The quest has now begun to find the best Burger in Sao Paulo. To start, I will go to the neighborhood of Vila Madalena, in the western section of the city, known for its’ bounty of bars and restaurants. There I found a little place that instantly caught my attention.
Vapor Burger & Beer
Located at Rua(street) Fradique Coutinho, 1464, this burger joint is rather impressive. Upon sitting down and browsing the menu, the first thing that I noticed was that fries were no where to be found on menu. Strange I thought, and instantly I had bad feeling about this place. How can you call yourself a burger joint but not have fries. This is blasphemy to the burger gods and in my mind I thought this was going to be a bad experience. As I continued reading through the menu, I went down a mental checklist:
Burgers – check
Domestic Beer – check
Imported American Beer – check
Ok, so still why no fries?? Hmmmm, I finished the menu and looked up. Bingo! Right in my face. Written on the wall, a clear explanation:
“Foi por volta de 1920, no estado americano de CONNECTICUT, que surgiram os primeiros hamburgers no VAPOR. A técnica regional elimina porte de gordura da carne, preservando o sabor e a suculência e dá ao queijo uma textura cremosa.
Fomos além e estendemos o uso do vapor para todo o cardápio desde a entrada até a sobremesa: NÃO GRELHAMOS, NÃO FRITAMOS E NÃO USAMOS CHAPA.
Achou estranho? É pra achar mesmo. Voce não vai comer NADA IGUAL em nenhum outro lugar.”
“It was around 1920, in the American state of CONNECTICUT, which appeared the first STEAMED hamburgers. The regional technique eliminates fat from meat, preserving the flavor and juiciness and gives the cheese a creamy texture.
We went further and extended the use of steam for the whole menu from the appetizer to the dessert: NO GRILLING, NO FRYING AND NO FLATTOPS.
Sound strange? It’s for you to find out. You will not eat ANYTHING like this anywhere else.”
At Vapor, there is no grill, no fryer or flattop grill. Everything is prepared by steam. Ahhhhh! So no fryer = no fries. That also explains the name. Vapor in portuguese means steam. It reminds me of White Castle in the US. All steamed burgers but more upscale.
Relief. It is an alternative burger joint. I like the sound of that. So lets order:
Steamed potatoes covered in gorgonzola cheese – A change from fries, but delicious none the less. The cheese puts it at another level. Definitely worth ordering again
Beer Burger – The burger was simple but had the right balance of juiciness and favor. None of the toppings overpowered the meat. Since it is steamed the meat tends to fall apart but it’s a burger so, get messy!
Hashtag# Burger – Just the like the Beer Burger, the Hashtag# Burger is juicy and flavorful. The 4 strips of bacon crisp and added texture to the meaty burger. More of a classic combo and the signature burger of the restaurant.
Bucólico (a scoop of “Cream” ice cream in steamed strawberries) – sweet and smooth. Warm strawberry juice/syrup was new for me. Not my favorite but it was still good.
Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale – American Craft Beer…….Need I say more??!
Our waiter was impeccable. A young tattooed guy who was extremely attentive. He answered every question knowledgeably, promptly removed plates when we were finished, and always with a “licença” (excuse me) or “desculpe” (excuse me/sorry). He was even sightly embarrassed when we asked for clean spoon because the one we received was dirty. Hands down, the best waiter I have had in São Paulo.
One of the best burger experiences that I have had in São Paulo. The ingredients are high quality, the service is fantastic, and the cooking technique is unique in terms of the São Paulo Burger culture. I didn’t see any negatives. Maybe if you don’t like steam burgers then this might not be the place for you, but I say give it a shot. At least it is a healthier option in the Burger World. If you like steamed burgers then this is definitely a must to visit if you are a burger fan. Think of it as the cool “alternative” burger.
Hashtag# Burger, any choice of beer, and potatoes. As for dessert, maybe I would try something different just to see how it turns out from being steam but I prefer a more traditional dessert.
Vapor Burger & Beer
Rua Fraduque Coutinho, 1464
Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo
11 3811 9718