peanut paste that were lost on me, but that anyone who was a child in Brazil in the last three or four decades will recognize. Just imagine Pop Rocks served at Le Cirque.

Since my visit, Mr. Atala has changed the menu, hand signing every one with a declaration that captures the changing nature of the city’s cuisine: “D.O.M. takes on its original vocation: to be Brazilian. I thus renounce the use of foie gras and truffles."




Here is one in NewWorldReview couple of years ago that shows that D.O.M has always been a world class restaurant:

A giant black door that must be at least 15 feet high separates the outside world from the wild jungle inside. This is D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazilian chef Alex Atala’s signature restaurant and is included on San Pellegrino’s list of the World’s Top 50 restaurants. Many would say it belongs in the top ten. Atala, a one time DJ, was trained in classical French cuisine, though he no longer serves foie gras and truffles on his menu. He serves strictly Brazilian food, the flavors of his youth, though he has reinvented them masterfully.

D.O.M. is an acronym for Deo Optimo Maximo, which means “God is Optimum and Maximum” (optimum in wisdom and maximum in forgiveness). The name would be a bold statement for any restaurant, though not here. After eliminating foie gras from his already adventurous menu, he’s moved to incorporate more and more Brazilian – especially Amazonian – ingredients into his dishes. Along with Pedro Miguel Schiaffino in Lima, Atala is redefining everything we know about Amazon ingredients. They have strange effects and flavours. There are herbs that numb your mouth and river fish that feed on fruit. Palm heart is spun into fettuccini like noodles. He uses them all. Multi course tasting menus will set you back an arm and a leg, but you’ll never have a meal quite like it again.

Concludes with:
There was no meat or fish or wine, yet the meal cost more than $100. Still it was one of my top meals ever.



Here is another one more recen in NewWorldReview:

Last year after eating at Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in São Paulo I predicted that the restaurant, then #18 on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best List, would make the Top 5 in 2011. I was close. It jumped up 11 spots to #7. Thus far, no other restaurant in South America has come close to the level of D.O.M. Atala is sourcing many rare ingredients direct from farmers and artisanal vendors throughout Brazil, including the Amazon, and presenting them in a modern form. Atala isn’t focusing on foraging like at Noma or molecular gastronomy like at El Bulli. Rather he is showcasing some of the most vibrant, exciting, and unknown ingredients in a new way. Two other Brazilian restaurants, Mani (#74) and Fasano (#59), both which focus on Brazilian ingredients, also made the list.

Concludes with:

What is beginning to set the top restaurants out from the others in Latin America (the same can be said for the world too) are a focus on using local ingredients, which in this region means some of the rarest on earth. Culinary technique and knowledge in Latin America is catching up here to the rest of the world, but no place else has this amount of diversity in native ingredients.


Awards:
S. Pellegrino is an institution that annually gives awards to the best restaurants and chefs of the world. this award to the assessment and reference to search for restaurants and chefs by the quality of the best cuisine in the world. Restaurant D.O.M. has been recognized as the world’s seventh best restaurant, this is evidenced by the award of The World’s Best Restaurant by S. Pellegrino and the Best Restaurant in South America by The Acqua Panna in 2011 based on the results of a poll conducted by S. Pellegrino. See wonderful images here:

Interview:
Interview with Chef Alex Atala: Dom Restaurant, Brazil



Contact Details:
Address: Rue Barao de Capanema, 549 Jardins, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Telephone: +55 113 088 0761
Web Site: www.domrestaurante.com.br

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